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Thresh guide: Learning how to hook and cook

Hooking and flaying and boxing and lantern-ing!

Thresh is unarguably one of League of Legends’ best and most popular champions. Since his release over five years ago, Thresh has been a staple champion in the scene, spending very little time as a poor pick. While lots of players have already added Thresh to their pool, plenty of folks still want to know how the hell he works.

Well, if you want to become a master of The Chain Warden himself, you have come to the right place.

The Build


  • Ancient Coin
  • Biscuit


  • Boots of Mobility


The build on Thresh varies pretty widely, but here we are going to suggest the squishier, more utility focused version. Rather than getting Relic, which is hard to use but provides Thresh with yet another shield, we are going to get Ancient Coin and move it into Eye of Oasis. From there, we are building all utility all the time, especially if they have any tank stats.

  • Eye of Oasis
  • Templar’s Verdict
  • Zeke’s Convergence
  • Righteous Glory
  • Locket of the Iron Solari

Ability Maxing

  1. The Box (R)
  2. Flay (E)
  3. Death Sentence (Q)
  4. Dark Passage (W)

Runes and Masteries

For our runes, we want to take nine AD Marks, nine MR Glyphs, nine HP Seals and three armor quints.

For Thresh’s masteries, we want to go 18 down Resolve, ending on Courage of the Colossus. Finish up with 12 points down the cunning path so you can pick up the support masteries there.

The Kit

Passive - Damnation

When enemies die near Thresh they have a chance to drop a soul. When Thresh moves near these souls, he collects them. Each soul Thresh collects adds a small amount of permanent armor, AP, W shield strength and E damage.

Not entirely dissimilar to Bard’s chimes, Thresh’s passive provides him with a fun little collection game. These are certain to spawn from some enemies (like champions) while others simply offer a percent. While playing Thresh, you will naturally pick these up over the course of the game, increasing your strength as you go along. While you don’t really have to worry about these much, make sure you are paying attention to them when they drop.

Q - Death Sentence

Thresh hurls his sycthe at an enemy target in a line. If the target is struck by Thresh’s skillshot, the sycthe will latch onto them, dealing damage and stunning them briefly. While hooked, Thresh will pull his chain, moving the target closer to Thresh a few times. If Thresh re-casts Death Sentence when he is hooked, Death’s Leap will activate and Thresh will pull himself to the target.

This is Thresh’s signature ability and certainly what he is most well known for. There is a reason that this ability is called Death Sentence, and it isn’t just thematic. Getting a solid hook onto an enemy can spell doom for them, but you have to play it right. The tell tale sign of an amateur Thresh is to pull in the moment you get a hook. Instead, allow Thresh to tug a few times and then use your E to bring them closer to you — but I am getting ahead of myself.

Throw hooks when the moment is appropriate. Because this is your primary engage, losing your hook is a great way for enemies to just engage on you instantly. Instead, wait for the moment and strike. Remember that the threat of a hook is almost more imposing than the hook itself.

W - Dark Passage

Thresh hurls hit lantern to a target location, revealing the zone, collecting souls from Damnation and shielding the nearest ally. If an ally clicks on the lantern, they will grab on and instantly return fly to Thresh.

This is an excellent utility ability that is very easy to mess up. When throwing a lantern, you must be sure that allies actually need it. The shield is great but being able to save an ally from certain death is even better. With a long cooldown, learning when to use Dark Passage is going to take far longer than learning how to use it.

Like all things Thresh, Dark Passage is wonderfully, helpful and will take dozens of games to get comfortable with.

E - Flay

Passively, Flay grants Thresh a empowered basic attack if he doesn’t attack anything for a few seconds. When activated, Thresh rakes his Sycthe in a direction, dealing damage and knocking up targets hit. Targets standing in the way of the chain are swept along with it, moving either forward or back depending on their positioning.

No matter what day you ask me “what is the best ability in League of Legends” I will tell you that it is Flay. From a usefulness perspective, it is second to none, from a gameplay perspective it is extremely satisfying and hard as hell to pull off.

Basically, you need to learn the perfect mouse positions for getting Flay to behave the way you want it to. If you want an enemy to come toward you, place your mouse behind Thresh and hit Flay. If you want to send them away, do the opposite. This sounds far easier than it actually is. If you want to get good at Flay, jump into practice mode or take your E key off of auto-cast. You will thank me later.

R - The Box

Thresh constructs a pentagon around him, with each wall acting as a single-use slowing field. When enemy champions walk through these walls, they will break, dealing damage to the enemy and slowing them.

The Box is actually Thresh’s most simple ability. All you really need to know about it is that it does tons of damage and the aforementioned slow is no joke. You want to active this in team fights, when you engage, or when you want to disengage. In fact, the set up for this ability is one of the few times where using Death’s Leap is appropriate. Pull yourself into a target and plop down The Box. If they want to get away from you, they are gonna have a hard time.

Finally, keep in mind that enemies that you hurl into the box with Flay or Death Sentence can also break walls. Basically, don’t ever let anyone sit idly in the middle of the box, fling them wherever you please.

The Verdict

Look, I could sit here and talk for hours about how Thresh is probably the best champion in League of Legends and that any other suggestions is probably wrong. Thresh has an obscene kit, with abilities in all flavors, and while some may be mad that he is “OP,” he is the prime example of modern champion design.

Some may say that Thresh is overused, that he is too popular, that they hate playing against him because he is so good. All of those things could be true, but Thresh manages to stave off the hate by being the most fun, consistently interesting champion in League. If you haven’t fallen in love with Thresh yet, you haven’t taken the time you learn him.

Do yourself a favor, pick up Thresh and learn to love support. You will not regret it.