League of Legends Thresh Top AD Guide

League of Legends Thresh Top AD Guide by tesselcraig

Top AD Thresh is an extremely non-meta pick, which has the potential to snowball out of control. You will deal a large amount of mixed damage, and can apply some amazing gank potential earlygame and pick potential lategame. As one of the 4 Infinity-Scaling champions, Thresh can (and will) keep getting more and more powerful the later the game goes. As AD Thresh is completely item-dependent, you will have a rough laning phase, and will need to focus on CS. This is certainly a very niche pick, but I hope that this guide will encourage some of you to try this out!


  • AD marks, although you can take some AS or Armor Pen marks if you want. Personal preferance.
  • Armor/Health seals, generic 5/4 mix.
  • CDR/MR glyphs, 6 CDR for a bonus 5%
  • 1 AD and 2 LS quints (trust me on this one, you will want that 3% lifesteal)


  • 21/9/0, taking AS, CDR, AD, etc etc. Straightforward.

Summoner Spells:

  • Flash. Needed for some of those sick Flash/Flay or Flash/Hook plays. Take this.
  • Ignite. Better duel potential in lane, especially against regen-based lanes.
  • Teleport. Global presence and a bit more safety in the early game, as dying won’t lose you as much CS and experience.
  • Heal, Barrier, Cleanse, Exhaust. Somewhat better dueling potential, but out-classed by Ignite, in my opinion.
  • Revive, Smite, Clarity, Clairvoyance. NEVER take these.

Items: start one of these 4 options.

  • Doran’s Blade, 1 health pot. This is good for when you need some sustain, but want to be able to trade. If you are forced back to base with about 500 gold, always consider picking up a second Doran’s Blade and some health pots.
  • Longsword, 2 health pots, 1 mana pot. Maximum damage/sustain mix, helps sustain when you know you’re going to get all-in’d level 2 or 3.
  • Cloth Armor and 5 Health pots (or some mix of Health/Mana pots). Really good armor for when you know that you’re going to get wrecked in lane.
  • Doran’s Shield and health pots.

As for “what item to build first?” it’s situational. Personally, I often find myself picking up double Doran’s blades, then going Infinity Edge into Shiv into BT, with boots thrown in somewhere.

Boot Options:

  • Berks. gives a good amount of AS, my personal preference
  • Mercs. If the enemy has a good amount of magic damage and/or a good amount of CC, this is necessary. Tenacity is OP.
  • Tabis. Only choose this into a “double ADC” or a “4 AD” composition.
  • Swifties. Purchase these when you win lane really early (as in, take your first tower before 10 minutes) and want to roam a lot.


  • Infinity Edge, Statikk Shiv, Bloodthirster. All core and pretty much non-negotiable. A “full build example” will be later in the guide.

Other Options:

  • BotRK (instead of Bloodthirster) gives more dueling potential, but less raw damage. situational item
  • Phantom Dancer. I prefer Shiv, honestly; for reasons I will elaborate on later.
  • Essence Reaver. You generally don’t have enough mana problems to make this worthwhile.
  • Trinity Force. You make good use out of all the stats and both passives. try it out.
  • Last Whisper. Nice chunk of AD and the %armor pen is good; but you deal a lot of mixed damage, so only pick this up if the enemy stacks a LOT of armor, because then this item is incredibly worthwhile.
  • Ghostblade. The stat distribution sounds nice, but the bonus AS/MS isn’t really THAT core to your kit, and it’s hard to sacrifice a core item to pick this one up
  • Manamune. Ew. Tear takes REALLY long to stack on Thresh, so don’t bother.
  • Zephyr. can be useful, but again, the AS/MS isn’t really core.
  • Black Cleaver. Sounds nice, but doesn’t provide enough raw damage. In general, you don’t want/need armor pen or armor shred, because you are dealing a lot of mixed damage and burst damage.
  • Maw of Malmortious. Good if they have a lot of bursty magic damage and you need the survivability.
  • Ravenous Hydra. Thresh is considered a RANGED champion, so no.
  • (In that case why not….) Runaan’s Hurricane. Plz no. It’s got an annoying build order, ONLY gives AS (not AD or crit) and isn’t useful for single target damage.
  • Merc Scimitar. Do-able, but only if you’re good at utilizing the active.
  • Frozen Mallet. Fun, to mix Flay, The Box, and AAs for perma-slow.
  • Executioner’s Calling. Doesn’t give NEARLY enough AD to be worthwhile.
  • Atma’s Imapler. You’re not stacking health, so don’t bother.

Skill Order:

  • Level E first, unless you plan on invading; then get E or Q depending on what your team needs. Max in this order; R>E>Q>W.

Laning Phase:

Your point here is to survive. Until you get your first 2/3 items, you are a CC-bot who can deal SOME damage, and you need to just focus on farming and snagging those souls.

A common mistake most enemies will make is to think they can dive you. Assuming they go under turret range, you can often snag a kill with Flay and Death Sentence. Make sure you can land those hooks.

Thresh happens to be a really good lane for his jungler to gank. Due to his lackluster damage and waveclear earlygame, he will often get pushed to his tower; and at level 3, he can initiate ganks INCREDIBLY easily with his Dark Passage, and just follow it up with Death Sentence and Flay. All the benefits of playing Support Thresh (chained CC and great followup), without having to rely on an ADC!

Mid Game:

By the time laning phase is over, you should have your first few items. At this point, you should be able to duel pretty effectively. With Doran’s Blade(s) and Infinity Edge, you will be outputting some decent damage; but your major powerspike comes with Infinity Edge and Statikk Shiv. Your boot option will help you move around faster.

Once you have your 2 Crit items and your Lifesteal item (BT or Bork) you can start being a major threat in teamfights. You’ll have roughly 260 AD (will depend on your personal rune/mastery setup, Dorans Blades, etc) and will deal quite a bit of damage on your “first strike”. Your role in teamfights has 3 aspects: Peeler, Assassin, or Fighter. Before the fight starts, you want to sneak in full Shiv procs as much as you can, to weaken the enemies. Make sure to leave yourself an escape route, so you don’t get engaged on and caught out. It can/will be necessary to adopt different strategies in each game.

  • Peeler: Use your stupid amount of CC and peel someone away/to the fight. Shut down ADCs and APCs with your Q, pop a Flay to knock bruisers/brawlers away from your backline, and drop The Box to zone out the rest of the enemy team.
  • Assassin: When the frontlines finally engage on eachother, hang around in the side/back of the fight, and when an opportunity presents itself, walk up and chunk the enemy squishy with as much as you can. Lock them down, smack them around, and kill them.
  • Fighter: During the fight, you want to hang behind your tanks and in front of your backline; protecting both sections with your CC. During this time, you want to be constantly dishing out damage to the enemy frontline; chipping them down so you can follow through to the enemy backline. This is a good time to buy Bork, as the bonus AS and %health damage will let you rip through tanks. If the enemy backline tries to disengage, force their tanks to stay behind with your CC. If the enemy tanks try to engage on your backline, force them back with CC. If the enemy backline tries to move forwards and assassinate your squishies, lock them down with CC.


Hopefully, you’re approaching full build. At this point, you should be a MONSTER, and strike fear into the hearts of the enemy team. You should be able to chunk squishy targets for a significant portion of their health, and make tanks think twice before fighting you. The best part is, that the enemy team will be forced to build mixed resistances, as you will be dealing large amount of both Magic and Physical damage. Let’s take a quick look at an example I wrote up for a previous post.

Final Build: BT, IE, Shiv, TF, Berks, GA.

At level 18, Thresh will have about 1.7 Attack Speed, ~300 AD, 55% crit chance, 30 AP, and let’s assume… 100 souls.

Now, let’s talk about damage. Assuming Flay into AA (with a fully charged Flay passive and Shiv passive)

Flay (rank 5);

  • 185 +40% of AP (12) so call it 200 Magic damage.

Auto Attack;

  • Base Damage (86) + Bonus AD (215ish) Physical = 300ish Physical
  • Shiv (100) Magic (+100 for each of up to 3 targets)
  • Flay Passive (100 souls) + 200% AD (600) Magic
  • Spellblade (172) Physical

Total Damage for the Auto Attack: 475 Physical damage + 800 Magic Damage = 1275 mixed damage. (+300 Magic damage split over 3 targets; for the other 3 Shiv procs, if you hit them)

IF YOU CRIT; Shiv and the base autoattack gets modified; the Flay Passive and Spellbade damage does NOT.

Crit bonus with IE: 2.5x

  • Base Damage (Crit) = 750 Physical
  • Shiv = 250 Magic (+250 for each of up to 3 targets)
  • Flay Passive = 700 Magic
  • Spellblade = 175 Physical

Total Damage for a Crit Auto: 925 Physical + 950 Magic = 1875 mixed damage (+750 Magic damage split over 3 targets; Shiv proc)

Add in the damage you just did with Flay (200 magic damage) and with ONE spell and ONE auto attack, you have dealt about 2.1k mixed damage (in total, closer to 2.8k counting the entire Shiv damage)

TELL ME that isn’t scary.

And thus ends my Top AD Thresh guide! Hopefully some of you will try this out, or have some prior experience with this playstyle! Let me know what you think below!

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