I finally was able to get on to the PBE, without needing a playing partner, to give Thresh a quick run around the map. Sadly, I don’t have much in the way of video capability (yet), so instead of spending my time giving you a sub par rundown on his abilities, I present you with the above video and a link to a site with a writeup of all of his basic stats. What I will try and provide you with are some of my thoughts on him in general.
With all new champions, the safe bet is to assume that they will be a little bit broken. The fun part is figuring out in which ways they are broken. Thresh here does not actually gain any armor or magic resist per level. He gains these defensive stats, and bonus ability power, from harvesting the souls of (some) dead minions and champions. I found that I was able to end up with a lot of mr and ability power just by harvesting souls and could easily hit around 100 mr without a major mr giving item.
I was not playing Thresh as a support during my tryout. It will be interesting to see how he will scale in situations where it could be tricky to get souls. I imagine we’ll be seeing a few cases of support Thresh’s getting killed as they go out of position to pick up “just one more soul.” Either way, the potential is there for this guy to get pretty tanky without major items.
I focused on leveling up his Q first because of its passive, which I will explain in a second. The Q itself is a hybrid of a naut hook, a blitz grab and a Amumu bandage toss (and is currently sporting the bandage toss icon on the PBE). It fires in a somewhat jerky manner with a slight delay before it launches. I would say it is even less smooth than the blitz grab. Thresh will only actually pull a target towards him for around 1.5 seconds, and it is done in two slow jerks. If you choose to pull yourself to your target, this will happen smoothly and nearly instantaneously. I feel like this is the most balanced way of doing this and makes Thresh useful while not creating another Blitzcrank.
The passive on his Q is what will potentially make him terrifying in solo lanes and even dealing solid damage as a support. When Thresh doesn’t attack, he starts gaining bonus magic damage that will be applied to his next auto attack. This value will range between (at minimum) the number of souls he has harvested and (at maximum) 200% of his attack damage, when fully leveled. You’d think it would take a while to charge up this passive – nope. In his current state, I had the minimum bonus damage applied to every auto attack i delivered, and it did not take very long to get the maximum damage amount. We’ll see if they nerf this down a bit, because right now he really does have the potential to deal tonnes of damage.
His W shield is going to be a fun little tool. I didn’t get to really check out the awesome utility of the shield, but I can tell you that the shield itself lasts a decent amount of time, is middle of the road in strength, gets applied to ALL of your teammates in an area, and that area is quite large and clearly marked out on your map. The cooldown is pretty low as well. I can definitely see the shield making a huge difference, even without its potential for crazy dashes, in teamfights.
His E is the ability that gave me the most trouble to cast. I smartcast all of my abilities and do not use the range indicator. I found that performing the knock back was easy, but I had to click behind myself in order to execute the pull towards option of the ability (if none of that made sense please watch the above video first). I wouldn’t say it’s impossible to do on smartcast, but with clicking behind yourself being counter intuitive and pathing still being a mess, I think it will take some practice for a true smartcaster to land. With that said, it applies a decent slow and gives him another way to initiate/avoid a fight.
I really liked his ult. The cooldown is kind of long but it locks down the people around you quite nicely. Think of it as kind of being like Veigars box o’doom that gets cast around you. With a 99% slow, the first person to touch the wall will be able to use abilities to escape, but they won’t be walking out. Thresh should have no problems using this ability either defensively or offensively considering he can get into the other team fairly easily.
One final mechanical note. Thresh is actually a ranged champion as he uses his chains to deal damage from a distance. I’m a huge fan of champions with very smooth auto attack motions, and I found Thresh’s motion to be one of the smoothest motions I’ve come across yet. Riot has definitely come a long way in this area, and I have to say it makes going back and playing some of the older champions a lot trickier after playing someone who attacks as smoothly as Thresh.
As for what Thresh is going to do, well he definitely will see some support and jungle play. Honestly, if they don’t change the high damage on his Q’s passive, I could see him getting play in every position except ADC. All of his abilities scale off of AP, though only his ult scales in an amazing manner. He currently gets enough bonus damage from his Q on his auto attacks to allow him to trade with anybody. If they do take down some of his damage then I would see him fitting more comfortably as a support or jungle. He has a lot of abilities that allow him to start or avoid a fight, which should make him invaluable to ADC’s everywhere. It will be interesting to see if he can manage to get enough souls when he is not in a lane by himself. Rounding up souls as a support could prove difficult if they are constantly ending up in unfriendly positions. I expect the jungle, with each large minion donating a soul, to be able to provide him with just as many souls as a solo lane.
We will have to wait and see if Thresh remains unchained… er unchanged over the course of his time on the PBE. If he remains unchanged, I believe we will see a champion who will easily dominate the game for a few weeks following his release. Even if they do lower his damage, I believe Thresh’s utility potential will be amazing, but it will take a little while before we see him make a major mark. Players and teams that learn to fully make use of what Thresh offers will be able to make plays the likes of which have not yet been seen in this game, but it will require a commitment and some time to learn the champ and find comps that work with him.
Regardless of what happens to Thresh himself, his ability to actually harvest souls from enemies he has killed is something we have yet to see in League of Legends, and I’m excited to see how this same kind of idea will be applied to future champions or even the reworks of older champions. If you are a fan of high utility champions, or even just champions who break the mold and bring something new to the game, Thresh is definitely someone you should be excited for.