Thresh has been a non-factor in the meta this year, but that might be about to change.
While over 20 champions are set to be buffed, nerfed, and in some way adjusted in League of Legends Patch 13.4, no champion will be receiving as many changes as Thresh.
In Patch 13.4, Thresh will have a majority of his abilities overhauled, with Death Sentence (Q), Dark Passage (W), and Flay (E) all receiving tweaks. The changes to Thresh could aim to change the order in which players max his abilities, putting more of an emphasis on the damage output of Flay in the early-to-mid-game.
The patch will buff the damage and AP scaling Thresh receives from both Flay and Death Sentence, so either ability could be appealing to players (although theyll still likely be maxing their hook first). Death Sentence is also getting a buff in the form of its cooldown: it will have a base CD of nine seconds at max rank even before cooldown reduction bonuses are applied. This ability will still be extremely appealing thanks to these buffs, and Threshs default max order of Q-E-W likely wont changeespecially since Dark Passage is having both its cooldown and shield value nerfed.
In solo queue, Thresh has still been a reliable option for many support players, despite there being stronger champions who fit better into the meta. In games played at Platinum rank or higher on Patch 13.3, Thresh is just one of seven champions to have a pick rate over 10 percent. Even with his high pick percentage in mind, though, Thresh still has a losing record in those Platinum+ games, according to League stats site U.gg.
Thresh has had a negative win rate in high Elo solo queue games for four of the last five patches, with the only exception coming in Patch 13.1.
But while these changes to Threshespecially a higher frequency of his Death Sentenceshould make a difference for solo queue players, Riot primarily balances the game around competitive play and sees results trickle down for the highest echelon of the game. And this year, Thresh has been a non-event in the pro scene.
In 2023, Threshs pick-ban presence rate sits barely over one percent in major regions. Only on six occasions has Thresh been picked in pro play this year, and only one player (MAD Lions Hylissang) has picked him more than once. For reference, Thresh was picked or banned in over 22 percent of all drafts last year, according to League stats site Games of Legends.
Every professional support player knows how to play Thresh. Hes the most popular pro pick in the history of the game, and even when hes not meta-relevant, he can serve as a reliable pocket pick when backed into a corner. The main reason the Chain Warden isnt seeing much stage time right now, though, is because there are other champions that can do what he does better.
At his core, Thresh is an engage support. This means he falls in line with champions like Leona, Nautilus, and other tanky frontliners who hit the go button for their team at the start of a teamfight. He can never be detrimental to a team composition, largely because his kit allows him to always have an impact on the game. One clutch hook or well-timed Flay can turn the tide of a teamfight. But when a Zenith Blade from Leona or a Dredge Line from Nautilus can get the job done more efficiently, the meta will almost always prevail in those champions favor, resulting in the one percent pick rate Thresh currently owns.
Related: Riot targeting ranged support meta, snowballing junglers in early LoL Patch 13.4 preview
For Threshs professional prospects to go up in the near future, the buffs to his tried-and-true Q-E combo will have to make some sort of difference, while the current support meta (which contains mostly ranged, poke-focused champions like Lulu, Nami, and even Ashe) needs to be thinned out.
While no direct nerfs are scheduled for any support champions in Patch 13.4, nerfs will be applied to Spellthiefs Edge and Spectral Sickle, making certain ranged supports lives a little tougher in the laning phase. Luckily for Thresh, he falls into a distinct category of ranged supports who opt to buy Steel Shoulderguards or Relic Shield (both of which are receiving buffs in the patch), giving him a prime chance to sneak up the support ladder in this upcoming patch.
Patch 13.4, which contains all of the changes coming to Thresh, is scheduled to release on the live League servers on Feb. 23, according to the games official patch schedule.