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"The mind is a wondrous thing to tear apart." - Thresh Thresh

Sadistic and cunning, Thresh is a restless spirit who prides himself on tormenting mortals and breaking them with slow, excruciating inventiveness. His victims suffer far beyond the point of death, for Thresh wreaks agony upon their souls, imprisoning them in his lantern to torture for all eternity.

Lore

In an age history has all but forgotten, the man who would later be known as Thresh was once a member of an order devoted to gathering and protecting knowledge. The masters of this order tasked him with guarding a hidden underground vault filled with dangerous and corrupted magical artifacts. Thresh was incredibly strong-willed and methodical, which made him well-suited to such work.

The vault Thresh guarded was buried deep beneath the citadel at the center of an island chain and protected by runic sigils, arcane locks and potent wards. Spending such time in the presence of dark spells began to affect Thresh as the magic sought out his innate malice. For years the relics preyed on his insecurities, taunting him with his deepest fears and feeding his bitterness.

Thresh’s spite surfaced through wanton acts of cruelty, as his talent for exploiting vulnerability bloomed. He slowly tore pages out of a living book, binding it back together when it was all but spent. He scratched the glass of a mirror bound with the memory of an ancient mage until it was opaque, trapping the man in darkness, only to polish it anew and repeat. Just as a secret wants to be told, a spell wants nothing more than to be cast, and Thresh denied this each day. He would start to recite an incantation, then let the words trickle off his tongue, halting just before the last syllable.

He became exquisitely skilled at covering all evidence of his cruelty, such that no one in the order suspected he was anything other than a disciplined guard. The vault had grown so vast that no one knew its contents as completely as Thresh, and the lesser artifacts faded from the order’s memory, as did Thresh himself.

He resented that he had to hide his meticulous work. Everything under his watch was evil, or corrupted in some way - why shouldn’t he be free to do as he would?

The vault held many peculiar magical artifacts but no people, until one day when a chained man was dragged into the sunken catacombs. He was a warlock who had infused his body with raw sorcery, which gave him the power to regenerate his flesh, no matter how grievous the wound.

Thresh was delighted at his new ward - a being who could feel the full range of human suffering, but would not perish, a plaything he could torment for years to come. He started methodically separating the warlock’s skin from his flesh with a hook, and used his chains to lash and tear the open wound until it healed. He took to wearing the chains as he patrolled the vault, reveling in the warlock’s fear at the long, dragging sound of his approach.

With ample charges to torment in the vault, Thresh became even more distanced from the order above. He began to take his meals in his underground chamber lit by a single lantern, rarely emerging from the catacombs. His skin developed a pallid complexion from lack of sunlight, and his face became gaunt and hollow. Members of the order avoided him, and when a series of mysterious disappearances plagued the order, none thought to investigate Thresh’s lair.

When the disaster known as the Ruination struck, magical shockwaves claimed the lives of all who lived on the isles and transformed them into a state of undeath. While others screamed in anguish, Thresh reveled in the ruin. He rose from this cataclysm as a spectral abomination, but unlike many who have passed into the shadow world, Thresh did not lose his identity. Rather, his penchant for cruel torture and ability to discern weakness was only heightened.

He relished the chance to continue his cruelty without fear of reprisal, unfettered by the limits of mortality. As a wraith, Thresh could torment the living and the dead endlessly, delighting in their despair before claiming their soul for an eternity of suffering.

Thresh now seeks only particular victims: the most clever and resilient, and those with a strong will. His greatest joy comes from tormenting his victims until they lose any last glimmer of hope, before facing the inevitable hook of his chains.

The Collection

A horrible scraping of metal chains drifted over the fields. Outside, an unnatural fog rendered the moon and stars all but invisible, and the regular hum of insects fell silent.

Thresh approached a ruined hovel. He raised his lantern, not to see his surroundings, but to look inside the glass. The interior of the lantern resembled a starry nightscape with its thousands of tiny green glowing orbs. They buzzed frantically as if trying to escape Thresh’s gaze. His mouth twisted in a grotesque grin, teeth glinting from the glow. Each of the lights was precious to him.

Behind the door, a man whimpered. Thresh sensed his pain, and was drawn to it. He knew the man’s suffering like an old friend.

Thresh had only appeared to the man once, decades ago, but since then the spectre had taken everyone the man held dear: from his favorite horse to his mother, brother, and recently a manservant who had become a close confidant. The specter made no pretence of natural deaths; he wanted the man to know who caused each loss.

The spirit passed through the door, scraping his chains as they dragged behind him. The walls were damp and ingrained with years of grime. The man looked even worse: his hair long and matted, his skin covered in scabs - angry and raw from clawing. He wore what had once been fine velvet clothes, but were now little more than torn, tattered rags.

The man shrank from the sudden green glow, covering his eyes. He shook violently, backing away into the corner.

“Please. Please, not you,” he whispered.

“Long ago, I claimed you as mine.” Thresh’s voice creaked and stretched, as if he had not spoken for an age. “It is time I collect...”

“I am dying,” the man said, his voice barely audible. “If you’re here to kill me, you’d best hurry.” He made an effort to look at Thresh directly.

Thresh stretched his mouth wide. “Your death is not my desire.”

He set the glass door of his lantern slightly ajar. Strange sounds came from within - a cacophony of screams.

The man did not react, not at first. So many screams emerged that they blended together like scraping glass shards. But his eyes widened in horror as he heard voices he recognized plead from Thresh’s lantern. He heard his mother, his brother, his friend, and finally the sound he dreaded most: his children, wailing as if being burned alive.

“What have you done?” he screamed. He scrambled for something to throw - a broken chair - and threw it at Thresh with all his strength. It passed through the spectre harmlessly, and Thresh laughed mirthlessly.

The man ran at Thresh, eyes wild with fury. The spectre’s hooked chains whipped out like striking snakes. The barbed hooks struck the mortal’s chest, cracking ribs and piercing his heart. The man fell to his knees, face twisted in delicious agony.

“I left them to keep them safe,” the man cried. Blood gurgled from his mouth.

Thresh wrenched his chains hard. For a moment, the man did not move. Then the ripping began. Like a rough-spun sheet being slowly torn, he was excruciatingly pulled from himself. His body convulsed violently, and blood sprayed along the walls.

“Now, we begin,” said Thresh. He pulled the captured soul, pulsing brightly from the end of the chain, and trapped him within the lantern. The man’s hollow corpse collapsed as Thresh departed.

Thresh followed the curling Black Mist away from the cottage with his glowing lantern held high. Only after Thresh was gone, and the fog dissipated, did the insects resume their nightly chorus and stars once again filled the night sky.

Quotes

Upon selection
  • Thresh Select
    "What delightful agony we shall inflict."

Attacking
  • Thresh.attack1
    "Writhe, like a worm on a hook."
  • Thresh.attack2
    "Nobody escapes."
  • Thresh.attack3
    "Death? No... nothing that simple."
  • Thresh.attack4
    "Come out and play."
  • Thresh.attack5
    "It's over when I say."
  • Thresh.attack6
    "Lock 'em up."
  • Thresh.attack7
    "Wretched mongrels get the leash."
  • Thresh.attack8
    "Any last words?"
  • Thresh.attack9
    "Oh, yes! It's about to get much worse."
  • Thresh.attack10
    "No one can save them."
Movement
  • Thresh.move1
    "Ah, the sweet tones of misery."
  • Thresh.move2
    "Relax, just... let go."
  • Thresh.move3
    "Me, mad? Haha... quite likely."
  • Thresh.move4
    "Hmm, whose mind shall we snap?"
  • Thresh.move5
    "Poor lost souls."
  • Thresh.move6
    "Oh, the eternity we shall spend together."
  • Thresh.move7
    "Flesh is a prison."
  • Thresh.move8
    "What is the worth of a soul?"
  • Thresh.move9
    "I am the thing under the bed."
  • Thresh.move10
    "Torment comes in so many flavors."
Joke
  • Thresh.joke1
    "Screaming won't do you any good, but it's music to my ears."
  • Thresh.joke2
    "There is life. There is death. And then there is me."
Taunt

Thresh raises his Dark Passage.png lantern and "drinks" the souls coming out of it.

  • Thresh.taunt1
    "Ever seen your soul? Would you like to?"
  • Thresh.taunt2
    "You're falling apart. What to do with the pieces?"
Laugh
  • Thresh.laugh01
    Thresh laughs.
  • Thresh.laugh02
    Thresh laughs.
  • Thresh.laugh03
    Thresh laughs.
  • Thresh.laugh04
    Thresh laughs.
Upon using Flay.png Flay
  • Thresh.E1
    "Round we go!"
  • Thresh.E2
    "This way!"
Upon using The Box.png The Box
  • Thresh.ulti1
    "I own you."
  • Thresh.ulti2
    "My house, my rules."
  • Thresh.ulti3
    "Closing in..."
  • Thresh.ulti4
    "Nowhere to hide."
Upon landing Death Sentence.png Death Sentence on an enemy Nautilus Nautilus
  • Thresh.interaction1
    "Going somewhere?"
  • Thresh.interaction2
    "Come back!"
  • Thresh.interaction3
    "Hook, line and sinker!"

Upon starting a game
  • ThreshDarkStar.start01
    "Stars culled of life, silent in the darkness."
  • ThreshDarkStar.start02
    "No weapon in any reality can harm us."
  • ThreshDarkStar.start03
    "I will guide them beyond the brink of infinity."
Upon attacking
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack01
    "Do not fear the end. Embrace it."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack02
    "We are shadows cast by darkness."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack03
    "Stillness for all eternity."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack04
    "Eternity beckons."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack05
    "Another soul to feed the endless hunger."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack06
    "Submit to infinity."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack07
    "They struggle. How meaningless."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack08
    "Enter the horizon."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack09
    "We are the death of hope."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack10
    "The meaning of life is that it stops."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack11
    "Their suffering makes us stronger."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack12
    "The galaxy will suffocate in darkness."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack13
    "Come. Bear witness."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack14
    "I am the herald of reality's end."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack15
    "I will carve my way across the stars."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack16
    "Gaze into the eye of annihilation."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack17
    "We will all collapse into one."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack18
    "Snuff them out."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack19
    "We hunger."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack20
    "A dark star rises."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attack21
    "Brave souls, destroyed and consumed."
Upon attacking Baron Nashor Baron Nashor
  • ThreshDarkStar.attackBaron01
    "Soul or no, I will feed it to the nothingness."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attackBaron02
    "I've destroyed realities. What threat is this beast?"
  • ThreshDarkStar.attackBaron03
    "A baron, eh? Baron of a dead world."
Upon attacking Dragon Dragon
  • ThreshDarkStar.attackDragon01
    "We've destroyed our fair share of dragons."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attackDragon02
    "Those wings offer no escape."
  • ThreshDarkStar.attackDragon03
    "Just another stupid beast."
Movement
  • ThreshDarkStar.move01
    "Let's see how dark it can really get."
  • ThreshDarkStar.move02
    "Infinity, rapture, I am their harbinger."
  • ThreshDarkStar.move03
    "We will consume this world."
  • ThreshDarkStar.move04
    "Cosmic extinction - how lovely."
  • ThreshDarkStar.move05
    "The stars are no longer infinite."
  • ThreshDarkStar.move06
    "We sup upon the living galaxies themselves."
  • ThreshDarkStar.move07
    "Great works, broken and destroyed."
  • ThreshDarkStar.move08
    "The cry of a dying star - nothing's sweeter."
  • ThreshDarkStar.move09
    "Oh, how I long for the final kiss of annihilation."
  • ThreshDarkStar.move10
    "A star can scream. Isn't that strange?"
  • ThreshDarkStar.move11
    "I envy those who journey into the nothingness."
  • ThreshDarkStar.move12
    "All things are eventually extinguished."
  • ThreshDarkStar.move13
    "Ours is a kingdom of darkness."
  • ThreshDarkStar.move14
    "Not even gods dare look within."
  • ThreshDarkStar.move15
    "I will chain the very heavens and drag them down."
  • ThreshDarkStar.move16
    "Even the universe will grind to a halt."
  • ThreshDarkStar.move17
    "A sinister star indeed."
  • ThreshDarkStar.move18
    "We shall suck the marrow from their stars."
Joke

A frog pops up near Thresh but is sucked into his lantern by mistake.

  • ThreshDarkStar.joke01
    "Look at you. I think I'll keep you. Or not."
  • ThreshDarkStar.item04
    "Oh, I've always wanted one of these... oh man."
Taunt
  • ThreshDarkStar.taunt01
    "Beyond the stars... hide horrors far greater than any can imagine."
  • ThreshDarkStar.taunt02
    "Nothing escapes the pull of eternity."
  • ThreshDarkStar.taunt03
    "Do not prolong the inevitable."
Taunting an ally TeemoSquare.png Astronaut Teemo
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntTeemoAstronaut02
    "Enough death and darkness... even for you."
Taunting an enemy TeemoSquare.png Astronaut Teemo
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntTeemoAstronaut01
    "You are not prepared for this journey."
Taunting an enemy Aurelion Sol Aurelion Sol
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntAurelionSol01
    "Have you ever seen a thousand stars alight in a shared dawn? We have - just before we snuffed them out."
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntAurelionSol02
    "Not even a star can escape our grip."
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntAurelionSol03
    "Join your precious stars in oblivion."
Taunting an enemy Bard Bard
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntBard01
    "Just try to take it, sackman!"
Taunting an ally VarusSquare.png Dark Star Varus
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntVarusDarkStar01
    "Come to me, my herald."
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntVarusDarkStar02
    "Serve well, and you shall die well."
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntVarusDarkStar03
    "Go forth and destroy."
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntVarusDarkStar06
    "Together, we shall watch the last star die."
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntVarusDarkStar07
    "What better revenge... than complete annihilation?"
Taunting an enemy VarusSquare.png Dark Star Varus
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntVarusDarkStar04
    "Your betrayal will not save them."
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntVarusDarkStar05
    "Your betrayal will not save them."
Taunting an enemy Diana Diana
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntDiana01
    "Suns, moons? We have devoured both."
Taunting an enemy Ekko Ekko
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntEkko01
    "Time is but a cog in a dying machine."
Taunting an enemy Leona Leona
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntLeona01
    "Suns, moons? We have devoured both."
Taunting an enemy Lucian Lucian
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntLucian01
    "What is one life among billions?"
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntLucian02
    "Join her in oblivion."
Taunting an enemy Lux Lux
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntLux01
    "Ah, the light of Demacia. So sweet."
Taunting an enemy Nocturne Nocturne
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntNocturne01
    "We will show you true darkness."
Taunting an enemy Taric Taric
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntTaric01
    "How will you protect an entire world when you cannot even save yourself?"
Taunting an enemy Voidborn
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntVoidborn01
    "Pretenders to the throne of annihilation."
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntVoidborn02
    "We have looked into the Void, and consumed it."
Taunting an enemy Zilean Zilean
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntZilean01
    "Time is but a cog in a dying machine."
  • ThreshDarkStar.tauntZilean02
    "How do you intend to stop entropy incarnate?"
Laugh
  • ThreshDarkStar.laugh01
    Thresh laughs.
Upon claiming a Damnation.png soul
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellI4
    "The nothingness accepts all."
Upon collecting 40 Damnation.png souls
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellI1
    "Oh, what a wonderful world."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellI2
    "A trillion souls to go."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellI3
    "A fine start."
Upon casting Death Sentence.png Death Sentence
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellQ1
    "Nothing escapes our hunger."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellQ2
    "Join us in death."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellQ3
    "Nowhere left to run."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellQ4
    "My pull is inexorable."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellQ5
    "Space is no impediment."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellQ6
    "Distance is an illusion."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellQ7
    "Your efforts are meaningless."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellQ8
    "We shall hunt you to the ends of creation."
Upon casting Dark Passage.png Dark Passage
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellW1
    "Embrace entropy."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellW2
    "Take a trip to the end of the world."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellW3
    "Feel my power."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellW4
    "Of your own accord."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellW5
    "Join me."
Upon casting Flay.png Flay
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellE1
    "Become part of something greater - nothingness."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellE2
    "Death is but a dream."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellE3
    "The downward spiral."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellE4
    "You are now in my orbit."
Upon casting The Box.png The Box
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellR1
    "We are inescapable."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellR2
    "The stars die as we approach."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellR3
    "Infinity is confined."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellR4
    "There is nowhere to run. We've destroyed it all."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellR5
    "Their screams sing me to my eternal sleep."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellR6
    "Dreadful symmetry."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spellR7
    "Welcome to the event horizon."
Upon buying an item
  • ThreshDarkStar.item01
    "How charming."
  • ThreshDarkStar.item02
    "Fine craftsmanship - for a dead people."
  • ThreshDarkStar.item03
    "Oh, such destruction to come!"
Upon buying Giant&#039;s Belt item.png Giant's Belt
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemGiantsBelt01
    "Not nearly big enough."
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemGiantsBelt02
    "Mortal trappings."
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemGiantsBelt03
    "My other belt is made of dead stars."
Upon buying Eye of the Equinox item.png Eye of the Equinox
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemEyeOfTheEquinox01
    "Even the least of them may yet serve us in death."
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemEyeOfTheEquinox02
    "Speed their deaths."
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemEyeOfTheEquinox03
    "Eye for an eye."
Upon buying Kindlegem item.png Kindlegem
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemKindlegem01
    "Ah, if it could only kindle hope. Haha!"
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemKindlegem02
    "Useful."
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemKindlegem03
    "A bauble."
Upon buying Targon&#039;s Brace item.jpg Targon's Brace
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemTargonsBrace01
    "Targon should brace itself."
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemTargonsBrace02
    "I'll take it."
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemTargonsBrace03
    "They won't be needing this."
Upon buying Aegis of the Legion item.png Aegis of the Legion
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemAegisOfTheLegion01
    "No legion can stand before us."
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemAegisOfTheLegion02
    "What's an aegis anyway?"
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemAegisOfTheLegion03
    "Use their defenses against them."
Upon buying Locket of the Iron Solari item.png Locket of the Iron Solari
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemLocketOfTheIronSolari01
    "Not quite my style - but it will have to do."
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemLocketOfTheIronSolari02
    "Hm, they worship suns. Too bad."
Upon buying Relic Shield item.png Relic Shield
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemRelicShield01
    "We'll make relics of them all."
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemRelicShield02
    "A means to the end."
  • ThreshDarkStar.itemRelicShield03
    "Wait 'til they get a load of us."
While idling
  • ThreshDarkStar.idle01
    "Annihilation awaits."
Upon going on a killing spree
  • ThreshDarkStar.spreeKillingSpree01
    "If the universe cared, it would stop us."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spreeKillingSpree02
    "I am the vanishing point on all horizons."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spreeKillingSpree03
    "They all seem to die with a whimper."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spreeKillingSpree04
    "They feed the very engine of their destruction."
  • ThreshDarkStar.spreeKillingSpree05
    "Not even light can escape us."
Upon placing a ward
  • ThreshDarkStar.ward01
    "None living shall escape my sight."
  • ThreshDarkStar.ward02
    "Just because you are beneath my notice doesn't mean I can't see you."
  • ThreshDarkStar.ward03
    "Hiding will not save you."
  • ThreshDarkStar.ward04
    "Leave nothing to chance."
Upon casting Recall.png Recall
  • ThreshDarkStar.recall01
    "One day, this hunger will be sated."
  • ThreshDarkStar.recall02
    "Watch the stars blink out, one by one."
  • ThreshDarkStar.recall03
    "Much more work to do."
Upon death
  • ThreshDarkStar.death01
    "The embrace of nothingness..."
  • ThreshDarkStar.death02
    "Oh, thank you..."
  • ThreshDarkStar.death03
    "Finally..."
Upon respawning
  • ThreshDarkStar.respawn01
    "Only a few more stars, a few more galaxies..."
  • ThreshDarkStar.respawn02
    "Time, space, reality - we shall consume all."
  • ThreshDarkStar.respawn03
    "Beware - I live."
  • ThreshDarkStar.respawn04
    "Death is no escape."
  • ThreshDarkStar.respawn05
    "Become one in death."
  • ThreshDarkStar.respawn06
    "Yes..."

Development

Developing Dark Star Thresh

Thresh Dark Star promo 01

By BananaBandit [1]

A Legendary is born.

For years, players have been making #lcsbigplays and #bronzebigplays with Thresh, and the community’s love for the Overlord of Hook City has consistently placed him on the list of top-ten globally played champs. Thresh had everything a champ could want in his kit, but he lacked one thing: a Legendary skin.

A Dark Star Rises

On a cold (for Southern California) February afternoon, product owner Paul “Pabro” Bellezza received a special request: “Could your team make a Legendary Thresh skin?”

Pabro introduced the new project in his next team meeting. “Thresh is a pure evil, psychological sadist who mercilessly collects souls,” Pabro said. “Whatever skin we make should multiply these characteristics by 100.” He invited the team to spend one week developing concepts, but before they dispersed, Pabro dropped the real challenge: The crew would have about half the time normally allotted for Legendaries to complete the skin.

The following week, about twenty people returned with a wide range of pitches. Beekeeper Thresh was briefly considered, but he somehow failed to evoke the fear and dread Pabro was looking for. Instead, a different idea hooked their attention: Dark Star Thresh, an ancient space lord who manipulates the laws of time and gravity while collecting his victims’ souls in a black hole. When they took a vote on their favorite pitches, Dark Star emerged with nearly unanimous support.

Thresh Dark Star concept 01

Beekeeper Thresh and Dark Star Thresh

Delightful Agony

After choosing a direction, the next step was to explore who Dark Star Thresh really was. “Basically, we gathered in a room and started asking questions like, ‘What motivates Dark Star Thresh? What’s his source of power? What is he made of?’” says creative lead Matthew “Popstar Urf” Manarino.

Countless discussions and whiteboards of ideas later, they unravelled the story of Dark Star Thresh. “Thresh’s black hole is a separate entity he’s feeding, and his goal is to end all of existence—not just to be a dick, but so he can die, too. For him, that moment when all of eternity is fed into the black hole is like rapture,” Pabro says. Locking down the story elements helped the team push through to the nitty-gritty of design and in-game integration.

Thresh Dark Star concept 02

First Round of Concept Art, by Hellstern

Concept artist Elena “Hellstern” Bespalova started drafting concepts for Dark Star Thresh around this time. In her second round of drawings, a swirling galaxy emerged around Thresh’s head, but it was unclear if the celestial cowl would look as stellar in-game. Hellstern says, “It presented a real challenge because Thresh is kind of old, and his model is a bit clunky.” Hellstern joined up with 3D and visual effects artists, and together, they combined rudimentary models of Dark Star Thresh with swirling space matter. After a few practice trials, they determined it was possible to bring the design to life.

Thresh Dark Star concept 03

Second Round of Concept Art

Four weeks into development, Dark Star Thresh’s visual direction was locked.

Flesh is a Prison

Hellstern and character artist Ryan “Ribtibs” Ribot combined forces to start turning Dark Star Thresh’s 2D concept art into 3D terror. Character models are made of a bunch of polygons, and Ribtibs says, “It’s our job as modelers to put these polygons in the right places. It sounds technical, but it feels more like manipulating clay.” The duo created over twenty versions of Thresh’s model before finally landing on one that hit the right mix of recognizable Thresh and celestial horror.

Thresh Dark Star model 01

Early and Final Versions of Dark Star Thresh’s Model & Polygon Layover on Painted Final Model

Thresh Dark Star model 02

Early in development Dark Star Tresh was painted with an array of reds. This color scheme was changed to distinguish him from his Blood Moon counterpart.

Thresh’s model was still a work in progress when technical artist Jue “Kaolala” Wang started prepping the sinister star for animation. Kaolala created digital bones and chained them together inside Dark Star Thresh’s body. Once Thresh’s bones were in place, Kaolala connected them to the model so they’d know which body part to influence. Now, when animators moved a bone in Thresh’s arm, the model’s arm moved with it.

Thresh Dark Star model 03

Dark Star Tresh's Bone Structure

Redoing every animation is the most time-intensive part of making a Legendary skin, and with only two months left for development, time was hot commodity. This led to some thought-provoking questions: If auto-attacking doesn’t feel as important as hitting a Madlife hook, should they put equal time into both? What are the moments that feel the most impactful? After much deliberation, the decision was made to polish Thresh’s existing animations instead of recreating them from scratch, with special focus on moments that could feel out-of-this-world.

Dark Star Thresh - VFX on Hook00:10

Dark Star Thresh - VFX on Hook

Dark Star Thresh’s Legendary status merited an updated recall and new “emotes,” the technical term for a champ’s BM reservoir of taunts, jokes, laughter, and dance skills. These features are unrelated to mechanical gameplay, so animator Drew “sandwichtown” Morgan used them to further Thresh’s destructive, omnipotent persona.

For example, when the Sinister Star returns to base, he throws his hook through a portal and pulls himself towards the unknown entity it connects with. But, instead of using an existing portal, he transforms his black hole into a private one, demonstrating his complete command of the universe.

Dark Star Thresh - Recall00:14

Dark Star Thresh - Recall

The Brink of Infinity

Dark Star Thresh has a ton of visual effects (VFX); turn them all off and all that’s left is a body with a floating head. It can be pretty difficult to distinguish between the 3D model’s animation and VFX at first glance—one way to spot the difference is to compare Thresh’s lantern in the base model to his black hole in the Dark Star skin.

Thresh Dark Star model 04

Base Thresh's animated lantern and Dark Star Tresh's VFX black hole

Thresh’s original soul vessel is a 3D model animated to sway predictably. Dark Star Thresh’s black hole is a visual effect made of tiny, hand-painted particles that can be individually manipulated. Using VFX grants the artistic freedom to create dynamic, swirling colors in Thresh’s black hole as well as in his galaxy cowl, left hand, tentacle head, and ability particles.

Nothing in League of Legends resembled a black hole, so VFX artist Adam “Riot AdamUnicorn” Kupratis looked towards other games for early inspiration. He began by mimicking black-hole type abilities to better understand how black holes function in video games, and this gave him a strong starting point for Thresh’s black hole. AdamUnicorn started painting and rigging during the early weeks of development, but Dark Star Thresh’s black hole wasn’t finalized until a week before the PBE release.

AdamUnicorn says creating Dark Star Thresh’s VFX was extra challenging because, “We were working with huge ideas—concepts bigger than the Milky Way. Making that look cool on a much smaller scale was beyond complicated.”

Dark Star Thresh - Cowl and Black Hole SFX00:15

Dark Star Thresh - Cowl and Black Hole SFX

The Sweet Tones of Misery

Dark Star Thresh was looking like a cosmic horror, but he didn’t quite sound like one. Using the VFX for guidance, audio designer Boon “Boondingo” Sim searched Riot’s sound libraries and his collection of sound-generating software for material to create the sounds to pair with Thresh’s auto attacks and abilities. It was easy enough to find cool sci-fi sound effects (SFX), but the trick was to modify them so they were recognizable as belonging to the Chain Warden.

“Gameplay is our primary concern, so everything still has to fall into the same pattern. Players have to know what’s happening, based on the sound,” Boondingo says. At review meetings, the team also listened for anything that sounded too similar to other skins or champs. Their feedback ensured the space vanquisher didn’t accidentally steal Vel’Koz’s sound effects (along with his soul).

We were working with huge ideas - concepts bigger than the Milky Way. Making that look cool on a much smaller scale was beyond complicated.

To finalize Dark Star Thresh’s voiceover script, the skins team collaborated with a few writers (PBE release was, at this point, six weeks away). Boondingo then spent the day at a nearby studio, recording the voice-over with Thresh’s original voice actor and a voice director. After this session, Boondingo listened to the recording and evaluated the delivery of the lines, choosing the strongest versions.

For some reason, the voice actor sounded far too human. Drawing inspiration from sci-fi villains and horror films, Boondingo started layering distortion effects over the original recording, transforming it into the voice of an otherworldly horror:

  • Original, humanoid recording:
  • Deepened voice to sound extra villainous:
  • Reverb (similar to an echo) and delay added to sound like he’s echoing in space:
  • Gradually deepen the fading reverb to make it feel like being sucked into a black hole:
  • Reverse the end of the reverb and put it at the start of each line, so it sounds like his voice is pulling players in:

Every villain needs a diabolical soundtrack, and composer Edouard “Ed the Conqueror” Brenneisen started working on Dark Star Thresh’s musical accompaniment early in development. Follow Ed the Conqueror’s progress in the the video below. Listen to the final composition.

Composing Dark Star Thresh’s Music Behind the Scenes - League of Legends05:30

Composing Dark Star Thresh’s Music Behind the Scenes - League of Legends

Annihilation Awaits

It’s now four weeks from from Dark Star Thresh’s PBE debut. Thresh’s base model and animations are complicated, and Dark Star Thresh’s model and animations are even more complicated. Because of this, quality analyst Brittany “Riot Galetta” Gleiter started playtesting the celestial terror before his VFX, SFX, or voice-over were finalized.

Galetta partnered with a quality assurance organization to run structured tests searching for any bugs that impacted gameplay. Some bugs emerged here and there, but everything was fixable with minor modifications.

Aside from uncovering glitches, Galetta also tested the quality of Dark Star Thresh as a skin. She answered questions like, “What do you love about this skin, and what do you feel is missing? Would you feel happy purchasing this skin?” Galetta’s feedback helped guide the final hectic weeks of development until Dark Star Thresh was ready to bring devastation to the world of Runeterra.

Dark Star Thresh debuted on live servers on June 16, 2016.

The Universe Grinds to a Halt

The next day, the Dark Star Thresh team headed to a pool party to relax for an afternoon. Shipping a Legendary skin on a truncated timeline was exhausting, but they had managed to achieve the impossible. Dark Star Thresh now terrorized the Rift, and it was time to celebrate.

The party didn’t last long. Shortly after heading out, Pabro received a call from the office: “Have you seen the Dark Star Thresh bug?”

Dark Star Thresh - Frame Rate Bug00:05

Dark Star Thresh - Frame Rate Bug

A lot of players purchased Dark Star Thresh, and as the skin found its way into millions of games, it soon became obvious that something was fundamentally wrong. Whenever an enemy player first saw Dark Star Thresh after Thresh died and respawned, the player’s screen would freeze while the VFX loaded. This issue primarily struck players who didn’t have powerful video cards—Dark Star Thresh’s swirling terrors were pushing some machines into frame rate oblivion. Within 24 hours of release, Dark Star Thresh was disabled.

The outing was cut short as the crew returned to the office. They’d never encountered such a severe bug that only occurred on the enemy team, and it was surprising that it slipped through quality testing. They worked through the weekend, optimizing Dark Star Thresh’s VFX to make him less demanding on video cards. Four non-stop days later, Thresh was back to seeking the total destruction of the universe.

Even after finding the solution, a feeling of frustration and devastation remained. “Dark Star Thresh was such an aggressive undertaking, and for this to happen after everyone’s hard work just felt awful,” Galetta says. Still, they are proud of the accomplishment. By working on multiple aspects of development simultaneously, the team created a Legendary skin in almost half the time as previous endeavors. It was tough, draining, and more than a bit stressful—but they did it.

“Overall, it was like trial-by-fire,” Pabro jokes, “but we really challenged the way we made skins and pushed ourselves as a team to think outside the box.”

Thresh Dark Star splash concept 01

Artist Victor “3rdColossus” Maury wanted to capture the hopelessness of planetary destruction in Dark Star Thresh’s splash art. The changes made in early renditions reflect the skin’s tumultuous development. Thinking back on the process, 3rdColossus says, “It was sometimes painful, but we took a big risk. We’re proud of that, at the end of the day.”

Previous Lore

ThreshSquare.png Thresh is a twisted reaper whose hungry chains ensnare the souls of the living. A moment's hesitation at the sight of his ghostly visage and there is no escape. He leaves in his wake hollow corpses, their souls ripped loose and trapped in the sickly green light of his lantern. The Chain Warden takes sadistic joy in tormenting his victims, both before and after their deaths. His grim task is never complete, and he stalks the land for ever more resolute spirits to unravel.

Thresh carves careful, deliberate paths through Valoran. He handpicks his targets individually, devoting his full attention to each soul in turn. He isolates and toys with them, gradually eroding their sanity with his twisted, maddening humor. Once Thresh takes an interest in a soul, he does not relent until he possesses it. He then drags those he captures back to the Shadow Isles for an unimaginably dreadful fate. This is his only purpose.

Little is known about the Chain Warden's past, and many of the details live only in nursery rhymes and campfire tales. They tell of a sadistic jailer from centuries past who took great delight in torturing his wards. Patient and brutal, he used a variety of methods to break his victims' minds before their bodies succumbed to his grisly designs. Chains were the jailer's preferred instruments of terror. Their shrill scrape marked his dreadful approach and promised agony to those he visited. His dark reign went unchallenged until his prisoners escaped during a massive riot. They overwhelmed him, and without ceremony or remorse, hanged him from his own chains. Thus began the unlife of the horrible specter known as Thresh, or so the tales go.

Thresh now haunts the land, leaving an aftermath of horror and despair. However, there is a devious purpose behind his dark machinations, and the meager spirits of average men are insufficient. He seeks stronger souls. Only when he has broken the wills of Valoran's most resilient warriors will he finally have what he needs.

"There are few things as invigorating as taking a mind apart, piece by piece."
Thresh

Patch History

V6.22
  • Dark Passage.png Dark Passage
    • Bug Fix: Can no longer be casted globally under specific circumstances. No lantern was created, but Thresh gained vision of the target area.
V6.21
  • Death Sentence.png Death Sentence
    • Bug Fix: No longer sometimes sends Thresh to weird places if he tries to fly through a base gate.
V6.17
  • Death Sentence.png Death Sentence
    • Bug Fix: Dark Star Thresh's corpse no longer gets stuck in a T-pose if he dies while casting Death Sentence.
  • Dark Passage.png Dark Passage
  • The Box.png The Box
    • Cooldown reduced to 140 / 120 / 100 seconds from 150 / 140 / 130.
V6.16
  • Dark Passage.png Dark Passage
    • Bug Fix: Championship and Deep Sea Thresh's Dark Passage once again create a glowing trail behind the lantern when Dark Passage is cast.
V6.13
  • Damnation.png Damnation
    • Epic monster souls are now worth two stacks of Damnation.
  • Dark Passage.png Dark Passage
    • Removed: AP scaling.
    • New Effect: Shield's strength now scale with total number of souls. Each soul collected increases the shield value by one.
    • New Effect: While Thresh is tethered to an enemy via Death Sentence.png Death Sentence, casting Dark Passage beyond cast range will now throws the lantern at maximum range in the target direction, rather than causing Thresh to walk into cast range.
    • New Effect: If Thresh successfully Death Sentence.png shackles a target and pull towards them, lanterns slightly beyond the leash range will have a short grace period before breaking the leash.
V6.12
V6.2
V6.1
  • Damnation.png Damnation
    • Fixed a visual bug where, upon despawning, uncollected souls appeared to fly to Thresh instead of vanishing.
V5.16
  • Stats
    • Health growth increased to 93 from 89.
V5.15
V5.13
  • Damnation.png Damnation
    • Fixed a bug where souls would visually fly to Thresh from extreme distances. This never affected gameplay.
    • Fixed a bug where Rift Scuttler Rift Scuttler didn't have a soul.
  • Dark Passage.png Dark Passage
    • New Effect: The lantern will wait for Thresh to land from Death Leap before returning to him, even if he exceeds maximum range.
V4.14
  • Flay.png Flay
    • Fixed a bug where it would sometimes not move enemies.
V4.13
  • Dark Passage.png Dark Passage
    • Now only shields the first ally to be near the Lantern in addition to Thresh.
  • Flay.png Flay
    • Fixed a tooltip bug that listed Flay's slow duration as 1.5 seconds instead of 1 second.
  • The Box.png The Box
    • No longer deals additional damage to opponents that break extra walls beyond the first.
V4.11
  • General
    • Hitbox size increased to 65 units around from 50 to match average hitbox size.
V4.10
  • Flay.png Flay
    • Bugfix: Now properly displays the correct buff icon
V4.7 Crystal Scar only
  • Damnation.png Damnation
    • Each soul is now worth 2 stacks of Damnation.
V4.5
  • Stats
    • Base armor increased to 16 from 12.
V4.4 Crystal Scar only
  • Damnation.png Damnation
    • Each soul is now worth 4 stacks of Damnation.
  • The Box.png The Box
    • Cooldown reduced to 120 / 110 / 100 seconds from 150 / 140 / 130.
V4.4
  • Damnation.png Damnation
    • Soul lifespan reduced to 8 seconds from 14.
V4.2
  • Stats
    • Attack range reduced to 450 from 475.
V4.1
  • Dark Passage.png Dark Passage
    • Now shows indicator particles to nearby allies to indicate that it is a clickable object.
    • Lantern now provides a small area of impassible terrain
  • The Box.png The Box
    • Arm time increased to 0.75 seconds from 0.5 seconds.
V3.13
  • General
    • Basic attack wind up is reduced by 0.25% per 1% attack speed, rather than the standard 1%.
  • Stats
    • Attack speed per level increased to 3% from 1%.
V3.12
  • Death Sentence.png Death Sentence
    • Cooldown increased to 20 / 18 / 16 / 14 / 12 seconds from 18 / 16.5 / 15 / 13.5 / 12.
    • Cooldown now reduced by 3 seconds if Death Sentence strikes an enemy.
  • Flay.png Flay
    • Passive basic attack "wind up" damage now only grows when Thresh's basic attack cooldown completes.
V3.10
  • Stats
    • Base health reduced to 441 from 452.
    • Base armor reduced to 12 from 18.
  • Damnation.png Damnation
    • Souls now always grant 0.75 armor and ability power instead of starting at 1 and granting diminishing returns per soul collected.
V3.8
V3.6
  • Death Sentence.png Death Sentence
    • Damage increased to 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 / 240 from 80 / 110 / 140 / 170 / 200.
    • Passive moved to Flay.
  • Flay.png Flay
    • Damage reduced to 65 / 95 / 125 / 155 / 185 from 65 / 105 / 145 / 185 / 225.
    • Now has Death Sentence's previous passive (bonus damage on basic attacks).
    • Fixed a bug that caused the passive's damage to be consumed when attacking wards.
    • Fixed a bug where Flay sometimes dealt more damage than intended.
V1.0.0.154 Added January 23rd
  • Damnation.png Damnation (Innate)
    • When Thresh stalks the Fields of Justice, minions, monsters and opposing champions occasionally manifest their essence as souls after they die. Gather the souls of fallen foes to power up Thresh’s Armor and Ability Power. Thresh gains no Armor per level normally.
  • Death Sentence.png Death Sentence (Q)
    • (Passive): Thresh winds up his attacks, dealing more damage the longer he waits between strikes.
    • (Active): Thresh throws his scythe forward, dragging the first enemy struck a fixed distance toward him. Activate Death Sentence again to hurtle towards the bound unit.
  • Dark Passage.png Dark Passage (W)
    • Thresh hurls his lantern towards a target location. Nearby allies gain a shield while inside the lantern’s area of effect. Teammates who click the lantern will be pulled to Thresh.
  • Flay.png Flay (E)
    • Thresh sweeps his chain, knocking all enemies in the direction of the blow.
  • The Box.png The Box (Ultimate)
    • Thresh creates a prison of walls around him that slow and damage enemies that cross through.

References

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