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Thanatos is the perfect pick for invading and just being a scumbag.
He is a really strong pick against all junglers that build power pot at lvl 1 (Thor goes pot 95% of the time). But he is good as just a normal pick as well, you just have to take advantage of his earlygame. And your build makes a huge impact, more so than on other gods.
IMO you should ALWAYS invade as Thanatos, if you do not invade you are better off playing someone else. You have to go Bumba's at least if you decide not to invade.
In the early game you should be focusing on invading the enemy jungle, warding at their speed and red is a good way to stay on track with timers and rotations etc. As thana even invading back camps is smart, because you can 1v1 easily (just keep your ult in chase the enemy team rotates).
So you'r job as Thanatos is to never let the enemy jungler get to late game, gank a lot and focus on clearing the enemy jungle. Your team can focus on your jungle. Just don't fall behind to much.
Harvester of Souls is great (makes you into a miniature Kali), it helps you jungle without Bumba's Mask as long as you get the last hit on the camps. The 20 percent health return from killing a enemy god helps you tower dive with Hovering Death, as long as you get the killing blow you can almost dive someone with 5 hp and still survive due to the heal. And the CDR is good for team fights, but not really to noticeable.
Your main abilities are Death Scythe and Scent of Death, Hovering Death and Soul Reap are just icing on the cake.
Death Scythe is pretty much a no brainer, you deal insane amount of flat damage and additional damage calculated from the targets current health on top of healing yourself. The 10% extra damage might seem lie a lot, but it really isn't. If someone has 1000 health it deals 100 additional damage and if a target has 100 health it deals 10 extra damage. So there is no reason to ever think about focusing using it on targets with high health etc. Just use it as you engage the target for a lot of burst damage and/or to finish a kill.
Sent of Death gives you more flat penetration than any item, 30% percent movement speed (60% against someone at 24%-40% health depending on your Hovering Death level) and on top of that it gives you slow immunity for 6 seconds. This ability is Thanatos.
Soul Reap it is some damage not enough to make it worth maxing it before sent of death, the silence is good for interrupting stuff like Brutalize etc. The drawback of being slowed is pretty minimal, but it is worth thinking about if you are chasing someone. It is best used to stop someone from casting a escape or stop a channeling ability.
Hovering Death is an execute but a lot of the time you will just use it for the stun it also applies. It is a great way to enitiate a gank, just like Anvil of Dawn only a bit easier to spot, bit it makes less noise (a lot of the time you hear Thor going up, you will not hear Thanatos ). The main reason to max this is IMO to increase the usefulness of sent of death, bit increasing the execute threshold and damage is of course great.
Your basic combo will be SENT OF DEATH --> Death Scythe --> Soul Reap --> Hovering Death if needed.
Sneaky beaky like combo will be Hovering Death --> Death Scythe --> Soul Reap --> sent of death if you have to chase or escape.
You want as much damage as possible when invading to secure the kill. And going bluestone and Potion of Physical Might does just that. You get 40 power which is 24 damage for Death Scythe on top of the 30 damage from the bluestone proc. You also want as much sustain as can get in chase you get rotated on or screw up the invade. So getting 3× Healing Potion and 2× Multi Potion is the best way to start. You would have to pop the Potion of Physical Might in the base at about -18 seconds to get to the enemy speed in time. Going 5× Healing Potion is also possible but you lose the sustain from popping Healing Potion and Multi Potion at the same time.
You are all about moving around as Thanatos so boots are super important and you are 100% ability based IMO so there is no way you should ever pick up Ninja Tabi and the extra power from warrior's tabi is important for getting those early game kills. Then you want to get Mail of Renewal for CDR and sustain. The passive is just insanely OP and the protections are great against the enemy jungler if it is a physical god. If you feel like it you could go for a Heartseeker before Mail of Renewal, because it takes to long to stack it up if you buy it as your third item. You can even get it before boots, but I recommend going it second if you are building it.
After getting Mail of Renewal your damage is lacking a little, though your abilities still deal a ton of flat damage. And with abilities that deal a lot of flat damage and less %damage based on your physical power, penetration is the best way to bump up your DPS. Most of the time I go Titan's Bane mostly because it is cheap and the %pen works well with the flat pen from sent of death. But another reason for it is that if you buy Jotunn's Wrath you can not build either Spirit Robe or Winged Blade later in the game because you will overcap on CDR. But Jotunn's Wrath is really good if you know you won't get either Spirit Robe or Winged Blade later.
If you are struggling against hard CC from the enemy team getting Spirit Robe is great (as well as greater purification beads of course). The passive damage reduction as well as CDR and protections is just what you want in that situation. Magi's blessing is not worth it IMO unless you got a channeling ability even then beads should be enough.
If you are struggling against an enemy magical god Stone of Gaia is here to save you. The protections and health I'd great in adittion to the HP5 which is really useful for Thanatos because you pay some of your manacost with health. It can be what let's you regen enough to cast that Death Scythe, Hovering Death or sent of death that saves your life.
Runeforged Hammer is a superb item if you need to get even more physical protections than Mail of Renewal, but I wouldn't pick it up unless you are planing to go Midgardian Mail as well. Which should not be needed unless the enemy team has four physical gods or a kali or an ADC going 50-0.
If you don't really need anything Shifter's Shield is GREAT. It gives you a huge power burst with 60 power when at >50% health and you get a bit protections.
Another situational item is Winged Blade which is great if you can't stick to the enemies because of slows even though you have sent of death. It is also perfect against Poseidon, the CDR and extra base movement is also great for Thanatos.
Now your build will depend on what you've built earlier. You either want more damage or protections.
If the enemy team has a fed ADC or other AA based god (or if they have a lot of AA based gods) getting either Midgardian Mail or Witchblade will be a good idea. I would choose Midgardian Mail if it's a fed ADC that is the problem, because it will make it easy for you to dive the backline and kill him/her in teamfights and killing him/her 1v1. Witchblade would be a better choice if it is something like a fed Kali you are trying to counter. Because you can't force her to attack you in teamfights to proc the Midgardian Mail. Having more than two Witchblade auras on a team is not optimal though.
As I said Magi's blessing is IMO not as good as Spirit Robe, but if you are still dying to hard CC after getting Spirit Robe and greater purification beads it is worth picking it up. But it is most likely your fault not the build or enemy team.
Deathbringer/ Malice pick your poison or both. If you need more damage (not likely). You could also just go for more pen, but inhand damage and crits are more potent than abilities in the lategame.
And again if you do not know what to build Shield of Regrowth is a fun item. Does not do to much though. But the passive is nice I guess if you are chasing and your Death Scythe doesn't secure the kill or if you are trying to escape.
As your last active just pick something to help your team.
If you want to be a scumbag and invade, Thanatos is the way to go. You pretty much win the game before 10 min super easy or you will have to rely on protections and your team to win.
Building Thanatos with protections helps you out a ton in teamfights and is IMO the best way to build him.
He is not the best jungler in the game, but he is a great counter to Thor witch is one of the strongest junglers in the game. And invading is a easy way to win games, but it can backfire.
Nothing is more enjoyable than being a dirty invading ***** though.
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