Thorn Exotic Review [Updated]

“To rend one’s enemies is to see them not as equals, but objects—hollow of spirit and meaning.” – 13th Understanding, 7th Book of Sorrow

Thorn is an Exotic Hand Cannon.

It can only be acquired by by completing its Exotic Bounty.


The good: Highest hand cannon rate of fire, very fast reload time, DoT.

The bad: Kinetic damage, low Impact.

Conclusion: Fun to use, dominates in PvP.

Read the full review here

This is an Exotic Weapon
Hand Cannon (Primary Weapon)
Kinetic Base Damage/Upgraded260/300
Quality Lvl70
Rate of Fire
Magazine Size

Aim Assist
Equip Speed

Talent Upgrades Tree

Kinetic Damage

This weapon causes Kinetic damage.

Accurized Ballistics

More range and impact. Increased recoil.

+5% Damage
+10 Range
-10 Stability.

Final Round

The last round in a magazine deals bonus damage.

The last shot in your magazine deals 33% additional damage.

Upgrade Damage 1

Increases Attack Power, resulting in more Damage.


Switch weapons faster. Move quicker while aiming.

+30% Aim Down Sight speed.

Mark of the Devourer

Rounds pierce targets and cause lingering damage over time.

Upgrade Damage 2

Increases Attack Power, resulting in more Damage.

Upgrade Damage 3

Increases Attack Power, resulting in more Damage.

Field Choke

More range and impact. Increased recoil.

+5% Damage
+12 Range
-15 Stability

Send It

Less Recoil. Penalty to Impact.

-5% Damage
+10 Stability.

Upgrade Damage 4

Increases Attack Power, resulting in more Damage.

Aggressive Ballistics

More Predictable recoil. Enhanced impact. Shorter range and more recoil.

+10% Damage
-5 Range
-5 Stability

Perfect Balance

This weapon has extremely low recoil.

+35 Stability
-20 Range

Upgrade Damage 5

Increases Attack Power, resulting in more Damage.

Requires 1 Exotic Shard

Video: Thorn Post-Patch Review

Thorn’s Exotic Bounty

Walkthrough – A Light in the Dark

Reward: Thorn (Hand Cannon)

Steps to Complete:

  1. Complete “The Summoning Pits” Strike on the Moon for the Depleted Hand Cannon.
  2. Then, harvest the energies of Hive on the Moon to activate the weapon by killing 500 Hive. Killing Majors or Ultras will count for more than “1” kill. After you do that, you’ll have an updated Depleted Hand Cannon.
  3. Use Void Damage to defeat Guardians in the Crucible. Death will slow your progress. 500 points needed, each kill will count for 5 points. Your deaths subtract 2 points. Once you complete this you’ll obtain the Corrupted Hand Cannon.
  4. Cleanse the weapon, by buying an Infusion of Light from the Speaker.
  5. Now bring the weapon to Ikora Rey.
  6. She gives you the Corrupted Thorn, and wants you to kill Xyor, the Unwed. Fight up to Phogoth. Clear all of the adds and ignore Phogoth. Killing Xyor will reward you with the Unbound Thorn.
  7. Return to the Speaker for your final reward, Thorn.

Weapon Review

With the recent update to Thorn, it absolutely needed to be reviewed again! The A “Light in the Dark” bounty, which you can read above, is actually worth doing now.

Recommended perks:


Aggressive Ballistics
+10% Damage
-5 Range
-5 Stability

Send It
+50 Range


Aggressive Ballistics
+10% Damage
-5 Range
-5 Stability

Perfect Balance
+35 Stability
-20 Range

The Good:

Thorn’s signature ability is a damage over time (DoT) that is applied the first time you hit a target. This is amazing in PvP, but even more so now in PvE. If you can land precision shots, then most of your enemies will simply die in 1 hit.

The DoT from Mark of the Devourer – which now hits a tier 1 enemy for 86 & tier 2 for 72, is great for keeping enemies shields down while you reload or run for cover. In addition, this perk also causes the rounds to over-penetrate the target.

The stability is now above average, and makes the weapon easier to use in the closer ranges.

The increase to the magazine size/ammo capacity, to a respectable 9, means you can be a little bit more free with your shots.

Overall, the updates to Thorn have improved it to the point of being potentially one of the best PvP weapons in the game.

thorn exotic update
Before and After

The Bad:

With so many improvements, there’s isn’t much that it can be docked for.

The main issue could be chalked up to its range and Impact. Thorn’s range isn’t great, but its Impact is the worst in the game as far as hand cannons go.

The weapon would be even better if it had a damage type, so that it could be more viable in PvE, but with the massive DoT damage, it’s not that big of an issue.

Unfortunately that DoT is the final unique perk, and is what makes Thorn useful in PvE, so you’ll definitely want to upgrade that.

After its been updated by Xur
After its been updated by Xur


Thorn has a very iconic look and sound. You will immediately know if someone has it based on the distinct sound it makes.

The weapon’s iron sight is also a somewhat difficult to see in brighter areas of the world.

Augmented through dark practices, Thorn was once a hero’s weapon. Its jagged frame hints at a sinister truth: a powerful connection to the unutterable sorceries of the Hive.


It’s now one of the Top 5 Exotics for PvP, and much more formidable in PvE than it was before the patch.

In some circumstances it could be considered better than Hawkmoon, and easily better than The Last Word in PvE.

Complete the Exotic Bounty, and level it up fully (after purchasing the updated version from Xûr), it’s worth it.

For PvP this weapon earns a 10/10 and for PvE a 8.5/10.
thorn exotic reveiw patch

Patrick Casey
Howdy! I am a contributing writer. If you think I overlooked something about a weapon, feel free to comment below and let me know. I'll see you in the Crucible.