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.


  • Diego Pedrollo

    Hand Canon must have great impact.
    Thorn is a very cool weapon…but Hawkmoon is much better.

    • munchmill14

      I wrecked people with the Hawkmoon in pvp with Thorn just because of the DoT. Thorn is by far one of the best hand cannons in the game just because it’s DoT and speed. Most of the time I one shot people with this hand cannon. Unlike the Hawkmon takes 2 shots even though Hawkmoons is pretty cool also.

      • Diff

        Hawkmoons range and higher impact outclass the thorn. Thorn’s DoT still make it a very close competitor to the point where it could be called better. I think as of now it all depends on your playstyle and your own tastes. At least in pvp. Impact always wins out in PvE.

        • SALATARN

          actually a mix of rate of fire and impact win out in pve and thorn has great for both plus the DOT and now comparable to hawkmoon mag size (only 2 less) thorn exceeds it by far in terms of dps.

  • Christian

    Before the Patch, this weapon was questionable. After the patch, there is no doubt that this is a dominant weapon. PVP it destroys, PVE it is something to be feared. It has an excellent effect with DoT. A lot of the time you can take down enemies with one shot who would usually require two as he DoT finishes them off.

    It’s simply a great weapon and now well worth the trail to acquire it.

    • Paratrooper2000

      Yeah, that was the hardest exotic bounty I ever did. 😀

      I wonder what upgrades everybody else prefers…
      – Accurized Ballistics vs. Field Choke vs. Agressive Ballistics

      – Snapshot vs. Send It vs. Perfect Balance

      • Christian

        PVE: For me I just want to maximise the punch on every shot. Send it and Aggressive ballistics for me. I Don’t use hand cannons from afar because of their range drop off being so harsh. I just focus on making sure every round can do what it can. For PVP I focus on making it more reliable and versatile. Basically opposites.

        • Josh Summers

          Lol i can shoot verrrrry far with it and manage headshots.

          • Christian

            It is possible. But Hand Cannons have the bullets spread out in a cone shape after a certain distance. At some ranges, Headshots are just down to luck. Handcannons are VERY inaccurate compared to the other primaries. I should know, I use them more than anything.

      • Nick

        I really like send it. There’s a perk for stability but I really like to be able to keep my distance and pick people off.

  • Lee Juriet

    Haha, suck it Playstation fans…. us Xboxers now have something that can keep up with your Handcannon Exclusive!

    • Lara Croft

      Keep that fanboyism out this site please. It’s bad enough Youtube and other gaming sites are nothing but fanboy comment wars.

      • Lee Juriet

        *blows rasperry*

    • Micah Yang

      Hawkmoon is better in my opinion. And also we playstation fans didn’t ask to have all this exclusive stuff. Tell activision to suck it. I would rather there weren’t any ps exclusives not only because i have a lot of friends on xbox but because xur won’t be selling hawkmoon (or monte carlo but nobody cares about that).

    • disqus_aigOPuWVlZ

      dude… enough with the fanboy bullshit

    • disqus_aigOPuWVlZ

      everytime you comment its always the same damn nonsense

  • Lara Croft

    It’s way way better now. Still, Last Word is my favourite.

  • Micah Yang

    I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for this bounty now that it’s actually a good weapon. I wanted this gun since e3 2013 and now that its viable i really want it.

  • Derek B.

    I don’t believe Thorn has the “Smart Drift Control” perk.

  • Oriel76

    If I get this straight : The Mythoclast, only available through Hard Mode VoG became an average weapon and the Thorn obtainable through exotic Bounty became OP ?

    So it became one of the most powerful weapon in PvP… So what do you think : Will Bungie nerf it when it’ll become the one weapon everybody will use in PvP ?

    • Lee Juriet

      Mythoclast is a stone cold bitch to get; I’ve tried. oh lordy how I have tried.

      • Oriel76

        Worshiped it for months, had 2 in 2 days…

        • Lee Juriet

          Lucky bastard; I keep getting Aspect of Glass, Timebreaker, and Ascendant Energy. ’tis ALL I have gotten the past 11 VoG Hard runs!

      • Jenius Shieh

        In the early days we get around 2 Vex per hard raid completion.. It seems harder now. Strange~ Granted, hard raid is much easier now after Bungie fix Atheon’s glitches~

  • Jenius Shieh

    Disagree that it is better than the last word. After playing both on crucible for a while, it feels that the last word is still the better weapon in PvP

    Whether by design or glitch, TLW frequently return 111 damage for headshot (for ADS), and occasionally can 2 shot kill your enemy. 3 shots will definitely doom your enemy.

    On stats, TLW’s fire rate is the same as Thorn, but it sure feels faster than Thorn. Thorn have a range advantage that is relevant in some of the crucible maps.

    Having that said, Thorn is very fun to use. I will still be using it frequently in Crucible 🙂

    • Jon Reshi

      You realize that they said it is better than TLW in PvE right? They never said it was better in the crucible. Before you disagree with someone, make sure that they even hold the opinion that you want to disagree with.

    • sorry I didn’t reply to this sooner, but we never said it was better than TLW in PvP

  • Mario Powierski

    I got Thorn before the patch but your article reads as if I would need to do it again to get the updated version, is that correct?

    • Paratrooper2000


    • Zander Sabbag

      actually, the weapon was updated, so no. Yet, for the damage increase you’ll need to either do the quest again or upgrade it at xur when avaiable

  • BaeSuzy

    I can’t find Smart Drift Control perk for this gun. Is it a new perk after Xur update? Also I prefer Perfect Balance in both PvP and PvE. Should I switch to Send It perk for PvE? If so, why?

    • Wow.. that was a typo. Sorry

    • cleverskills

      I’m wondering the same. I just leveled up to get perfect balance and switched to it but I think send it might be the way to go. Either way this is by far the coolest gun in the game and going from a blue ar to this has been like seeing the light.

  • Oriel76

    Wondering… When Upgrading it after the DoT skill, does the DoT damages increase as well or just Raw damages ?


    TLW has a much higher ROF than thorn due to the fan fire perk. fix that line of text.on another note, this weapon is the most deadly in capable marksman hands. i havent gone below a 3.0 kd yet with this thing.

  • Micah Yang

    I’m so glad this weapon is fixed; its so iconic

  • I’m a hand cannon lover and Thorn is my favorite one on PVP , not only because of its specifications but because the way I got it, on the hardest exotic bounty I ever did. Now my dream is to get Hawkmoon, more than any exotic weapon.

    • Decdog2

      what about The Last Word?

  • Ethan

    I have thorn with the mark of the devourer upgrade and it is OP in PvP and it is good against fallen dregs and vandels

  • crucibull

    how do you get past the 500 kills, omg.. i suck!

  • Taz Tharp

    How do you activate or obtain the exotic bounty in the first place?

    • staraffinity

      I’ve gotten them a few times by handing in completed bounties to the ”bounty robot” (whatever his name is).

  • Iceflame99

    Using Thorn and Felwinter’s lie is like havering a hand cannon and a sniper rifle if you get the right perks so it’s the best at all ranges.

  • Will Rodriguez

    This gun was on my radar for sooo long. I grinded for weeks turning in bounties to get the “Light in the Dark” bounty. Got bad juju, super good advice, and pocket infinity 5 times. I almost lost hope I was ever gonna get it and then a “Light in the Dark” (see what I did there hehe). I spent the day doing the bounty, (got my 500 kills in the crucible with word of crota, hide and seek, and my truth all void damage) and with the help of my buddy waited out the summoning pits strike. I love this gun and will only un-equip it when I need to use my truth. The sights are perfect with the green illumination, I love the way it lights up the targets you hit with a green flame, the bullets are actual spear bullets, and the magazine of 9 and reload are just right. Can’t wait to unlock the mark of the devour. And I did a little research behind the gun and it back story and previous owner Dredgen Yor legend made me fall in love with the gun even more. Now if Xur could sell the achlyophage symbiote that’d be greaaaaatttttt. (in office space voice)

  • Kenshiro Genjuro

    Just curious but does anyone happen to know if Thorn’s DoT is enough to stall Urzok’s shield regeneration? I hate that guy.