Holistic Thorn Guide – Battleborn

Holistic Thorn Guide - Battleborn
Holistic Thorn Guide - Battleborn

Overview

Thorn is something of a strange beast: because of how she’s implemented, she’s one of the few characters that plays entirely differently in PvP and PvE.

In PvE, Thorn plays as you would think a sniper would: extremely long range attacks, trying for crits, against targets that have no clue that you’re there because you’re so far away. Played like this, Thorn is one of the few characters that can easily kill extremely hard targets like Brutes, Bonecrushers, and Enforcers with little-to-no risk. You can also play her close-to-mid range in order to abuse the helices that allow her arrows to penetrate targets (allowing you to kill/damage multiple enemies with a single shot, if they’re lined up properly). In this way, Thorn can kill things at range almost at will, with her skills just supplementing the awesome performance you’ll get out of her basic attack.

In PvP, however, because the projectile speed and rate of fire of her basic attack are so slow (projectile speed is *extremely* slow for a long range weapon, such that you’ll pretty much never hit an enemy player at long range unless they’re standing still the entire time) and the range on her skills is mid-range, Thorn plays completely differently. Rather than playing like a classic sniper, taking pot shots at enemies from far away, Thorn ends up playing better as a mid-range combatant, focusing on skill damage rather than attack damage, since her skills are significantly more likely to actually hit players that run and jump around all the time. You probably won’t be going for player kills all the time (except for when you use her ult, which is excellent for taking out enemy Battleborn), but you’ll do awesome wave clear and function very well at skirmishing and harassing your opponents.

To further complicate things, Thorn is very different from other characters on the back end, as well. She doesn’t benefit from certain stats that virtually every other character does, so her gear options are surprisingly limited. For this reason, it’s unlikely that Thorn will want to use any other character’s loadout and it’s also quite unlikely that any other character would want to use hers (or, at the very least, would find it to be anywhere near optimal, even if it’s usable).

As with all Eldrid, Thorn doesn’t have a shield but makes up for this by having a small amount of natural regen. In general, this means that she’s pretty squishy but can recover from damage given enough time. The regen isn’t much and it’s very unlikely to save you in the middle of combat, but, if you stay at range and lob pot shots, you can recover while still contributing pretty well.

A term that I will use repeatedly over the course of this guide is “enfilade” (both “en-fill-aid” and “en-fill-odd” are proper pronunciation). To save you googling it, it is a French term used by militaries to refer to maneuvering yourself (or your opponents) such that they line up long ways, such that a piercing attack will hit all of them. Since Thorn can make all of her arrow attacks piercing through opponents via low level helices, this is a very important tactic to master. If you can master the art of enfilade, you can mow down hordes of opponents, especially on story missions like Renegade, Void’s Edge, and Saboteur, where there are sections where you’ve got bottlenecks and/or maneuvering space.

Index

Abilities

Kreshek:

Thorn’s basic attack.
When you click the attack, Thorn doesn’t fire: she draws her bow; when you let go, she unleashes the arrow. The longer you hold the button, the longer she charges it. The more you charge an arrow, the greater the velocity (you can still see it travel, however), the lesser the drop off (i.e. it will actually land closer to the reticle at long ranges), the greater the damage (a fully charged arrow will deal roughly 45-50% more damage than an arrow fired instantly), and, if it’s fully charged, it will apply the Cursed debuff to the target (which only matter to Thorn, but it is very important). You’ll know an attack is fully charged by the tendrils of green energy that surround the tip of the arrow (the reticle also changes slightly). In addition, shortly after fully charging, her bow and arrow will start trembling a bit; as far as I know, this has no effect on accuracy so don’t worry too much when it happens.Thorn’s alt-fire allows her to zoom in and aim down the sights of her bow, making it easier to hit targets at long range. You can enter or exit the zoom without affecting her current draw strength, which can be helping if you’re prepping an attack on the move.

Nature’s Curse:

Thorn’s passive.
When you hit a target with a fully charged arrow (some helices provide you with other sources as well), you place a unique debuff on the target that increases the damage the target takes from other fully charged arrows and Thorn’s skills by 25% for 8 seconds, by default. This additional damage is based off of the default damage of the attack, not off of the fully modified damage, and is considered to be skill damage rather than attack damage, regardless of the source. For example, if you would hit a target for 200 damage with fully charged arrow (pre-curse) without any gear or buffs, you would deal 250 damage (50 additional damage) with the following fully charged arrow (against the same cursed target); if you stacked up 25% attack damage through gear, you would deal 250 damage with the initial fully charged arrow (pre-curse) and 300 damage (still 50 additional damage) on the following fully charged arrow. Since skills are only affected by skill damage, you’ll always see a 25% increase on skill damage because the skill and her passive are augmented by all of the same sources.

Volley:

Skill 1.
Thorn quickly fires a handful of 5 arrows that are max velocity (it actually travels faster and has less fall off than her fully charged basic attack) and will richochet off of walls 2-3 times. The ricochet is unpredictable after the first, so I wouldn’t try and get a lot of “trick shots” by bouncing them off of walls but shooting the ground right beneath a target’s feet in order to get under a shield or target their lower extremities works very well. There are a number of helix augments for this ability and it is definitely a power house in PvE, since it can rapidly follow up a basic attack to dangerous effect (since the basic attack will curse and this will deal additional damage). In PvP, rapid and randomly moving players make it difficult to hit with this skill (the ricochet will help land some blows even if you miss), but it isn’t nearly as devastating there as it is in PvE.
It’s interesting to note that this skill can also crit. Aiming for crit shots is a very effective and powerful strategy, especially if you can get multiple arrows to crit. I wouldn’t bother in PvP because players move around too much and have tiny crit spots in comparison to NPCs, but it’s awesome in PvE.

Blight:

Skill 2.
Thorn creates a damage patch on the ground that lasts 4 seconds. The range on it is quite short, meaning that you’ll have to close to mid-range to affect enemies with it (works very well planting it under their feet), but the damage is truly impressive. Because it is a ground patch, it will even damage enemies that have shields (like Brutes or Boldur). The helices for this make it much more powerful, and this will be the bread and butter of your offensive strategy in PvP: it’s amazing wave clear and is fundamental to taking out players as well (due to helix augments).

Wrath of the Wild:

Ultimate.
Thorn spends a few seconds gathering her strength and then unleashes a slow moving and heavy projectile that detonates when it collides with anything, dealing a tremendous amount of damage. It deals the same damage to whatever (or whoever) it collides with as it does to the rest of the AoE so you just need to catch your intended target in the radius. Be warned, it’s slow to activate and enemies can avoid it by dodging if you’re not close enough. Combined with Nature’s Curse, this can absolutely ruin an opposing player’s day (if not more than one). In PvP, once you get it, you’ll be getting a lot more kills; in PvE, you’ll have a great way of taking out clusters of enemies (as opposed to lines of them).

Helices

Level 1: Brutal Blight v. Piercing Volley

Recommendation: Any
Before the Winter Update, this level was pretty solidly split between PvP and PvE. Now, it’s largely based upon personal preference. BB improves the damage dealt by Blight while PV will allow you to shoot through enemies with Volley.
In both PvP and PvE, both of these will improve your wave clear and damage capacity (BB moreso), though PV will dramatically improve the utility of Volley by allowing you to hit multiple targets and hit enemies that are hiding behind their allies.

Level 2: Cursed Earth v. The Wait Is Over v. Distant Blight

Recommendation: (PvP) Any; (PvE) The Wait Is Over or Distant Blight
In PvE, CE is basically worthless since you should be placing Blight under your enemy’s feet, where they will tend to stand inside it and happily take damage and die (also, you tend to not need to do rapid fire Curse applications). TWIO is better damage (*barely*; the final tick deals 200% additional damage, so it’s basically getting 3 ticks all at once) so, unless you’re feeling like you’re regularly out of reach of placing Blight in an optimal location, it’s the way to go.
In PvP, TWIO is a damage increase and a smidgen of burst damage so if you can manage to convince an enemy to stand in it when it goes off, it can pay off a bit (don’t plan on this; players tend to be smart enough to avoid the damage patch). CE will allow you to rapidly apply your curse to opponents, which is useful (and, in PvP, there’s a good chance some melee character will run up to you, allowing you to deal damage to them *and* get the buff). DB is the same utility as always.

Level 3: Draw Strength v. Burst Propulsion

Recommendation: (PvP) Any; (PvE) Draw Strength
In PvP, the ability to gtfo (and deal a *lot* more damage) with her quick melee is quite the boon. Of course, the ability to laugh away body blocking (like the Montana who stands up front to protect a pocket Miko) with your auto-attack is also quite valuable. Which is better depends upon the tactics and composition of the opposing party: if you keep getting shots against valuable targets blocked by massive hunks of meat, DS is the way to go, but if you keep having assassins get right up on you, you’ll definitely want BP.
In PvE, you don’t really need the emergency mobility provided by BP and the ability to mow down a line of NPCs when you set up enfilade is truly incredible. DS is a no brainer here.
(also, random comment: why is Draw Strength in the “curseweaver” column but Piercing Volley, at level 1, is in the “Huntress” column; they both do the same thing pretty much, so it’s strange that they’re in different columns, at least to me)

Level 4: Kreshek’s Judgment v. Splinter v. Nockout

Recommendation: (PvP) Kreshek’s Judgment; (PvE) Splinter or Nockout
Kreshek’s Judgment is recommended for PvP largely because it’s so hard to hit enemy players with a fully charged cursed arrow: Thorn’s basic attack is slow firing and moves slowly. Kreshek’s Judgment allows you to use Focused Volley (which fires extremely quickly with multiple projectiles that bounce around) as your most effective cursing tool.
For PvE, Nockout (note: this isn’t a spelling error; it’s a joke; “nocking” is the act of placing an arrow into a bow, ready to fire) is an extremely powerful improvement to Volley: 2 additional arrows is a 40% increase to damage (though it’s a wide spread so you need to be really close to see the damage increase). You don’t really need help cursing targets in PvE because enemies don’t have the good sense to not make it easy to kill them so making your Volley more lethal rather than making it help you become lethal is the goal.
Splinter is more of a wide AoE effect: whenever one of your initial Volley arrows hits a target, it will splinter into 2 arrows (each dealing 25% of the initial damage) and aim to strike a nearby enemy. It’s pseudo-smart aiming, though extremely unreliable in my experience. You can do some very interesting things when combined with Piercing Volley from level 1 (each pierce will generate a separate Splinter), but it’s extremely conditional: you need a lot of enemies well lined up to make it worthwhile.
In general, Nockout is more of a boss killer while Splinter is better for waveclear.

Level 5: Hextension v. Fiendish Curse v. Hexsanguination

Recommendation: (PvP) Hexsanguination; (PvE) Hextension
The choice here comes down to math. Hexsanuination deals 144 damage to cursed targets. If the others don’t contribute at least that much, they’re not worth it.
Hextension increases curse bonus damage by 10% and makes the curse last longer; since Hexsanguination provides us with a static value of what it’s worth. If you’re sure you can deal at least 1440 pre-curse damage to the target within 12 seconds, Hextension will deal more damage than Hexsanguination will. In PvP, it’s hard to deal that much with your Curse (and, unless it’s a very tanky character, it would probably kill them *anyways*), Hexsanguination tends to be better.
In PvE, on hard targets, you can very easily follow up a fully charged arrow with another one to a crit location (if not a Volley/Blight) to do a lot of damage very quickly; the target will die before Hexsanguination could deal its full DoT damage and/or you’re hitting it with a lot more than 1440 pre-curse damage over the next 12 seconds (Thorn can deal more than 1440 in a single crit). Either way, Hextension wins.
Fiendish Curse simply isn’t worth it because a vast majority of the time you’re going to break the target’s shield before you would kill them anyways. Curse damage is roughly 20% of your total damage. Unless the target has 4 times as much shield as hp, it’s not going to improve kill speed. Pretty much the only reason I’d take Fiendish Curse is if you really need to make sure you get a killing blow on a target that constantly refreshes their shields at an absurd rate (such as if they’re in Energy Rift Cluster; if this is true, why not just drop a Blight on the Rifts and destroy them?) or are at max shield but extremely low hp due to recharging their shields but not getting heals (at which point, having more damage from the other 2 options would have simply killed them; also, most experienced PvPers would have teleported back to base in order to heal in such a situation rather than returning with full shields and little hp). The default max shield is 300, so they’d need less than 60 hp to make this worth it.
Level 6: Swampfoot v. Swift Volley
Recommendation: (PvP) Swampfoot; (PvE) Swift Volley
In PvP, slows will allow you to more easily get follow up shots or escape and are *extremely valuable*. In PvE, not so much. Volley also tends to be a stronger actual *attack* in PvE so using it more often ends up being a significant DPS increase (especially against bosses).

Level 7: Eagle-Eye v. Phasing Arrows v. Vaulting Hunter

Recommendation: Vaulting Hunter
Thorn misses with attacks not because her arrow didn’t fly true but because it didn’t fly fast enough. Increasing the accuracy of an attack that’s already incredibly accurate doesn’t really do much (since you’re probably already hitting where you were aiming).
The Winter Update buff to Phasing Arrows actually makes it reasonably tempting; *however*, it’s still pretty bad when you consider that Thorn does most of her damage/kills in PvP via her skills rather than through her basic attack. If you’re extremely good with her basic attack, this can be a viable choice: 75% shield pen means that, if someone has a full shield (300), this will allow you to kill them faster if they have less than 1200 hp (which isn’t going to be true for most characters late game unless they’re coming back to the fight injured, which is possible); in PvE, not enough enemies even have shields to justify it.
Vaulting Hunter, however, is both fun and useful. In PvE, it allows you to get to ledges and secret chests more easily/earlier than you’re supposed to. It can also allow you to go right over an enemy’s head to get somewhere. In PvP, it provides mobility to get to nice ledges but also makes you harder to hit, seeing as you’re covering a lot more distance in the air. You can also use it to prepare a nice aerial shot on a target (and it’s pretty much necessary for Thorn’s aerial Volley kill lore, since it increases her air time on every jump).

Level 8: Enduring Blight v. Fell Wind

Recommendation: Enduring Blight
FW is only good in PvP as an escape tool when you are pinned by a melee combatant. Of course, if you’re worried about this Burst Propulsion at level 3 will do a much better job (hence why I don’t recommend it). In PvE, FW is basically worthless, especially compared to the 75% increase in base damage for Blight (keep in mind, this will also delay the damage from TWIO if you took it at level 2.
Enduring Blight is generally just better: in PvP, it dramatically improves your wave clear and the utility of the skill (slow, cursed arrows); in PvE, it basically translates into “even more damage”.

Level 9: Archer’s Boon v. Kreshek’s Rage

Recommendation: Any
Archer’s Boon was changed in the Winter Update to provide a static 48 health per hit with a Volley arrow (Splinter arrows don’t seem to count). Ricochets count and, If you took Piercing Volley, if you hit multiple targets with a single arrow, you’ll get healed multiple times. Of course, if you hit a single target with multiple arrows, you’ll also get healed multiple times.
This choice really comes down to whether you need a good source of self-healing: if you do, Archer’s Boon; if you don’t, Kreshek’s Rage.

Level 10: Wild Judgment v. Trap Training v. Earthrender

Recommendation: Earthrender
Regardless of mode, Earthrender is amazing: Blight does amazing damage in both modes and is the crux of Thorn’s kit in PvP. Getting a free bonus Blight right under someone’s feet right after you ult them is amazing (since they’re separate patches, they would both deal damage) and can give you a kill very easily.
Wild Judgment and Trap Training are both just not useful. The bounce isn’t reliable or predictable and, afaik, only bounces when it hits terrain (it will simply detonate when it hits a target), so you’re not even going to see the full 5 bounces. Trap Training only gives you 10 seconds before it goes off and, unless you’ve got someone ignoring you while simultaneously chasing you without you being able to get a reliable shot on them, it’s just going to be wasted.

Gear Stats

Thorn is a damage powerhouse but is very squishy. You can give her absolutely incredible damage with a pure offensive loadout, trusting to her incredible range and mobility to keep her alive. Conversely, you can move for a more durable loadout to avoid death since she does pack an impressive offensive kit already. I’ll go over all stats here, based on how I personally categorize them, and provide a priority list for each category.

Offensive

(Attack Damage>Critical Damage>Skill Damage>Cooldown>Reload=Attack Speed>Shield Penetration>Recoil)
For PvE, a vast majority of Thorn’s damage is going to be coming from her basic attack. For PvP, swap the placement of Attack Damage and Skill Damage.
Since she’s a highly accurate sniper and one of her skills can crit (and is very good at scoring crits), Critical Damage is extremely good. Just make sure you know where to aim to get those crits or else you’re wasting it.
Blight, Volley, and WotW are all extremely high damage attacks. Skill Damage is amazing.
Thorn has powerful skills but they’re powerful because they deal damage. As such, Skill Damage provides more since the values are larger. Still, Cooldown is a useful stat.
Attack Speed is almost always an extremely good stat and Reload tends to either be useless (for characters that don’t reload) or virtually necessary (for those that do), but Thorn is strange. Attack Speed doesn’t actually improve Thorn’s rate of fire; it improves the charge speed of her arrows. Since she’s a precision shooter and you’ll often be holding an arrow at full charge to line it up correctly, that’s not really doing much. Reload does actually reduce the time it takes to do a quick shot with her bow; however, this doesn’t really do much because so much of Thorn’s damage is loaded on her fully charged arrows. As such, both of these are basically junk stats.
Shield Pen gets the standard disclaimer: it’s only useful in PvP because most enemies in PvE don’t have shields (and no bosses have them; Rendain’s shield doesn’t care about shield pen).
Recoil is at the bottom because Thorn doesn’t have recoil on her shots (she technically *might*, but her RoF is so low that she recovers before it’s even possible to take another shot).

Defensive

(Max Health<Max Shield<Health Regen<Healing Received=Damage Reduction<Shield Recharge=Shield Regen<CC duration):
Max health is the best of Thorn’s defensive stats because it has the most impact on her TTK. Max shield is a close second and has its advantages and disadvantages: while shield is up, you cannot be crit (though you can’t really stack enough shield to make it withstand more than a couple blows); max shield values are way lower than max health values so they don’t add to TTK as much and the fact that they regenerate is largely irrelevant due to Thorn’s natural regen and late game life steal.
Even though Thorn has natural Health Regen, more from gear is still useful because her natural regen is a minute 7 hp/sec. Gear is going to provide her with a much more tangible quantity.
Healing received is worse than true TTK improvements because it only works when she’s being healed by other people. It doesn’t affect her regen or life steal. It’s worthless without a healer ally.
For Damage Reduction, Thorn just doesn’t have the necessary hp+shield to really make it worth something. Even with regen and healing factored in, she’s not going to have enough to get it anywhere *near* truly useful levels.
Shield recharge and regen are only useful to Thorn if she’s got other gear with max shield on it. You’ve pretty much got to be building for shield for it to be useful, it’s more of a gimmick stat to take. If you don’t have shield, these are complete and total junk stats that you can ignore.
CC duration is functionally worthless. CCs don’t last that long so the minute values of CC duration on gear basically mean nothing.

Mobility

(Move speed>Sprint speed>CC duration):
Move speed is useful in combat and out of combat and is increased by sprint speed. Sprint speed is only really useful outside of combat. CC duration reduces the duration of slows and stuns but is still absolutely terrible.

Economy

(Shards>Buildable):
Getting shards helps you buy gear as well as construct buildables. Buildable reduction makes them way cheaper, however. Something to consider is that I only find these stats remotely useful in PvP. PvE gives you shards like candy; unless you’ve got someone who bogarts all of the shards, every mission should provide a surplus of shards even if you have a triple legendary loadout (like I do for pretty much everyone). In PvP, however, these are absolutely amazing and can actually be the foundation of an effective strategy.

Legendaries

These are some specific legendaries to keep in mind for Thorn.

Gloves (attack damage):

Pacifier (algorithm), Symbiotic Gauntlet (sentinel)
Attack damage is Thorn’s best offensive stat. Both of these also contribute to your survivability with her best defensive stats. SG is better offensively since Thorn has natural regen and can get a good bit of life steal in the late game, but Pacifier gives a nice little attack damage debuff whenever she damages an enemy, which can be quite useful.
Vow of Vengeance should probably be mentioned because it’s one of the most popular legendaries out there. Do not use it on Thorn. The stacks only apply with her quick melee and the stacks fall off very quickly (a matter of seconds). VoV is for melee, which Thorn is not.

Watches (cooldown):

Aria’s Encore (thrall ops)
Aria’s Encore can provide the most skill damage of any item in the game, but it’s only useful in Ops and only when you’ve got a lot of ops points. It’s worthless in PvP and story PvE, but it’s absolutely devastating in Ops; the primary stat is basically an afterthought.

Goggles (crit damage):

 

Vigilant Power Scouter (sentinel), Poor “M-Pulse” Controller (algorithm)
VPS gives you a lot of hp in addition to that crit damage and gives you a big bonus to your next attack’s damage when you do crit. If you chain crits, it’s a truly impressive increase to damage. PMC gives you move speed (nice but not stellar) and turns kills into explosions. It’s amusing but not that effective since the explosion is pretty mediocre. Eye of the Storm provides crit damage in addition to some regen as well as move speed. None of them are stellar stats but the ability to get all 3 of them on a single piece of gear makes it potentially worthwhile.

Injectors (health regen):

Oath of the Sustained (renegade), Absentia Vitae (eldrid)
OotS is the only legendary injector that I would bother with, it provides a very useful secondary (attack damage) and allows Thorn to heal her allies (but not herself) when she throws out the huge sums of damage that she’s capable of. AV is a pretty huge increase to survivability (especially since it’s one of the only 2 items in the game with both hp and regen on it), but the legendary effect is highly questionable: you need to be on an Eldrid team that keeps having people die to be useful, and, if someone on your team is dying over and over, it’s not really a good sign (though 200 max hp and 200 additional hp over 20 secs might be enough to keep you from dying after a friend does).

Armor (max hp):

Vigilance Link (sentinel), Vampiric Vestment (jennerit), Pain-2-Gain Re-Knitter (upr), Squad Goals BDU (mike ops)
Vigilance Link gives you 2 excellent survivability stats and makes your team more durable as well. Excellent for team players and more support minded people. Vampiric vestments will give you hp, more hp when you kill things, and more attack damage so that it’s easier to kill things. However, because you lose them when you die, I wouldn’t recommend VV for PvP since dying is relatively common (and Alani is a popular focus target). Since Thorn doesn’t have a shield, P2G is probably the best single survivablity item (if you’re not doing ops) especially after you hit level 9 and can actually heal yourself reasonably well: you’ll be able to double the hp contribution easier than with VV and it brings some DR with it to boot. If you’re running ops, SG BDU is better because it provides more hp than P2G with the exact same DR contributions: if you’ve got at least 56 ops points, SG BDU is better than P2G.

Batteries (max shield):

Modernista (saboteur), Voxis Core (jennerit), SKNK-WRK Decoherence Refractor (montana ops)
Modernista is a good anti-ranged shield with a decent secondary stat. A good way to discourage snipers in PvP since you can avoid the first crit and hurt them in the process. Voxis Core is amazing for dealing skill damage since it makes AoEs deal 15% more damage, in effect, and skill damage is a secondary stat. An up close Volley with a Voxis Core can very easily take out enemies you didn’t even hit (because Volley is really fond of massive overkill).
While DR isn’t a particularly impressive stat for Thorn, SKNK provides the most DR possible on any single item (19.2%) if you’re running for 100 ops points, which definitely makes it a good choice if you’re looking to bolster your survivability and already have a powerful +hp item: 19.2% DR is a 23% increase in max hp, which means that it’ll provide more survivability than anything except for a double stat max hp item.

Boots (move speed):

Trail Blazers (rogue)
Normally, I wouldn’t recommend these, but Thorn is a highly mobile character with very low RoF and extremely high damage per attack. These boots will make you much harder to catch and, if you take a little jog between each shot (such as if you are running to another firing position), you’ll get a nice damage boost too.

Spikes (shield penetration):

Bunker Buster (algorithm)
Normally, I wouldn’t recommend shield penetration gear but Bunker Buster turns 65% of your Shield Pen into bonus damage against shields. With the shield pen helices that Thorn can get, you can melt shields incredibly quickly. It’s not particularly effective in general, but it makes a very effective gimmick anti-shield build, especially if you take Phasing Arrows at level 7.

Pins (skill damage):

Shield Web Interdictor (algorithm), Lorrian Skill Spike (archive), Bola’s Target Finder (experiment), Aelfrin Memory Band (lore)
In most cases, Bola’s Target Finder is the be-all end-all of skill damage gear. For Thorn, it’s amazing but not the only thing you want to consider, especially in PvP. Bola’s gives a basically worthless secondary stat but increases damage the target takes after skill damage, which stacks nicely with curse and makes Blight and WotW even doom-ier. Shield Web Interdictor will give Thorn a much more useful secondary stat (especially in PvP, when crits are a concern) and help Thorn with shielded enemies even if she misses a few shots (she’s got terrible rate of fire, so she can’t really plink at an enemy’s shield over and over to keep it from recharging). While the damage multiplier for Lorrian Skill Spike was lowered from 50% to 30% in the Winter Update, the proc chance was increased from 7% to 35% making the proc less deadly but *significantly* more reliable; LLS is here because Thorn’s skills are extremely high damage. If you get the proc on WotW, *anyone* is going to notice it and wonder what truck hit them, especially on a cursed target.
AMB (her lore legendary) provides sub-max skill damage and health regen, which makes it worse than Codex Fragment (which provides more skill damage and a better survivability stat), and the effect’s major benefit is that all of your basic attacks can curse targets. It still needs to be fully charged to gain curse damage and still deals less damage if it’s not fully charged, so it really just makes applying curses with your basic attack easier. Not all that useful, honestly, given Thorn’s low rate of fire.

Non-Legendary Gear

Since legendaries generally require extensive PvE to acquire (even the loot pack legendaries are easier to get via PvE due to the ease at acquiring commander packs via the ops), most PvP players won’t have ready access to many of them. Of course, because they require so many shards to activate, many PvPers don’t bother using them in the first place (they’d rather activate cheaper gear and use spare shards on buildables). It should also be mentioned than many newbies won’t have ready access to a full spread of gear either so this provides them some stuff to look out for.

Keep in mind that all of these items can be acquired from Core loot packs; each item also has a relevant faction listed; if you’re looking for a specific item, your best bet is to open faction or commander packs of that type so that the loot table is smaller.

This list will not be comprehensive. I’m only mentioning those items that I feel are most relevant/important. I’ll also be labeling them based upon faction, rarity, and if you want the version with a penalty if possible (items with penalties are cheaper to activate; in general, only use gear with a penalty that doesn’t affect your character since it’s basically a free cost reduction).

Gloves (attack damage):

LLC (epic), Eldrid (all, penalized), Rogue (rare)
First and foremost, the Eldrid gloves are all awesome because max hp is absolutely amazing and the conditional effect on the rare and uncommon versions are extremely easy to activate. Thorn doesn’t have a shield naturally so reducing her max shield means nothing to her.
The LLC epic glove is good because it provides shield (and with it a modicum of crit resistance) though the other LLC gloves aren’t worth it because of bad conditional requirements.
The Rogue rare glove is only if you are *extremely* good about getting crits with Thorn. Do *not* use the penalty because Thorn doesn’t have the hp to sacrifice.

Wrenches (buildable cost):

Jennerit (common, penalized), Rogue (common, penalized)
Excellent for PvP building loadouts, these free wrenches penalize Thorn the least (Thorn’s max hp is low enough that big heals are going to be wasted on her as overheal anyways; -reload affects her the least by reducing her RoF by a tiny bit). The higher rarity wrenches tend to not be worth it because you’re spending shards to save the same amount on later purchases.

Goggles (crit damage):

LLC (epic), Eldrid (all, penalized), Rogue (rare)
The exact same stuff here as with the gloves, with a different primary stat. Same rules apply, though these tend to be worse because, unless a majority of your attacks are crits (pretty much never happens in PvP), attack damage will provide more damage outright.

Armor (max hp):

Eldrid (rare, penalized)
If you want max hp, this is what you want. You may be tempted to consider the LLC variant because Thorn doesn’t have a shield but the conditional there doesn’t work with the Eldrid. You need to have a shield before it can be considered depleted so the LLC “while shield is depleted” triggers never function for Thorn.

Shard Gen (free shards):

Jennerit (common, penalized), Rogue (common, penalized)
Virtually required for most PvP loadouts, these penalize Thorn the least (Thorn’s only healing is from her level 9 helix Archer’s Boon; -reload reduces her RoF by a tiny bit). The higher rarity shard gens tend to not be worth it because you’re having to wait to activate it before starting to generate shards, effectively doubling the cost.

Pins (skill damage):

LLC (epic), Eldrid (all, penalized), Rogue (rare)
The exact same stuff here as with the gloves and goggles, with a different primary stat. Same rules apply.

Loadouts

General PvE:

Bola’s Target Finder, Symbiotic Gauntlet, Vigilant Power Scouter
SG and VPS give you a lot of hp and make your basic attack truly terrifying; VPS and Bola’s make Volley devastating, and Bola’s will make your Blight patch melt anything that’s stupid enough to stand still in it. You won’t have much in the way of damage recovery until you hit level 9, at which point, with Volley providing you with healing, you’ll be set.

Pure Basic Attack PvE:

Oath of the Sustained, Symbiotic Gauntlet, Vigilant Power Scouter
Just like the previous loadout except you don’t really care about skill damage. OotS gives you additional attack damage and beefs up your health regen since you probably don’t want to wait for level 9 for life steal. You’ll heal your allies too, which can be pretty impressive when you’re piercing shots through numerous enemies. If you’re running solo, use an epic Jennerit injector (since it provides the same stats for almost half the price because it does without the useless legendary effect).

Pure Skill Damage PvE:

Bola’s Target Finder, Voxis Core, Leechsteel Brooch (renegade)
Normally useless for Thorn because the main stat is meh and it triggers only off of skill damage, Leechsteel Brooch is all the regen you need with this much skill damage. Bola’s and Voxis Core will make your skills do incredible damage, especially Volleys to the face. If you want to push it a bit more, you could go with a Firmware Update to use your skills more often, but it’s somewhat questionable since Thorn isn’t *that* skill spammy thanks to long CDs. If you’re doing ops, replace Leechsteel Brooch with Aria’s Encore.

Mike Operations:

Sketchy “Easy Money” (-heal power), Symbiotic Gauntlet, one of (Vigilant Power Scouter, Bola’s Target Finder)
Free shard extractor allows you to afford the other 2 legendaries: SG is just awesome damage and great survivability, the choice of the other two is between amazing skill damage and better crits (and some more hp).

Legendary PvP:

Sketchy “Easy Money” (-heal power), Lorrian Skill Spike, Voxis Core
Free shard extractor allows you to afford the other 2 legendaries, which make your skills especially devastating. Once you hit level 5, your ult is going to be the thing of nightmares when LSS procs (especially if there are multiple enemies caught in it).

Fast Leveling PvP:

Sketchy “Easy Money” (-heal power), Erratic Tempestian Credstick (-reload) or Janked “Screwdriver” (-healing received), one of (Lorrian Skill Spike or Bola’s Target Finder)
Build as much as possible to get easy xp and level up as quickly as possible. Make sure you stick around the fights as well so that you’re not sacrificing minion xp for build xp. Get the legendary as soon as you hit level 5 and can use your ult, which is what you’re trying to get ASAP: curse a target with a Volley and then drop the Wrath bomb.

Cheap and Functional PvP:

Drained Survivor’s Eldrid Bio-Weave (-shield), Antiquated Stout Ekkuni Wristguard (-shield), Antiquated Stout Golemic Sigil (-shield)
Since there aren’t any legendaries, you don’t really need a shard generator; the entire loadout only costs 1470 shards to activate (less than a single legendary item, in fact). You’ll get a *lot* of hp (910), almost doubling your total hp as well as a fair amount of skill damage and attack damage. Be careful not to die, however, because the condition on all 3 pieces of gear is remaining alive for 3 minutes straight (it shouldn’t be too hard with all of the +hp you’re getting). If you want to avoid that risk, you can go with the epic versions of the pin and glove (increases the activation cost by 336 each), but you can’t do it with the chest piece (since the epic version gets diff stats instead of doubling up on max hp).

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