Decided to list out my normal build on Thorn.
Before I get started, let me emphasize that this is how I play Thorn. There may be other setups that are better suited for you but this setup has worked wonders for me!
I would also like to point a few things out before I start on her Helix tree. Despite what her character card says about here, Thorn is not a Sniper. You should not be playing her from ranged, taking shots at anyone from the longest range you can. While I say you should not do this, you should also know that this is a valid tactic depending on the situation.
Battleborn lists every Battleborn with 3 descriptive titles with one telling you their style of gameplay. Battleborn will tell you that Thorn is a sniper, but I would call her a Hybrid. She is Brawler at heart, but is not limited to ranging like other Brawlers. Thorn can engage any target from any distance, with close to medium being the most effective for damage, and medium to long range being effective for survivability. You need to weigh one play style against the other constantly, and switch it up depending on the situation.
Thorn should never stop moving, and I would suggest, never stop jumping. It is way easier to track movements when you are the one causing the changes, however when you are shooting a moving target, you should know it is difficult to track people when they can change directions at any time without your knowing. If you are jumping, you should be able to keep track of your targets and remain accurate, however your targets will constantly have to adjust their aim up and down, and left and right. If you build your Thorn int he same way as mine, you will be able to stay constantly moving at all times.
Now let’s get started with the Helix tree.
Helix 1: Swampfoot
Helix 2: Fell Wind
Helix 3: Burst Propulsion
Helix 4: Nockout
Helix 5: Hextension (normally)
Helix 6: Brutal Blight
Helix 7: Vaulting Hunter (normally)
Helix 8: Enduring Blight
Helix 9: Kreshek’s Rage
Helix 10: Earthrender (for now)
Now allow me to explain each skill and why I choose one over the other:
Helix 1: Swampfoot/Piercing Volley
I used to say Piercing Volley was the most useless skill because you used to get the same effect from the skill later on called Draw Strength, however I guess GBX saw my comments about how you could get this effect from Draw Strength cause upon release, it no longer effected Volley shots. If you are good with Volley’s and trust your shots to bounce around several times, this skill can put out a TON of hurt. But I recommend against it. Thorn only has one CC… and that is a Slow from Blight. This is absolutely amazing for any engagement. Slows keep manueverable classes from getting around quickly, allowing you to land more arrows in them in less time (cause let’s face it… it will be a once in a life time game when you get 100% bow accuracy,) Swampfoot is also excellent for Wave Clearing (killing minions). Wave Clearing is essential for Thorn, don’t let people get upset at you for focussing mobs early game, you need to level up.
Helix 2: Cursed Earth/Blight Brawler/Fell Wind
I gotta say, this choice is just too obvious… Fell Wind 100%. It is a waste to spend your Blight on getting easier Curse arrows. Blight does incredible amounts of damage (will probably get nerfed someday to be honest…) and has huge wave clearing potential. You should not be wasting it on making your arrows or quick melee do curses. Having Fell Wind is amazing when someone is chasing you and you don’t have the HP to safely engage them. Put it down under your feet and away you go! If someone continues to chase, they will be slowed and take an incredible hit to their HP since Blight is so strong.
Helix 3: Draw Strength/Burst Propulsion
I used to defend Draw Strength over Burst Propulsion like my life depended on it! However after giving Burst Propulsion a shot since they nerfed my Draw Strength effects, I would HIGHLY recommend Burst Propulsion instead. It allows for so much more mobility. Kelvin is looking at you with Sublimate? Jump and quick melee towards the ground, if he doesnt wait for you to fall back down, you should be good to go! Rath’s Ultimate is OP and you got Silenced? Jump, look at the ground, Quick Melee! Thorn is probably the only class that can get away from Raths Ult without the use of skills (especially when you get higher Jump). Draw Strength lets you shoot through friendlies… which is awesome but once you start learning to jump around all the time, you won’t normally be behind friendlies and there isn’t many occasions where you actually shoot two people at once (when you do you feel awesome tho… double headshots are great!)
Helix 4: Kreshek’s Judgement/Focused Volley/Nockout
I’ll go in order this time. Kreshek’s Judgement: This is great when your not lvl 15 with your Lore Challenges incomplete. Volley is great for putting an easy Curse effect down. Sometimes it is hard to land that Curse, but Volley can fix that. However if you already have a way to get easy Curses (like her Legendary gear) then this is now a useless skill.
Focused Volley: (I will be testing this more in the next few days. Going to leave my original comments on this skill for now, but due to @GatoDelFuego 's comment about this skill, I will probably be changing this.) This is actulaly a DPS loss. In comparison to Nockout, you will do less damage with this unless you land all three in a critical spot. The positives about this however, is that you have more range to fire from cause more damage with just 3 arrows. The negative? You can miss a lot easier… and missing with Volley is already easy on small targets.
Nockout: This is what I usually go for nowadays since I have her legendary gear. The two extra arrows give you more damage to put but you do need to be right in their faces. This skill is excellend for large targets like Montana or ISIC as you can put a nice 700+ damage dent in their HP early in the fight. Also if you do choose to make a Volley heavy build, and make it so volley pierces, you can bounce a lot more arrows around in small rooms and such.
Helix 5: Hextension/Fiendish Curse/Hexsanguination
Another obvious choice for me, Hextension. Why would you not choose more damage? I see Thorns who use Hexsanguination all the time and I just laugh… if you choose this then you are probably not very sure of yourself. This is great for added damage when you can’t land your hits consistently, but you lose out on a lot of potential. 10% blight damage and ultimate damage is a LOT. I would suggest Hextension. Fiendish Curse is good if there is a Kleese or annoying Reyna cause you can burn their health when they are overshielded or constantly fed shields. Thorn can get some insane Shield Pen if built for it. But I would still normally suggest Hextension.
Helix 6: Brutal Blight/Swift Volley
I used to take Swift Volley a lot because Volley was my go to for damage, however since expanding on the possibilities with Blight, I now take Brutal Blight. This skill combos extremely well with later Helix choices as well. However if you are the Volley kinda guy… then Swift Volley can dish out the more accurate and guarenteed damage.
Helix 7: Eagle Eye/Phasing Arrows/Vaulting Hunter
This one is is difficult in some enemy comps. Eagle eye is garbage… Thorn is plenty accurate enough and if you decide to get proficient with her, her legendary makes this useless as you will never not full draw… Full Draw also gives you 100% accuracy and the lowest Arrow Drop and fastest Arrow Speed. Phasing Arrows… this is another great skill for those peskey Reyna/Kleese teams. Built correctly, you can get as much as 85% or more Shield Pen as Thorn. That is a big ■■■■ You to Reyna and Kleese. Vaulting Hunter is just too good. Melee can no longer touch you, especially when combo’d with Burst Propulsion. Also Ranged will have a hard time hitting you with your constant movements. The only downside? Some people have played too much call of duty and a Marquis can 3 shot you while you flying through the air like a beautiful Butterfly. Still however, landing Crits is super easy when you are shooting down on people, only problem is, less area to hit… gotta be accurate to land those top down shots.
Helix 8: Enduring Blight/Distant Blight
THORN IS NOT A SNIPER! Not in the sense that you would call Marquis a Sniper at least. You should be up close, where your disadvantage of having a bow when others have guns doesn’t matter. Enduring Blight gives your Blight a LOT more damage potential, as well as locking down an area for even longer (cause no smart player will walk through blight… so you basically shut off that part of the map). Distant Blight is… rather useless… at least with how I play. If you are playing from range, you are doing Thorn wrong. You need to play medium ranges constantly harrassing your enemies and playing their weaknesses. I would not suggest this skill, even if it would be nice at times to be able to stay away and land a further blight, the 6 seconds is just too good to pass up.
Helix 9: Archer’s Boon/Kreshek’s Rage
Thorn does not need lifesteal. You are all about keeping away from damage with every trick possible. By the time you get to this skill you should have the mobility needed to avoid as much damage as possible Kreshek’s Rage however makes your Volleys kill people faster! And with Thorn, killing faster is the way to survive. It’s kill or be killed! Plus she already has health regen as your passive and you can easily just do a return or go to a Supply Station and do some long range fire while you wait for your HP to regen.
Helix 10: Wild Judgement/Trap Training/Earthrender
I am just waiting for the day, when GBX releases an indoor map filled with small rooms… oh man will that be day! Wild Judgement is excellent for small rooms like the halls on the side in Overgrowth (Incursion) but in the current map designs, is too situation to warrant taking, and even if we got small indoor rooms in the future, I would still suggest Earthrender. If you have been building a Blight build with your thorn, this skill will get you triple kills like no other! (serriously… 4/7 triple kills to date are from people running into this stuff when I didnt know they were there :3). A Ultimate Blight and a Blight put together is more than 400 damage per second if someone stands in both while cursed. This is amazing! A lvl 10 Thorn probably has the highest DPS in the game. A skilled Thorn is more deadly in any situation than a Spin to Win Rath at lvl 10. Blight and a lvl 10 ultimate with Earthrender can take out a Sentry’s shields and do a little HP damage all on it’s own with every Blight skill selected.
Gear: Thorn Legendary, Attack Speed Module, and Shield Pen or Skill Damage or Attack Damage. I take Shield Pen now because you never know when you might want to make a shield pen build. However the other two are excellent choices for putting out more DPS than a Shield Pen ever would without a Reyna/Kleese/Shepherd Bot shielding.