Hey fellow badasses! My name is Twixled, and I am part of the professional Battleborn team Salt Command! I’ve played a lot of Battleborn, and a vast majority of it was spent playing Thorn. I have had tremendous success with her in game, running into very few issues with her gameplay and potential counter play. Unfortunately, I have not run into many Thorns on my ventures that have left a favorable impression on me. My goal here is to provide my readers with a deeper understanding of Thorn by explaining her strengths, weaknesses, and her basic inner workings. In other words, I’m not going to be demanding you play her a certain way (though I might be telling you how I play her), but I will explain her options for you.
Warning. This is kind of a wall - feel free to skip about, or stick around for the whole thing.
Thorn is your sort of obligatory archer in this MOBA-esque fps. That being said, you have to play her like she has a bow in her hands. She does not have a sniper rifle, nor does she possess a machine gun. Though, she does have sniping capabilities, I do believe they are best used when enemies are attempting to get away, or if you can easily predict their movement. Thorn wields a bow, which means she can achieve max damage at a close-ish to medium, or even a semi-long range.
- High Burst Damage.
- Unparalled overall mobility.
- Good wave clear.
- Can be incredibly hard to kill if you couple her mobility with her health regen.
- Good matchup spread.
- Little Counter Play
- High Skill Cap (Though some might consider this a pro).
- If you do get CC’d it really hurts.
- Can be reliant on cool downs.
- Some enemies are just really, really annoying to hit.
Her talent is Eldrid Vitality. Like all Eldrid, Thorn caries no shield, but she does have high passive health regeneration. After playing Thorn for a while, I hate playing non-eldrid characters. The high health regen is much more favorable than a shield and little or no health regen. Shields only recharge when you don’t take damage for a while, and even though they recharge faster than thorn heals, it’s very unlikely you will get it to recharge during combat unless you have abilities that let it. A shield and low health regen will basically give you a set amount of damage you can take in a span of dying or visiting a health station, and although that can protect you from some burst, what do you do when you’re low health? You still can’t fight, because at that point, you only have your shield, which can be popped. You either have to back, or go sit at the healing station – both of which are a waste of time. With higher health regen, you can stay in fights longer, because even when you are taking damage, you are still regenerating health! It’s basically a form of damage mitigation against constant damage, however it does make you susceptible to burst because of your lower health pool. Luckily, Thorn has kickass mobility to dodge enemy abilities with, and minimize damage taken – making her health regen especially effective. Her health regen also allows her to stay in the game for extended periods of time without having to ever visit base to get full health again. Instead of backing, you can go grab shards, or do something else productive outside of battle while your health regenerates.
Thorns first ability is Volley. Volley fires 5 arrows in a horizontal line that each deal 61 (305 total damage) damage that also ricochet off of world terrain. This move is Thorns basic burst, and is very strong, especially when upgraded through the helix. When used optimally, you’ll be disgusted at how fast you can murder an enemy. No doubt, if you hit somebody point blank with these, you’ve just dealt a ton of damage. Volley has a relatively low cool down, and can be shortened further in Thorns helix. I like to focus on volley with my helix, but you should look at your team comp to decide what’s best for that game.
Blight is Thorns second ability. She summons a field of corruption for 6 seconds, which deals 60 damage to enemies in the field every .5 seconds (Really love the half second ticking). Blight is a very strong spell for controlling the map, and locking off areas. It can become extremely versatile through Thorns helix if you like, and perform all kinds of functions. It’s obviously not a burst move like volley, but it has pretty high sustained damage if you can keep your enemy in it. Does 720 total damage if your enemy sits in it for the whole 6 seconds.
Thorn’s ultimate is Wrath of the Wild. After a brief charging period, she throws an energy bomb (Insert DBZ reference here), that explodes, dealing 500 damage and knocking enemies back. Oh boy. This ultimate is probably one of the most bursty ultimates in the game, only rivaled by Benedict’s and Orendi’s. Not only does this baby do heaps of damage, but it’s a real surprise to someone when they’re at half health and they get destroyed by this thing. It’s amazing, and beautiful, and everything I could ever want in a move. Hit someone with this baby, and they’ll know because they will either be dead, or about to be dead. Use this move when it’s convenient for you. It has roughly a 60 second cooldown, so try not to get caught in situations where you need it when you don’t have it, but don’t let it just sit there unused either.
Thorns passive is Natures Curse. Enemies hit with a charged arrow are cursed for 8 seconds. Skills and charged arrows deal 25% additional damage to cursed targets. A lot of people seem really iffy about this one. Some people prefer rapid firing arrows, because if you do fully charge an arrow to curse and miss, you missed out on 2-3 rapid fire arrows that could have hit. However, if you do hit your curse and fire off your spells, you’re going to far surpass the dps of rapid firing and non-cursed abilities. The damage buff is VERY noticeable. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s quite worth it to keep fully charging arrows on a cursed target unless you want to refresh the curse. I haven’t done extensive testing, but I think the damage of spamming arrows on a cursed target, and shooting a cursed target for the 25% damage buff is about the same. Use Curse if you can get it without much trouble, but if it’s too tough to hit, feel free to say f**k it.
Mobility in Battleborn
I want to set aside a section talking about mobility, and why I think it’s the most key thing in the game. You don’t have to agree, but I want to make a case for it because I highly prefer mobility in my helix, where others prefer utility. It’s all playstyle, so do what you feel fits you, but still hear me out.
As I stated at the beginning of the guide, Battleborn is a MOBA-esque fps. All damage comes from aiming your primary weapon and abilities – no matter who you’re playing. Battleborn is also on a 3 Dimensional plane, meaning you can do more than just strafe to avoid things. You can jump, hide behind walls, come at your enemy from above where they might not see you, and even hide behind minions/allied heroes. So in this game of skill shots, survival means avoiding things. Thorn isn’t a tank, and if you’re sitting still, you’re going to die. Yes, you can skip out on Thorn’s mobility if you feel like you don’t need it, but if you’re going against a team that actually has thumbs, you’re going to want it. I’m not saying that if you don’t take her mobility, you’re doomed to sit still and die, because you can still of course jump and run around trying to kite. I’m just saying your kiting will be much less effective, but if you’re having a game where you don’t need to kite, then feel free to go for whatever else. Just keep in mind positioning is important for survival.
A lot of characters have some kind of mobility augment or ability to either initiate or make a hasty retreat – as they should. Thorn’s mobility is different though. She’s not really an initiator, so her engaging mobility is sub-par. Her retreat potential is pretty high, but that’s not what I’m getting at. She has something that only a few other character have - passive mobility. Mobility that can be taken advantage of anywhere on the map and at any time you please for whatever purpose, and it has no real cooldown. Characters like Mellka and Caldarius have their lunges that can be used as an initiate or retreat, but those also take up a skill slot. You could argue that those dashes still are passive mobility, but the difference is most of Thorn’s mobility through her helix is innate – no action skill required. You can dodge all kinds of abilities and take a bunch of shortcuts on the map without always using an ability, which to me sounds tremendously valuable.
Mobility is really, really good – I promise you. It often lets you take fights that you don’t even want, and turn them to your advantage. Even if you don’t take her mobility skills, just please don’t stand still. It’s not required, and it’s not necessary every game, but neither are her utility skills. Keep in mind every time you die, you probably could have survived if you had the mobility to reposition yourself.
Blight Vs. Volley
Before we get into Thorn’s helix, I think we should talk about which ability you might want to focus on for your helix and why. Blight is a ground AoE abilitly with a stationary dot, where enemies are only affected by it when they stand in it. Volley is an AoE burst ability, that can also do DoT damage if you pair it with Kreshek’s Revenge and Hexsanguination. It’s no secret that Blight has a higher dps potential, but neither is it a secret that Blight can easily be avoided with simple movement, and yes, enemies can still get out of it when slowed. Volley only requires the person using it to land hits, which can be easy at times and not so at other times.
When playing on a map with a lot of choke points, Blight certainly can be invaluable. It’ll damage enemies, and also prevent enemy heroes from going whatever way because they don’t want to step foot in it. It doesn’t matter how much you build Blight, enemies can’t tell the difference. They’re going to be scared of it no matter what Helix you’ve built, and they’ll avoid it. If you’re playing against enemies that are being pretty dumb, and will stand in your Blight, then by all means, focus heavily on Blight, and you can watch your enemies burn alive. The only sure way to catch an enemy in your Blight for a high duration is to pressure them into a retreat, and put it in their path.
A lot of people really favor upgrading Blight because of wave clear. I’m here to argue that Blight is already great on its own for wave clearing, and by upgrading Blight for wave clear, you’re losing potential kill power from Volley. Minions will already sit in your Blight, as if they enjoy the burning sensation.
With Blight, you’re relying on your enemy’s stupidity to sit in it and take damage. The sad part is, this works roughly 90% of the time – people will sit in Blight or follow you around in it without realizing that they’re taking damage. Smart enemies will take the shortest route possible out, even if it means retreating. Volley gives you more control over your damage, putting all of it on your ability to hit a skill shot.
Swampfoot Vs. Piercing Volley
Swampfoot slows enemies damaged by blight, and is Thorn’s only slow. I think it’s best used when on a team where your friends can follow up. It’s still good solo, but it’s all up to you to take advantage of it. It really shines when there are choke points like there are on Echelon – like most Blight builds. This helix option is also good at stopping minions that have nothing else to stop them.
Piercing Volley makes your Volley arrows go through enemies. Keep in mind that your volley arrows also ricochet, meaning if lined up correctly, *you can hit a target multiple times with your volley arrows. I have a clip of this I might provide later where I hit an Orendi with Volley and the ricochet came back to get the kill. Piercing Volley also helps Thorns wave clear. With Volley, you can aim at the smaller minions feet to get a double hit as the arrows ricochet inside of them, and the arrows will bounce up to hit the big minion. This will clear most of the wave without you having to use Blight.
Piercing Volley really does add to waveclear and reduce your dependence on Blight, so if Blight is on cooldown, you can still do something about minions charging your objective. Keep in mind, an enemy can get out of Blight, but only you can miss a Volley. Piercing Volley will pair really well with whatever you choose at level 4. Both Kreshek’s Judgement and Nockout go really well with Piercing Volley and wave clear. While Focused Volley will pair with Piercing Volley for different reasons like collaterals and more deadly double hits. Swampfoot will be really nice later when paired with Distant Blight. I think both of these options are fun to use, but for competitive purposes, Swampfoot outclasses Piercing Volley.
Cursed Earth Vs. Fell Wind… and Blight Brawler
This one is definitely a playstyle choice.
Cursed Earth makes Thorns arrows apply curse if Thorn is standing in her blight. I feel like this option is pretty poor, because the only viable time I can think to use this is when enemies are out of range of blight. But at that point, you’d be charging shots anyways. I think relying on skills to apply curse are a waste because you’re missing out on so,e damage. The whole point of cursing an enemy is to destroy them with your abilities afterwards. You can still use this ability if you play at a closer range in the scenario if your opponent is running away and you want to curse them for the DoT for the kill. I don’t like being confined to my Blight as Thorn, and I never actually do take this option.
Fell Wind gives Thorn a 30% move speed buff for a short time (3 seconds?) whenever she touches blight. This is the start of Thorns crazy mobility, and could even be her best mobility choice - and you get it super early at level 2. Thorn already has what might be the fastest base move speed, and 30% is a lot. With this baby, you’ll zoom around the map to wherever you want, in combat, out of combat, whatever. Thorn is really hard to catch with this helix.
Blight Brawler lets your melee attacks apply curse to enemies when you’re standing in Blight. This choice is pretty bad and sort of unviable. Even if you play devil’s advocate here, you’ll be sad. Why would you want to knock enemies out of your blight to Curse them, where they no longer take damage from your blight? Maybe if it made your melee attacks for the next few seconds apply Curse, it could work.
I always take Fell Wind here because I tend to play super aggressive. It also makes shard collecting less of a chore when you’re going sonic speed.
Draw Strength Vs. Burst Propulsion
Draw Strength is a very interesting helix option, letting you shoot through enemies. It’s alright, and no it does not affect volley. On the other hand, we have Burst Propulsion. This augments your melee, pushing you away from whatever direction you melee, including up and down. Why would you want to melee yourself down? I’ll get to that later. Point is, this is basically a second jump. Meaning on maps like Paradise with lots of terrain that you would normally have to go around, you can now just jump on top of. At this point, you can basically access anywhere a Benedict can. This is a really solid option if you want some extra mobility or if you’re getting close in a lot by enemy melee, you can knock them away while also putting more distance between you by moving yourself. If the enemy has knock ups, you can escape by using Burst Propulsion.
Draw Strength really has the same strong points as Piercing Volley. You can shoot through body blockers, and even hit two enemies at once, but there is no ricochet – so no crazy double hit burst. I feel like you can be more aggressive with Burst Propulsion because you have a whole other plane of mobility to work with, getting you out of sticky situations you might not have been able to get out of before. You can still be aggressive with Draw Strength, but you just can’t get yourself in as tight of a spot. Though, you might not even have to. Burst Propulsion can also give you some mad, badass jukes because you can change direction at any point, even in the air. You can always reach new heights (literally) by jumping onto/over ledges that you couldn’t before. The choice really should depend on the enemy team and how much CC they have - and how much mobility you feel like you want. I typically default to Burst Propulsion unless I see a good time to take Draw Strength, like against an enemy Toby.
Kreshek’s Judgement Vs. Nockout Vs. Focused Volley
Kreshek’s Judgement makes your volley arrows apply curse. I’m not going to say this is one is bad, because if you want to curse multiple targets, it can certainly by viable. But like I said earlier about Cursed Earth, I feel like using an ability to curse an enemy is a waste. Especially if that ability is your burst. However, if you pair this with Hexsanguination at level 5, you can get some solid kills with the bleed.
Nockout increases your arrow volley from 5 arrows to 7. Increasing your damage by 122 if you hit all arrows when they each deal 61 damage. However, it’s also harder to hit all of your arrows on a single target because they are fired in a wider arc. Still a dps increase, and overall a good choice if you also want some waveclear. It’s not too hard to go point blank on big targets like Isic, Montana, Boldur, Toby… Miko’s head.
Focused Volley gives you 3 arrows that each deal +66% increased damage. Meaning each arrow does 101.26 damage, putting your volley damage at 304 (303.78 if you don’t like to round)– just 1 damage point under the 5 arrow volley. However, these arrows are shot in really no arc and just go straight. Even though it’s not a number increase, you can still do some big damage because it’s easy to hit all of them. To do this kind of damage with a 5 or 7 volley, you have to hit 5 arrows. The 7 arrow volley is only a dps increase if you hit 6 or more of the arrows. Meaning, theoretically – Focused Volley will give you the most damage in most situations. However, you do have to be precise with it, as it’s not as easy to hit as the 5 and 7 arc volleys.
I really like all of these choices, but it turns out that Kreshek’s Judgement’paired with Hexsanguination will end up doing the most damage a majority of the time. Have a look at the table in the next section if you want to see the numbers.
Hextension Vs. Hexsanguination Vs. Fiendish Curse
Read on or skip to the very end for the TLDR answer.
Hextension increases Curse bonus damage by 10%, and Curse’s duration by 4 seconds, making abilities and charge attacks have a 35% increase in damage, and Curse will last for 12 seconds instead of 8.
Hexsanguination gives Curse a 12 damage per second DoT effect, doing 96 damage total.
Fiendish Curse gives you 100% shield penetration on cursed targets. The only way I can see this helix option working is if you use something like Cursed Earth to apply curse. Most of the time, if you fully charge an arrow to curse an enemy, you’ll alr take out their shield with the arrow. Making the shield penetration useless. This one isn’t good on its own, but can be good when paired with another Helix.
Uh Oh. Math.
Let’s do some math really quick with the bleeding volley combo and other ideas. So again, volley does 305 damage if each arrow is 61 damage and you hit 5 arrows. A 7 arrow volley does 427, and a 3 arrow volley does 304. If you apply a regular curse, a 5 arrow volley will do roughly 381 damage, a 7 arrow volley 534, and a 3 arrow volley 380. So now let’s look at a Hextension curse. 5 arrow volley will do 412, 7 arrow 576, and 3 arrow 411. Not bad.
Let’s take the idea of Kreshek’s Judgement with Hexsanguination. Your regular volley with hitting all 5 arrows is going to do 401 damage without curse and 477 with a curse. But let’s say you’re a mortal human being who doesn’t always hit all of your volley arrows. Hexsanguination will basically add an arrow and about a half to your Kreshek’s Judgement volley to whatever number of arrows you actually hit. So baseline, it is a dps increase over Nockout, unless all 7 arrows are hit. If you landed 3 arrows with Nockout, you would only need to hit 2 bleeding arrows to do more damage. I’m going to assume any situation where you can hit 6 or less Nockout arrows, you can hit that same number (except 6) in bleeding arrows and do more damage. Instead of a bleeding arrow being worth 1 and a half more than a Nockout arrow, it’s worth about .4 less than a Focused Volley arrow.
If you can hit all 3 Focused Volley arrows more reliably than 3 bleeding arrows, then you will have a small dps increase. If you can hit all 7 Nockout arrows reliably, you have a decent dps increase over bleeding arrows and Focused Volley arrows.
Bleeding arrows out damage Focused Volley arrows at 4 arrows hit, and out damage Nockout unless 7 arrows are hit.
Now, let’s bring in Hextension.
We said earlier that a bleeding volley does 401 max damage. With a curse, that goes to 477 damage. The other 2 volley options, with the Hextenstion curse buff do 567 damage for Nockout and 410 for Focused Volley. A full bleeding volley with regular curse will do more than a Focused Volley that has a buffed curse. While a full Nockout volley will do more damage than all other options with a buffed curse. Where does bleeding volley out damage Nockout with buffed curse? At 5 arrows. A 5 arrow Nockout with buffed curse will do 412 damage, and a 6 arrow Nockout with buffed curse will do 494 damage. So with Hextension/Nockout, you have to hit 6 or more arrows to out damage a cursed bleeding volley.
Edit: The only math I didn’t really do here is potential Blight damage you might miss out on.
Here’s the info in non-paragraph form.
Base Volley Bleeding Focused Nockout(6 hit) Nockout(7 hit) No Curse 305 401 304 366 427 Base Curse 381 477 380 458 533 Hextension 412 (X) 411 494 576
Now let’s talk about Blight damage while taking Hexsanguination. I’m not going to do the math here because damage done with Blight is all theoretical, and I think I can rationalize things a bit. So most of your blight usage will probably be used on minions, where your curse likely won’t apply except for maybe on the Shepard. Well, with Kreshek’s Judgement, you’ll get more out of your blight on those pesky minions because you’ll curse multiple of them in a shorter time than manually cursing any one of them. But let’s talk about what we really care about killing - enemy heroes. Say you curse a target while using Hextension, and they were in your blight for 3 seconds. That’s going to be 486 damage. (Damn it, I said I wouldn’t do math). Now let’s try Hexsanguination, which at 3 seconds would also do 486 damage - the exact same amount as Hextension. They both do 162 damage per second, however, the Hexsanguination bleed does not stop, and after your enemy steps out of that blight, they still take an additional 60 damage, meaning you would do 546 damage with your blight. Not to mention, it might even be easier to curse multiple enemies in your blight with a cursed volley.
We’ll continue this a bit in the next section with Brutal Blight. However, I’m pretty sure the bleeding volley combo wins, and is the sure fire way to go.
Last, but not least, I suppose we should talk about this choice with Thorn’s ultimate, Wrath of the Wild. With 500 base damage, and a 35% increase from Hextension, your’re doing a whopping 675 damage. However, with the base 25% and bleed from Hexsanguination, you’re doing a jaw dropping 721 total amount of damage.
You might be wondering about skill damage increases and how they might affect this helix choice. Well, for WoTW, you would need a +92% increase just for the two to match, and a +93% for Hextension to take the lead.
TLDR: Hexsanguination wins.
Brutal Blight Vs. Swift-Volley
If you were to hit an enemy with every single tick of Blight, you would do 720 total damage. Unfortunately, you’ll probably usually do half that max because enemies will try their best to get out of it. Swampfoot does help here, and you can always melee enemies who get out of Blight back into it. Brutal Blight increases Blights damage by 15%. Meaning a full Blight will now do 828. It should be your go to option if you really like using Blight to do your damage
Swift-Volley decreases the cooldown time of Volley by 20%. Pretty self-explanatory, and I think really does help increase damage.
Bascially, Brutal Blight if you like Blight, or Swift-Volley if you like Volley. Pretty straight forward. Keep in mind what kind of combos you’ll be using with your abilities if you chose certain Helixes. For example, if you take the bleeding volley combo, you might want a lower cool down on it, hence Swift Volley, even if it is only a couple of seconds. If your soul job is to wave clear, you might want to consider Brutal Blight. It’s all about your role and preference.
Let’s bring back that math I was talking about earlier with your level 5 helix choice and Blight. If you take brutal blight here and your enemy stood in it for 3 seconds while cursed and you had Hextension, you would do a total of 559 damage, while if you took Hexsanguination, you would do 613 with the bleed after they stepped out of the Blight
Eagle-Eye Vs. Vaulting Hunter Vs. Phasing Arrows
If you’ve ever sat there and shot at a wall with an uncharged arrow from a short distance, you might notice that the arrows don’t always hit the same place on the wall. Eagle-Eye increases the accuracy of Thorn’s standard arrow attack by 50%. I’ve never really noticed the difference with this one, but I’ve also only taken it once or twice and then kind of forgot to look for a difference.
Vaulting Hunter gives Thorn a high jump and is the icing on the cake for her mobility. Even with High Jump though, she doesn’t go as high as she does with a regular jump and Burst Propulsion. So if you skip out on Burst Propulsion with the idea of taking Vaulting Hunter later as a replacement, you won’t be able to reach some places, but you can still jump over a lot of things on a map like Paradise. A lot of complaints about this option is that it gives Thorn moon gravity, and she’s easy to snipe with her hang time. Well, if you took Burst Propulsion at level 3, you shouldn’t have an issue getting shot out of the air in retreat. You can look up and melee to propel yourself back down to the ground, or just propel yourself in any direction to evade enemy anti-air attacks.
Phasing Arrows is the mutator here, and it gives your arrows a passive 25% shield penetration bonus. It could be really good against a Galilea to keep her from being Dangerous, but you lose out on your moon gravity kiting potential.
Take whichever one you really like here, though I think Vaulting Hunter is probably the most useful and versatile. If you already feel like aiming isn’t a problem, then definitely skip Eagle Eye. Do what you want, and if you experiment and find something cool, let me know!
Enduring Blight Vs. Distant Blight
There’s not a wrong answer here, and I’m sure you can already gather what each one does based on their name. Enduring Blight increases Blights duration by 6 seconds, giving it a total duration of 14 seconds. This basically increases Blights overall damage because it lasts longer. It does some good for her wave clear, and lets your slow/speed/choke field last for quite a bit longer.
Distant Blight doubles your casting range, letting you cast Blight pretty far. If you take it, it’ll definitely catch you off guard the first few times you use it. Distant Blight will let you get some long range blight kills, which are neat.
This one is about preference. I used to stand by Distant Blight, but then I started using Enduring Blight, and now I’m back to Distant Blight. It really just depends on the game I feel. They both work exceptionally well with Swamp Foot. Do you want a long range slow, or do you need to hold a point for longer? I think Distant Blight is a bit better in Incursion and Meltdown.
Archer’s Boon Vs. Kreshek’s Rage
Just like we previously had two Blight helix changes, we now have two Volley helix changes, and they also depend on playstyle and situation.
Archer’s Boon gives Volley 30% Life Steal, which is a pretty hefty amount. If you did 279 damage with a Focused Volley, that’s 84 health back to you. Not bad. I think Archer’s Boon can be good if you find yourself having a hard time with survival in duels, or even just in general. If you take the 7 volley and use it on minions, you got at least 125 health back, and could even get more if you took Piercing Volley and ricocheted your arrows properly.
Kreshek’s Rage increases Volley’s damage by 15%. Each arrow will now do roughly 70 damage each, or 106 with Focused volley. A 5 arrow Volley will have a max damage of 351, 6 arrow volley 421, 7 arrow Volley 491, and 3 arrow Volley does 349. Bleeding volley will still do more than 6 arrow without curse, and more than 5 arrow while cursed.
Since I usually go with a high mobility build, and build a health regen gear piece, I don’t find myself having a lot of issues with survival to the point where I feel like I need Archer’s Boon. I think Kreshek’s Rage is overall more beneficial, but that’s just me. If you’re having trouble staying alive, don’t be afraid to take Archer’s Boon.
Wild Judgement Vs. Earthrender Vs. Trap Training
Here we are, level 10.
Wild Judgement makes your Wrath of the Wild bounce up to 5 times, while detonating on every bounce, but it does less damage. This helix option isn’t very practical for PvP, but I think is very suitable for PvE.
Trap Training is the final mutator, and it’s pretty lackluster. It turns your WotW into a sticky bomb that will explode in 10 seconds, or when an enemy gets close to it. I’ve used it, didn’t like it, and I think it’s pretty poor.
Earthrender is what’s left and it’s not fantastic, but it’s good. Earthrender makes WotW leave behind a blight field, which is pretty cool if your WotW doesn’t already kill your enemy. In fact, you can put a blight under your enemy, then ult them, and they’ll have 2 blights there eating away at their very soul like hungry soul-eating piranhas.
Earthrender just seems like the only choice for PvP, and is especially good if you have blight buffs. Though most of the time, your WotW will probably kill and the blight will just be there to devour their corpse.
There are plenty of ways to gear Thorn. I think the best stats to go after for gear are attack damage, move speed/sprint speed, health regen, and skill damage. Another okay one might be cooldown reduction. Thorn can also have a shield if you build a max shield item, and though some like it, I’d rather just have high health regen like I said on my little rant about how good Thorn’s talent is. Thorn’s legendary is a must use if you get it, and another legendary that’s also good for thorn is Bloody Mess Burst Hit. Attack and reload speed items do not affect Thorn.
Thorn has very fast move speed and can easily be the first person out of the gate. Get out and make sure you grab shards! Then if you’re on a map where you can easily take out an enemy accelerator or turret, you should do it. For example, on Paradise I run straight to an enemy accelerator, put a Blight underneath it, but still partway in lane so the enemy minions go through it. Then I volley it and take it out. Buying lighting turret on Overgrowth is a great first move. Denying enemies control of the map is essential to any victory in any game mode. Keep in mind that dying is something you should want to do very little of. It’s okay to die if what you’re dying for is worth it, but still try to stay alive. Know your limitations, and how greedy you’re allowed to get.
At the 28 minute mark, run and grab shards from the shard towers. Hopefully you’ll be level 2 by now if you like taking Fell Wind, because you can make a quick run to get a lot of shards without missing out on too much exp. Don’t be afraid to be aggressive in the early game, because Thorn is still pretty strong without her higher up helixes. Just try not to get too low to the point where you have to go back to base, unless you have good health regen. Spend your shards on buildables to help your team and give yourself xp.
Remember to clear minions if you’re playing Meltdown or Incursion. Both of Thorn’s abilities can do really well with clearing minions. Volley will decimate an enemy super minion or Thrall if you curse them and use your abilities.
Fighting Enemies as Thorn
Rule #1 – Please, never stop moving. A still Thorn is a dead one. If someone is on you, don’t stand still. Even if you’re probably missing attacks, avoiding damage is super important. If you took mobility in Thorn’s helix and you don’t use it – you deserve to die.
When engaging an enemy, your first task is to try and Curse them. It will make your life a hell of a lot easier if you can curse your enemy because it practically means you’ve killed them already. Do your best to save your abilities until after you Curse your foe, but if you have something like Kreshek’s Judgement, feel free to use it if you’re having a hard time landing curse. Using fully charged arrows after Cursing an enemy will get a damage buff, but I don’t think the dps is actually higher, and it’s almost a bit more risky to do because if you miss, you lose lots of dps. Maybe if you take Hextension, the charged arrows will be worth using. If you can’t curse your enemy, and the shenanigan has gone on long enough, say f**k it and just kill them without Curse. You’ve still got plenty of damage without it – it’s just nice to have.
Placing Blight is almost always situational to where your enemy is, what helix choices you’ve taken and the terrain around you. If a melee character is coming to engage you and they’re still kind of far, just put it between the two of you and circle around it. If they get too close to you without being in the Blight, melee them into it. I like to put my Blights down so the enemy is touching the rim of it at the furthest point from me. If you have Swampfoot, you might want to do that, or place it so the enemy is in the middle. If you place it so they’re at the back though, they have to turn around to get out of it, or trudge through the whole thing to get to you. Just position it well between you and the enemy and make the enemy fight on your terms. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just place blight at your feet (especially if you have Swampfoot or Fell Wind) and get out of there.
Volley should pretty much be used whenever you can use it, unless you’re trying to get a curse on the enemy first. If the enemy doesn’t know you’re there, curse them and hit them with a point blank volley – preferably in the head. Or put down a Blight First if you have Swampfoot to slow them so you can land a Curse easily, then follow that with a Volley. Volley is good to use just about any time though, even on shard towers. It’ll save you a few autos and a bit of time.
##Thorn Matchup Overview
Really just some general knowledge.
Hell yes, she was nerfed again. I’m still keeping her as tough for now though because she’s not to be underestimated. She can no longer make a whole area that silences for a 6 second duration, nor can she sprint while attacking. However, her stun still hurts. Use your jumps and speed to avoid it and kite her forever. Feel free to try Phasing Arrows, or even Fiendish Curse against her, but only at your own risk. If you know the enemy team is going to have a Galilea, take shield pen item in your gearbox to keep her from being dangerous.
This one isn’t so much of a bad matchup as it is just annoying. It’s a real pain when you’re about to kill someone and they have an overshield all of a sudden. Her mark locks on, and her little energy ball can lock on to. I think she also has a slow. Again, not too bad. Just overshields and lockons. ._.
I used to think Isic wasn’t too bad, but then I played against a good one. He’s tanky. Really tanky. He’s got a dash that can stun you, but other than that he’s not very mobile. He’s just got shields. Yes, plural. He will sit there with his arm shield until his rotating ward comes off of cooldown. Use Blight to damage him, and try to just get around him. His damage is pretty high for a tank, and you can’t really do anything about him. If you’re playing against a good one who is harassing you, just try and ignore him, Not much of a point in diving for an Isic either. The epitome of a nuisance.
A good El Dragon can be a real threat with his CC. He’s got all kinds of CC, and it’s just a real hassle if you can’t dodge it. A good El Dragon can be scary if he gets fed, but if they’re bad, you won’t have an issue. You can jump over his clothes line with Burst Propulsion or Vaulting Hunter*. Luckily most of El Dragon players aren’t good, so you shouldn’t have to worry too much.
Big Bodies – Mostly Easy
All these are big bodies. That means your curse should be really easy to land, and you should be dealing increased damage to all of these guys. I have all of these guys in one category because Thorn is just strong against them. She can also dodge them all exceptionally well because of her mobility.
Oh sh*t, it’s god. This big guy isn’t as scary as he looks. Watch out for the stun, and as long as he doesn’t ult, it’s easy. His ult is a little scary because it knocks you up, but if you have Burst Propulsion, you can just escape in the air. His health regen is pretty decent, and if he’s got a Miko on him, you probably don’t want to fight him because he’ll guard that Miko like a mother bear, even if you took Draw Strength.
This guy is pretty under rated. That being said, he’s under rated for a reason – most of the ones you’ll run into are bad with him. Similar to Attikus, avoid the stun. Dodge his axes, which shouldn’t be too hard if you’re kiting erratically. His shield is annoying with its 2000 damage absorb, but just try to get behind him or keep him from retreating. Also, I don’t think shields block Blight.
Really try your best not to get to close, as those shotguns will still hurt you after his nerf. Ghalt is easy to fight as long as you dodge his grab and don’t get stunned by a trap. If he ults, just don’t stop jumping around him. Keep an eye out for his triple hook, because that could catch you by surprise.
Kelvin is a little scary because of his stun, but that’s all he really has that should worry you. Be very, very careful of his chomp, and avoid his stun with a Vaulting Hunter jump or Burst Propulsion jump. Or use Fell Wind to run away from it. You can also jump over his ice wall with Vaulting Hunter and Burst Propulsion
If he’s focusing you, and has his ice gun, you should be careful. Slows really hurt Thorn, and his damage isn’t all too kind either. Be careful of his dash, but the best place to be is actually probably near him. Just run circles around him and do some juking while you fire some volleys into his body/face. Try not to let him see you coming so he has to find you when you’re right under his nose.
Shayne and Aurox
S&A are kind of fast, and when playing against them or any other character with invisibility, you should always be on the lookout for that little shimmer. Like Ghalt, do your best to avoid the grab/stun. Keep in mind Shayne is the primary target here, but hitting Aurox is still okay. Shayne is really vulnerable after her ult, because Aurox is gone for a bit. That’s the best time to destroy her, but really anytime works well.
Kleese is sort of an oddity right now. A lot of people don’t know how to play him all that well. If you see his rifts, take them out, and definitely don’t fight him when he’s near them. Keep your distance from Kleese and his taser, because that thing f**king hurts. He’s slow though so you shouldn’t have a big problem out ranging and destroying him.
Toby isn’t much to worry about because you can outmaneuver him pretty easily. Dodge the Arc Mine so you don’t get stunned, and you’re golden. The only annoying thing about toby is his wall, but you can shoot through it with Draw Strength, and treat him kind of like Montana. If he ults, get close to him and just walk in circles around him.
Pretty neutral matchup. You can dodge his rockets pretty easily, but a good benedict can be just as hard to hit, and you can’t blight him. I’ve found his path in the air is pretty predictable, and you can hit him with volley or just regular attacks without a whole lot of challenge. If he touches the ground next to you, kill him – murder him.
His TMP got a 25% buff, meaning he no longer tickles you, but instead attacks you with a barrage of pinches. It will kill you if you let it, but when fighting a Caldarius, just stay out of his melee because that actually does hurt. You can avoid his dash pretty well, and don’t get panic if you’re blinded. You can see him using his ultimate from literally a mile away. If you think he’s going to ult you, use any speed/mobility buffs you have to either get under something, or to move erratically enough that he’ll miss. As long as you’re not in the center of it, you won’t take full damage.
She’s kind of weak overall. You can tell whenever she uses her clone, and at that point, you could chase her if she’s low or just walk away and see if she follows you. She’s always desperate to kill you, so just keep her in your blight and shoot her down. She’s also little and kind of hard to hit. If you see her start to ult, either melee her, or just walk out of it. Mobility, plz.
If the Maquis is bad, you can actually get some really strong damage from afar. Best case is to charge him, though. He isn’t really a threat to kill because it’s unlikely he’ll hit you if you play right. However, he’s kind of a twig himself, meaning it can be hard to actually land arrows on him. I normally don’t bother shooting his owls because they seem not to do a lot to you and they’re a pain to hit. Stay out of his slow, and you’ll kill him before he can ever get the chance to kill you. Be careful if you take Vaulting Hunter against him, because he can hit you when you’ve got hang time. If the Marquis likes to stay in scope a lot, definitely try and sneak behind him and burst him. Some Marquis’ are really dumb and will stay scoped while they back up, so you can even body block them.
She can be kind of annoying because she is also mobile, but kite her and she can’t melee or spike you. Her gun can hurt, but you should be able to out damage it. Her ult is scary though and can be hard to dodge, so keep on the move.
Her pillars are easy to avoid if you pay attention, and you can even avoid her Paradigm Shift with Vaulting Hunter. Try not to get too close when she uses Nullify because you don’t want to get blinded. If you stay moving, you shouldn’t lose this matchup, but if you’re both moving crazily, you might have a hard time killing her because she’s tiny and hard to hit.
He can be a bit surprising with his damage, and there are a lot of people who like to play him like a ninja-assassin. His napalm has no Z-axis, meaning you can just jump over it and not take damage. If you see his ult, get the hell out of there or you’re going to have a bad time. Always be on the lookout for his telltale shimmer when he’s invisible.
Not much can be said here, as I haven’t played against any good ones. His ult does a good amount of damage, though.
He’s/She’s/It’s a support, but he can also duel kind of well. Try your best to land a volley on the top of his head, and he’ll be gone. If you see a Miko healing someone, you should prioritize him. He also has high move speed and can sometimes be hard to lock down. Don’t underestimate his ability to whittle you down, and if he’s running away, don’t always follow. Switch targets since he won’t be able to heal, and then kill him if he comes back.
She’s pretty easy to kite, and if she approaches you with her teleport, take the opportunity to put down a blight. She does hurt though, so if you’re standing still, expect to die. Luckily she doesn’t have a stun anymore, so she’s not all that tough. Watch out for her twirl, or any other sign of her ult, because that’s not a fun thing to be in. She’s still a threat because of her damage, but she’s a glass cannon, and you can kill her pretty fast.
Similar to Phoebe, just kind of evade him. If he gets close, melee him away, jump over his ult, or melee him out of it. If you get knocked up, remember that Burst Propulsion can get you out of taking more damage. Be very careful not to get slowed or stunned though, because that probably means your death.
Now that she was finally nerfed into the ground, this one isn’t so bad. She’s still kind of hard to hit because she’s a freaking toothpick, but her damage now just kind of tickles. You still have to watch out for her Extinction Event and sunspots, but she’s full on support now. Her overshield and speed from when she gets low health were also nerfed. Keep in mind that if you can fully burst her with a curse/volley combo or WotW, you can get past her overshield. No real threat here anymore.
If the Thorn has mobility, it’s tough because she’ll get out of your Blight and try to dodge your shots. If she doesn’t have any mobility, then it’s easier, but it still takes a while for one to kill the other at low levels. If she’s good, you’ll both probably be dancing around trying to kill each other, and it’s kind of hilarious. If you have trouble dueling each other all game, it’ll end up coming down to who has WotW, and who can get the other person low enough to burst them. If it’s taking too long to kill one another, just leave and go do something productive.
As long as you’re moving a lot, you’ve got nothing to worry about from her. Riptide can be a little hard to dodge, but if you’re in the air, I don’t think it affects you. Watch out for her geysers though, and be careful not to get stuck by her emergence. You want to make sure she has a hard time hitting you so she can’t build up osmosis stacks to heal with. That being said, if they enemy team has an Alani, you have to burst your targets down before she hits them with her heals.
Thanks for reading my guide - I’ll be editing stuff here and there as changes and new discoveries happen. Feel free to ask any questions, bring up any points I might have missed. Good luck, and I hope my guide helped! Sorry it’s a bit long.
I’ll be putting in suggested full build examples for certain maps and team comps soon.
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5/4/16: Corrected number values for Thorn’s skills.
5/5/16: Added Blight Vs. Volley. Removed Ambra from tough matchups. Edited some comments about Caldarius and Rath.
5/7/16: Added Thorn to matchup overview. Moved Isic and El Dragon to tough.
Went back over Swampfoot Vs. Piercing Volley and Blight Vs. Volley. Fixed the section about Draw Strength and Piercing Volley.
5/22/16: Went back over Kreshek’s Revenge Vs. Focused Volley Vs. Nockout. Revamped Hextension Vs. Hexsanguination Vs. Fiendish Curse, and added math section.
5/23/16: Basic retouching. Added edit notes for future edits, and went back over Galilea’s info with today’s patch.
5/27/16: Added in a little section about Blight damage, and how it has to do with your level 5 helix choice. Added Alani to the matchup overview section.
5/30/16: Did math for Hextension and Hexsanguination with WoTW and skill damage.