How To Get Thorn, Destiny 2’s Latest Exotic Hand Cannon

The exotic hand cannon from the original Destiny makes a comeback.
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Thorn was one of the original Destiny's most popular weapons.
Thorn was one of the original Destiny's most popular weapons. Destinypedia

Destiny 2 has released its latest exotic hand cannon, and it’s the one fans have been waiting for since the game launched in 2017. Fans of Destiny, especially players who are well-versed in the game’s rich lore, are well aware of the story of Thorn and The Last Word. The Last Word is the Hero’s hand cannon, wielded in the past by one of humanity’s greatest heroes, and has been out for a while now. But the villain in that story brandished his own powerful weapon, Thorn, which was one of the most popular weapons in the original Destiny. As Bungie promised, Thorn has made its comeback in Destiny 2’s Season of the Drifter, and here’s everything you need to know to acquire this powerful exotic.

Thorn makes a comeback in Destiny 2 Season of the Drifter.
Thorn makes a comeback in Destiny 2 Season of the Drifter. KackisHD On YouTube

Thorn is an exotic hand cannon with a unique and ominous appearance. New and improved in Destiny 2, Thorn comes with some powerful weapon perks. Similar to the original Thorn, this one fires the same deadly corrosive piercing rounds, but this time around, there's an extra exotic perk never before seen in Destiny. Thorn’s special ability is called Soul Devourer, and every enemy killed using the exotic hand cannon spawn orbs called Remnants. Thanks to Thorn’s Exotic perk Mark of the Devourer, when these Remnants are collected, Thorn’s magazine gets replenished and the player receives a temporary damage buff. Thorn offers players unique mechanics that make for more fluid combat, so there’s all the more reason to add this weapon to your collection.

The question now, is how do you get Thorn? Like many of the game’s most powerful weapons, Thorn can only be obtained through an exotic quest. Be warned, Thorn may not be a weapon that most players can get in one sitting. Its exotic quest is lengthy and challenging, but equally rewarding and satisfying. Prepare yourself to journey through the most treacherous corners of the galaxy before you are allowed to claim your prize. Ready? Let’s jump into the guide!

 Make your way to the EDZ and get started.
Make your way to the EDZ and get started. Bungie

How To Start ‘Independent Study’, Thorn’s Exotic Quest Line

To start the exotic quest that eventually rewards you with Thorn, players must make their way to Salt Mines. First, head over to the Trostland Landing Zone, go north past the Church and head inside the tunnel filled with enemy Fallen. Keep following the path until you’re in the Salt Mines. Once there, you’ll find a transmat beacon in the corner near the rusted old elevator. Activate the transmat and you’ll find yourself in an outdoor location somewhere in the EDZ. There’s a straightforward path, and if you follow it, you’ll come across a forcefield. Look around for a small path and follow it until you come across an abandoned camp. There, you’ll find a dead Guardian beside a smoldering fire pit. Activate the fire pit and you’ll find “A Melted Hunk of Metal”. Take that to our trusted gunsmith, Banshee-44, and you will have started the six-part exotic quest ‘Independent Study’.

Part 1/6: The Essence

Taking “A Melted Hunk of Metal” to Banshee-44 begins The Essence, the first part of Independent Study. The first three steps, including The Essence, have players collecting random items from all over the galaxy. For Destiny buffs, it’s worth it to mention that these items you’ll be collecting are tributes to the crafting materials in the original Destiny. To complete The Essence, players have to collect 50 materials called Hardonic Essence. Thankfully, Destiny 2 gives players a lot of leeway into how they actually get their hands on the stuff. Getting Crucible kills rewards a few pieces of Hardonic Essence, but we’ve found that the PvE options are by far the fastest method to acquire these materials. Hardonic Essence can be acquired by players in great quantity by completing Nightfall Strikes, for 15 Hardonic Essence per completed strike. Players can also head to Crucible and kill Warlocks for three Essence per kill, or do planetary bounties on Io for five Essence per bounty.

You can try to earn Hardonic Essence any way you want, but for we managed to get all 50 by doing four bounties on Io and a couple of Nightfall Strikes. Once completed, the exotic quest progresses into the next step.

Part 2/6: The Steel

To complete The Steel, players must collect Plasteel Plating, again with several options as to how they acquire the materials. Killing enemy Hunters in the Crucible awards three Plating per kill, accomplishing planetary bounties on Titan awards five Plating per bounty, and completing Tier IV Blind Well rounds on Heroic net players 10 Plating per round.

Tier IV Heroic is activated in Blind Well rounds by offering up unstable charges. If you are with friends, clanmates, or have a fireteam at the ready, we recommend completing four Tier IV Blind Well rounds on Heroic and doing two Titan bounties to achieve the target 50. However, because it’s almost impossible to do Tier IV Blind Well as a solo player, doing as many Titan bounties and killing as many Hunters as you can will get the job done as well.

Part 3/6: The Binding

Once The Steel is completed, the next part of Independent Study has players collecting Sapphire Wire. The Binding requires players to collect 50 Sapphire Wire materials, either by killing Titans in the Crucible, completing waves of Escalation Protocol on Mars, or turning in Mars planetary bounties. Escalation Protocol waves award five Wire per wave, killing Titans in Crucible awards three per kill, and the bounties on Mars award five per bounty.

Part 3 is arguably the easiest and fastest of the first three quest steps in Independent Study. Escalation Protocol is always packed with players who love the endless combat and loot drops, so finding other players to help you out won’t be a problem. Plus, the planetary bounties on Mars usually involve disposing of Hive enemies, so getting 50 Wire should be relatively easy. Grab the bounties and play Escalation Protocol, and you’ll have The Binding done in no time.

Part 4/6: Weaponize The Unknown

Unfortunately for primarily PvE-oriented Destiny 2 players, the next part of the exotic quest involves a LOT of PvP. Weaponize The Unknown requires players to score Crucible kills with either void damage or a hand cannon. It sounds straightforward and it really is, but simple doesn’t always mean easy. To help players along, here are a few tips that might help make the grind more bearable.

  • Use Your Void Subclass. All kills with Void damage count towards the quest objective, so even if your gunplay mechanics are a little lacking for the PvP scene, you might still manage a few multi-kills using your void ultimate.
  • Stay Away From Competitive (Unless You’re Confident In Your PvP). Competitive kills may count more towards the quest objective, but it’s also a lot more difficult to get kills. Quickplay typically has longer matches, shorter waiting times, and less die-hard FPS gamers, so it should be easier to get that kill count up.
  • Use A Hand Cannon That Deals Void Damage. Since the game calls for void kills or hand cannon kills, it is most efficient to use a weapon that can manage both. A good void-type hand cannon is an Ikelos, but if you have it, a Kindled Orchid god roll works wonders.

Apart from that, the only real advice for this step is to just keep at it. You don’t need to get it done in one day, so feel free to recharge with some PvE content before continuing the Crucible grind.

Part 5/6: Something Yet Remains

Once you complete Weaponize The Unknown, make your way back to The Farm (accessible on the EDZ map) and speak to Tyra Karn, the resident Cryptarch. She’ll point you towards the next and final step in Independent Study.

Tyra Karn is the resident Cryptarch on The Farm.
Tyra Karn is the resident Cryptarch on The Farm. Bungie

Part 6/6: The Chasm of Screams

Of course, all of the grinding you’ve been doing so far wouldn’t be as satisfying if they just handed you the Thorn right then and there, now would it? Before Thorn is dished out, players have to blast their way through an extra-difficult round of Savathun’s Song. Modified with Iron and Blackout, the boss fight also adds a couple of extra-tough Hive Knights in addition to the giant floating laser eye called Savanthun’s Song. Beat the boss, complete the strike, and behold! Destiny 2’s Thorn, weapon of legendary villainy, is now yours to wield. Congratulations!

What do you think about our step-by-step guide to acquiring the exotic hand cannon, Thorn? Were you able to get this powerful new weapon? What do you think about it so far? Let us know in the comments section below! And if you have any questions, feel free to ask. Eyes up, Guardians!

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