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Destiny 2 guide: How to get Thorn, the Exotic hand cannon

Thorn is back, and you’ll have to complete quests from The Drifter to get it

Destiny 2’s Thorn Exotic hand cannon sits against a grey background Bungie via Polygon
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Thorn returns in Destiny 2: Season of the Drifter, but getting it will take some time. First we’ll need to find it, and then we’ll need to go through a long quest to restore its former glory.

This guide will teach you how find Thorn, a hand cannon that poisons its enemies and deals damage over time.

1. A Melted Hunk of Metal

There is no prompt for the Thorn quest. You’ll need to find the ruined Thorn out in the field. It’s sitting out in the world, waiting for you to find it.

Load into Trostland in the EDZ, and make your way north into the Salt Mines.

Follow the cave until you reach the broken elevator. There’s a transmat beacon there. Interact with it to teleport. You’ll be in the upper section of the mine, outside.

Go up the grass path until you reach the blue shield covering the top of the elevator. Look at the road’s edge on the opposite side. There’s a small pathway between the rocks and the road. Follow the path and jump through the cave.

You’ll find a small, destroyed camp. Walk up to the pile of bodies and the black crater. Interact to sift through the ashes and find the Hunk of Metal — the remnants of Thorn.

Return the item to Banshee-44 in the Tower. He’ll send you on a new quest.

2. The Essence

It’s time to start rebuilding Thorn. You’ll need Hadronic Essence to restore its power. You can kill Warlocks in the Crucible, complete bounties for Asher on Io, or finish Nightfalls to gain Hadronic Essence.

Nightfalls give you 15 Hadronic Essence apiece, while bounties only give you five. If you have a good group of friends, running four Nightfalls is the fastest way through this quest. Killing Warlocks gives three Hadronic Essence.

3. The Steel

To rebuild Thorn’s shell, you’ll need Plasteel Plating. Complete bounties for Sloane on Titan, kill Titans in the Crucible, or complete waves of Blind Well to gain Plasteel Plating.

Heroic Blind Well gives you 10 Plasteel Plating. Run four rounds and complete two bounties from Sloan to complete the quest. Killing Titans gives three Plasteel Plating.

4. The Binding

To bind Thorn together, you’ll need to collect Sapphire Wire. Complete bounties for Ana Bray on Mars, kill Hunters in the Crucible, or complete waves of Escalation Protocol on Mars to gain Sapphire Wire.

Escalation Protocol’s waves are quick, and they give you five apiece. Go to Ana first and grab her bounties for the day. Run seven rounds of Escalation Protocol, and complete Ana’s bounties to get all 50. Killing Hunters gives three Sapphire Wire.

5. Weaponize the Unknown

To restore Thorn to its former glory, you’ll need to kill Guardians in the Crucible with Void damage or hand cannons. Precision kill streaks give more progress. Kills in the Competitive playlist or Iron Banner multiply progress.

This step is going to take some time or serious PvP skills. Fill your loadout with Void weapons and a Kinetic hand cannon. We found success with Ace of Spades, a Void secondary weapon like Retold Tale or Fate Cries Foul, and a Void Heavy like Hammerhead. Run a Void subclass to maximize Void kills. If you can manage to get on a precision streak with a Void hand cannon like Kindled Orchid, you’ll progress even faster.

The percentage per kill seems inconsistent, and will vary on streaks or if you’re playing Competitive. Play in Quickplay. It seems that four Void or hand cannon kills will give a single percent. If Iron Banner is up, that will multiply your progress.

Bungie via Polygon

6. Something Yet Remains

Now that Thorn is reborn, you’ll need to piece it together. Head to the Farm and talk to Tyra Karn. The Farm has its own node in the EDZ, and you can get there from the Director — Destiny’s menu.

7. The Chasm of Screams

The final step to rebuilding Thorn involves a remixed version of the Savathun’s Song Strike. You can find it on Titan.

It’s a 660 Power version of Savathun’s Song, with modifiers that increase damage received from melee and all elements. Enemies also have more health and don’t stagger when you shoot them.

Take a Fireteam of three. Tether, Well of Radiance, and Banner Shield are all good Supers in here. Go through the Strike slowly, with long-range weapons like scout or pulse rifles. A Borealis or Hard Light is useful to take down enemy shields of all elements.

When you complete the Strike, you’ll earn Thorn. Congratulations, Guardian. Go take it for a spin in the Crucible.

Note: We initially wrote this guide based on a data mine from We’ve updated, expanded, and replaced that text with detailed information and advice from our own experience.

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