Destiny – Bungie Is Nerfing The Thorn, Ice Breaker, & Gjallarhorn In Update 2.0’s Major Weapon Pass

Destiny Update 2.0, set to launch shortly before the release of The Taken King DLC on September 15, aims to make some of the biggest weapon balance changes to the game’s sandbox since Update 1.1.1 last February.

That includes a handful of much-needed and long sought-after changes to weapons like the infamous Thorn, as well as the entire Auto Rifle weapon class. But, according to the notes from Bungie’s latest Weekly Update, it also introduces a few tweaks you probably weren’t expecting, for better or worse. Though a lot of what’s in the following weapon-related notes for Update 2.0 sounds like a major improvement, some of your favorite and most-used weapons are going to take a hit, including the Ice Breaker, the Black Hammer, and the almighty Gjallarhorn.

Sit back down in that chair. Before you get too ahead of yourself, you’ll want to hear out Bungie Sandbox Designer Jon Weisnewski on the reasoning behind each and every adjustment in his own post right here. If you just want the notes, simply keep scrolling. There is much to read.

Oh, and be sure to share some of your reactions in the comments section below. Do you think some of the tweaks and changes were unecessary, or does it all sound right to you?

Weapon Balance Changes



  • Auto Rifle is optimal at close to medium range
  • Damage, Stability, and Range are tuned such that players desire Stability for reliable close quarters damage, or Range for better accuracy and increased damage at a distance
  • Elevate Auto Rifles so they are a more competitive option in PVP, and simultaneously more satisfying to use in PVE


  • Increase base damage
  • Start damage falloff closer to the player to emphasize its role as a close to medium range weapon
  • Small reduction in base stability. Landing shots at optimal range is unaffected, but repeated precision hits require more weapon control to land consistently
  • Boost damage by 10% against AI combatants



  • Pulse Rifle is optimal at medium range, but can still effectively engage enemies at close or medium-long range
  • Rate of Fire sets a pace for players to track moving targets, and then deliver precision damage in bursts
  • Pulse Rifles should feel strong in PVP, but don’t become the only competitive option
  • Additionally increase their efficiency as a PVE weapon


  • Reduce base damage of the medium RoF by about 2.5%
    • PVP: Bursts-to-kill (all precision hits) is 2 or 3, depending on victim’s Armor stat
  • Small reduction in base stability. A burst should still land all shots at optimal range, but three precision hits will require more weapon control to land consistently
  • Increase magazine size on for all base inventory stats



  • Scout Rifles are the best Primary Weapon for long range engagements
  • Scout Rifles perform best when landing paced precision shots
  • Rate of Fire and Optics are tuned so that Scout Rifles are a little harder to use effectively close in


  • Increase base damage for medium to high Rate of Fire Scout Rifles
    • PVP: Does not affect TTK in PVP on a Guardian with full health
  • Increase magazine size for all base inventory stats
  • Reduce Final Accuracy when firing from hip
    • Fast firing outside of ADS will be less accurate
  • Boost damage by 5% against AI combatants



  • Hand Cannons are optimal at close to medium range
  • Hand Cannons are optimal when shots are paced, but become less effective when fired quickly
  • Rewards agility under fire, precision targeting, and snap shots
  • Hand Cannons cannot reliably compete with Scout Rifles at long range


  • Start damage falloff closer to the player to limit long range lethality
  • Small reduction in ADS accuracy, targeted at making long range snap-shooting less reliable
  • Reduce final accuracy when firing from hip
    • Fast firing from hip is less reliable
  • Reduce magazine size for all base inventory stats
  • Reduce base Optics (zoom) for all Hand Cannons
    • ADS now grants more width in favor of depth



  • Shotgun is most effective at very close range
  • Complements melee attacks and other close-quarters class builds
  • Offensively closing on an enemy with a Shotgun is a risk/reward timing game
  • Curb Shotgun effectiveness in PVE slightly to reintroduce some risk when closing on a powerful enemy


  • Shotgun perks that enhance lethality at range should be less effective when combined with a high initial Range stat:
    • Reduce Shot Package Accuracy buff by 30%
    • Rangefinder adds a 5% base Range increase on ADS (was 20%)
  • Reduce Precision Damage multiplier on Shotguns by 10%
  • Reduce damage against AI combatants by 10%



  • Fusion Rifles are optimal at mid-range, where targets are easier to track but they’re not close enough to attack while charging up
  • Requires combat foresight and the ability to predict a target’s movement to use successfully
  • It should not be easy to find and build a Fusion Rifle that can achieve maximum Range


  • Slow charging, high Impact Fusion Rifles have decreased Range values
    • Makes it more difficult to max out Range for these weapons
  • Projectile Speed for Fusion Rifles is slightly reduced
    • Emphasizes the need to lead a targets outside medium range
  • Improve Accuracy for short range Fusion Rifles
  • Reduce Accuracy for long range Fusion Rifles



  • Sniper Rifles are optimal at long range, and difficult to use for medium to short range combat
  • Sniper Rifles reward thumb skill with high damage against precision targets
  • The Final Round perk on Sniper Rifles should still require precision shots


  • Final Round on Sniper Rifles buffs precision damage only, not base damage
    • This change only affects this perk when combined with Sniper Rifles



  • Rocket Launchers deal massive AoE damage from a distance
  • Rockets are optimal when placed in the middle of a group


  • Slight increase in base Blast Radius.
  • Grenades and Horseshoes proximity detonation reduced

Exotic Weapon Tuning



  • Increase base Stability to 80 (was 65)
  • Increase bounce count for Hard Light projectiles
  • Hard Light projectiles are not affected by Damage Falloff



  • Increase base Stability to 60 (was 40)
  • Increase magazine size
  • Cursebringer perk will always trigger on a precision kill
  • Cursebringer explosion has increased radius and deals more damage


  • Reduce Range stat to 10 (was 20), reduce Stability to 20 (was 30).
  • Reduce effective range while in ADS.
  • Increase accuracy and precision damage aim assist scale when firing from the hip. “Get three coffins ready.”
  • Fixed bugs with Hipfire damage bonus applying incorrectly



  • Reduce base damage of Thorn’s Mark of the Devourer DoT (Damage over Time) to roughly 1/3 of what it was in PVP and PVE
  • Allow DoT to stack up to 5x across multiple landed projectiles
    • This is a net buff for Thorn’s DoT, but reduces the lethality of the weapon in PVP



  • Add a stack limit to Luck in the Chamber and Holding Aces so that only 2 of the bonus perks will ever stack on one round. This should prevent Hawkmoon from 1-hit killing full health players in PVP
  • Add 2 rounds to Hawkmoon’s magazine when Holding Aces is unlocked
  • Luck in the Chamber damage bonus reduced by 3%



  • Increase recharge time for Ice Breaker rounds to 1 every 8 seconds. Was 1 round every 5 seconds



  • Increase weapon handling speed for faster time to aim, ready, and stow
  • Adjust sights to fix overlap/parallax issue while aimed
  • Increase time decay of The Master to 8 seconds
  • Add an additional 20% Precision Damage bonus while The Master is active



  • Increase ammo inventory to 18 rounds
  • White Nail perk now pulls ammo from your inventory



  • Tripled recovery boost bonus for allies granted by Lord of Wolves



  • Reduce damage of Wolfpack Rounds

Weapon Stats

Reduced Base Weapon Stats

“We reduced the base stat value of a few targeted stats across various weapon types. Specifically, we focused on the stats for a given weapon type that typically enhance performance the most and made those starting values slightly lower.”

“Also, this change is only being made to weapons newly available in The Taken King, so your base stats for everything from launch through House of Wolves remain consistent.”

Stat Perk Tuning Pass

“We have gone back to all of these stat perks [Send It, Hammer Forged, Field Scout, Perfect Balance, etc.] and reduced the amount that they buff your weapon stat, and this change was made retroactively against all year one weapon talent grids.”

“To compensate for the weaker stat perks from launch weapons, we added some new stat perks (which have already showed up on your House of Wolves weapons) that do provide a significant increase to a stat in exchange for a reduction in other stats.”

Stat Perk column on Talent Grids

“Lastly, we wanted to ensure that if we were introducing Stat Perks that asked you to reduce a stat, we never forced you into doing that by placing that perk on an unavoidable node. Talent Grids will almost always unlock in the order of: small benefit -> medium benefit or another small benefit choice -> large benefit with a tradeoff. The only node in that column you have to unlock is the first one. From then on it is up to the player which node they want activated at any given time.”

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