What does Thorns mean in Diablo 4?
What does Thorns mean in Diablo 4?
Screengrab via Upcomer

What does Thorns mean in Diablo 4?

A term that is rarely explained in Diablo

If you have been leveling up in Diablo 4, then you will likely have seen a gear piece or gem with the term “Thorns” on it. This term is usually preceded by a plus sign, indicating that you are receiving some kind of positive in exchange for wearing or using an item with Thorns. However, Diablo 4 does not do a great job of explaining exactly what the term means and how you can use it to your advantage when trying to craft the perfect build.

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Thorns is specifically a stat that is increased by placing Emerald gems into your armor sockets. Depending on the rarity of the gem, your Thorns could be increased by as much as 70. Of course, that means nothing if you don’t know what Thorns means.

The meaning of Thorns in Diablo 4

The description for Emeralds in Diablo 4. Image via Blizzard

Thorns refers to every player’s ability to deal damage back to an enemy when they hit you. Every time you are hit by an enemy, they will take some of that damage back. Your Thorns stat changes exactly how much damage enemies will take back. Your character will still take a large chunk of the damage, though, so don’t think of Thorns as a damage reduction stat.

Instead, it should be used as an offensive stat. While it’s never preferable to be hit by an enemy, Thorns allows you to deal passive damage while you are basically doing nothing. The more Thorns your character has, the more damage that enemies will take when they successfully land an attack on you. So, for example, if you use three Emeralds on your glove, chest, and legs armor, then you will gain +210 Thorns (70 for each gem), which will significantly increase the damage an enemy takes after attacking.

Your base Thorns damage is also based on your character’s primary stat. The higher your character’s primary stat is, the more Thorns damage you will deal as well. Here is each character’s primary stat:

  • Barbarian: Strength
  • Druid: Willpower
  • Rogue: Dexterity
  • Sorcerer: Intelligence
  • Necromancer: Intelligence

Essentially, you just want to make sure you have a high primary stat for your build in general, but having a higher Thorns damage output is a great way to make fights easier. However, don’t rely on Thorns to deal with enemies for you. 

You still want to ensure that you’re dealing enough damage to kill enemies with your primary attacks. Relying on Thorns too much will likely result in you needing more healing potions than you might normally need during a fight. 

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Joey Carr
Joey Carr is a full-time writer for multiple esports and gaming websites. He has 7+ years of experience covering esports and traditional sporting events, including DreamHack Atlanta, Call of Duty Championships 2017, and Super Bowl 53.