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Nano-thorns,[1][2], also called nanotechnology,[3][4][5] blurs,[6][2][1][4], growths,[7] nanomachine thorns,[8] or nanobranches,[9] were a disintegration weapon devised by Armsmaster.[9][10][5]


Nano-thorns appeared as a gray cloud[9] or blur[2][1][3] around the object generating them. The blur was strangely static around the object, even as it moved.[3][9]

The ends would turn a lighter gray once the nano-thorns had reached optimum length.[7]

The Azazel suits could turn their nano-thorn blurs bright colors to warn people not to touch them, bright red, orange and purple, making them resemble "frozen flame".[4] The blurs created by Crawler were red.[1]


Nano-thorns were nano-structures engineered to slide between atoms and sever molecular bonds.[3]

The process of creating them generated heat, which needed to be vented.[8] It was possible for a nano-thorn knife's air intake to become clogged, causing the nano-thorns to "start knuckling together". It would then have to be opened, baked at five hundred degrees, and thoroughly vacuumed to clear it. However, Dragon stated that this wouldn't happen within a single day.[7]


Nano-thorns could shear through most materials instantly, without resistance,[11] turning them to clouds of dust.[3][1]

These materials included human flesh, steel,[1] fiberglass,[1] the tail of an Azazel craft,[1] Lung's claws,[10] rubber,[1] and chunks of Endbringer flesh.[3][2]

It produced huge clouds of dust when used on Scion's flesh.[10] Crawler could be summarily reduced to a red mist if he fell into a cloud of nano-thorns, despite his powers.[1] Although it was never seen to come into full contact, if it got close enough to Mannequin's armor it would begin to smoke and produce a dark patch.[9]

If two nanoclouds met, they would press against each other, resisting the movement but not destroying each other.[1]


Armsmaster claimed that they were "vulnerable to forcefields, fire, and other intense energy".[11] They were quickly cleared away by a blast of "superheated" air.[4] Defiant warned that nano-thorns should be kept away from heat.[7] Skitter found that a match caused them to burn away with a "whoosh".[4] A laser from the Azazel was sufficient to burn them away in an instant.[1]

Although nano-thorns damaged their outer layers, Endbringers could still push through the damage and hold them in place.[3] The material 70-80% deep into an Endbringer was too dense for nano-thorns to penetrate.[2]

Floret's crystals could form a protective cocoon around small amounts of them; they would eat through the crystal if it was crushed against them, but Taylor speculated it somewhat reduced their efficiency afterwards.[10]

Known Examples[]

Armsmaster created a halberd of plain stainless steel with nano-thorns surrounding its blade tip. He wielded it against Leviathan, creating plumes of dust so great they briefly obscured him.[3] Armsmaster finished the nano-thorn halberd only the night before the Battle against Leviathan.[12][11]

He later created a miniaturized, pocket-knife version of the same device for Emily Piggot to use in demonstrations, which he kept on a stand on his desk. It was stolen by Mannequin and used to escape through the wall.[9] He later wielded it against Skitter in her territory.[6]

The Azazel Dragon suits could create nano-thorn "barricades".[1][4] They could lay down telescoping rails from which nano-thorns sprung,[1] which unfolded in milliseconds like a stick of bamboo growing leaves and shoots.[4] They could do this quickly enough to intercept a moving bus.[1] They could extend over and around a person in seconds. The blurs they created were five or six feet across.[4]

A Crawler clone, half his body destroyed by nano-thorns, regenerated it with red nano-thorn blurs around his arm, shoulder and leg. When he deliberately disintegrated his other arms, they grew back with similar alterations.[1]

Defiant built a nano-thorn generator into his leg,[8] allowing him to chop Bonesaw in half by kicking her.[13]

Defiant equipped his armor with shield-like panels on his forearms, shoulders and knees, each three or four feet long, marked with designs like a dragon’s wings, or with a dragon’s face engraved on the front, mouth open, with red lights glowing from within. They could become a "whirling flurry" of nano-thorns, which he used to strip away most of an Endbringer's body before turning to other weapons. He could also generate the blur effect around his spear.[2]

The Simurgh copied nano-thorn technology and integrated it into the Endbringer Leviathan, along with other improvements.[5]

With Masamune's help, Defiant created a number of small nano-thorn knives. He gave one to Taylor.[7]


  • Jack Slash probably couldn't use his powers on nano-thorns, as the effect consisted of a cloud of nanotech rather than residing in the knife itself.[14]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 26.x (Donation Interlude; Saint)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Sting 26.2
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Extermination 8.4
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Monarch 16.5
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Excerpt from Cockroaches 28.5
  6. 6.0 6.1 He reached into the hole where his neck and head were supposed to be and withdrew a small knife.

    I adjusted my posture. He was a tinker, and that knife could be anything.

    He pressed a switch, and it was soon surrounded with a gray blur. I recognized it as Armsmaster’s tech.

    A weapon with that exact same visual effect had done horrendous damage to Leviathan. - Excerpt from Plague 12.7
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 “Keep it away from heat. If the growths start knuckling together, then it’s probably clogged at the air intake. You can unscrew the cap at the butt of the knife and access the air intake there. Bake it at roughly five hundred degrees to clear it, then thoroughly vacuum. Pay attention to how long it takes the growths to hit maximum length… you’ll know because the colors at the ends are a lighter gray. Three point seven seconds is the optimum time. If it takes shorter then you’ll know something’s wrong with-“

    “The knife won’t degrade too much in the next day,” Dragon said. “And we have spares, thanks to Masamune.” - Excerpt from Venom 29.3
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Interlude 16.y
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Interlude 11d
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Venom 29.7
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Interlude 7
  12. To be fair to the man, though, Armsmaster did only create the first iteration of the disintegration Halberd with Dragon that very morning. - Comment by Wildbow on Extermination 8.4
  13. Interlude 19.x
  14. Haha. Funny thought. But the blade isn’t what has the disintegration effect. It’s the cloud that grows around it. - Comment by Wildbow on Interlude 11d