Homing Thistle is a premium plant that was released in the 2.9.1 update of Plants vs. Zombies 2. He attacks in a way similar to the Cattail, shooting spikes (every 1.7 - 2 seconds) that home in (as the name implies) on the zombie nearest to the Player's House. However, Cattail shoots two spikes at a time with each spike dealing 20 DPS, while Homing Thistle shoots one thistle instead with each thistle dealing 40 damage per shot. He now costs 100 gems. Like Cattail, Homing Thistle's attack is triggered by a zombie appearing in any lane.
In the 3.4.4 update of the game, the accuracy of Homing Thistle's attack was changed. Instead of every needle hitting the leftmost zombie, they are now much more inaccurate and will sometimes hit random zombies or even go off the lawn without hitting anything. Sometimes after he has destroyed a zombie, he will attack somewhere random, perhaps not hitting anything or damaging a gravestone. This was fixed as of the 5.7 update though; in the current version of the game it still shoots randomly after defeating a Zombie.
His name is a combination of the aforementioned "thistle"; and "homing missile," a weapon that is known to target a location or object and adjust his trajectory in order to hit, a quality present in Homing Thistle's projectile.
SUN COST: 250
RANGE: Full Board
Homing Thistles fire seeking shots at targets that are closest to home.
Don't even think about trying to pull one over on Homing Thistle. He's got a bead on you. He sees right through your facade. It's like he has a laser beam ... aimed at your soul.
Plant Food effect
When given Plant Food, it spins and shoots blue needles that target zombies on the screen or tombstones and any lawn obstacles if there are insufficient zombies. The blue projectiles deal 225 damage per shot each, and they sometimes encircle zombies for a long period of time. If there are no zombies present on the screen, it will fire the projectiles in a spiral shape.
|1||0||0||250||15 seconds||10 seconds||300 dps||40 dps||Normal||Full Board|
|2||10||1,000||250||14 seconds||10 seconds||350 dps||50 dps|
|3||25||2,500||225||13 seconds||9 seconds||400 dps||60 dps||+ 1.3x|
|4||50||5,000||225||12 seconds||9 seconds||450 dps||70 dps|
|5||100||10,000||200||11 seconds||9 seconds||550 dps||80 dps|
|6||200||20,000||200||10 seconds||8 seconds||600 dps||90 dps|
|7||400||30,000||200||9 seconds||8 seconds||650 dps||100 dps||+ 1.6x|
|8||800||50,000||175||8 seconds||7 seconds||700 dps||110 dps|
|9||1,200||75,000||175||7 seconds||5 seconds||800 dps||120 dps|
|10||1,600||100,000||150||5 seconds||5 seconds||900 dps||140 dps|
It now mixes normal blue projectiles with fire projectiles, which do more damage, and ice projectiles, which slow zombies.
Homing Thistle, in groups, can thin out the ranks of lesser zombies very quickly and pile on damage on single targets, making them a good complement to any offensive. Their flying thistles can target just about any enemy type from anywhere, including Snorkel Zombies while they are swimming, Prospector Zombies after they have jumped, and even Swashbuckler Zombies while they are swinging (the thistles will wait in ambush where they will land). Homing Thistle is also a good choice against Pirate Captain Zombie as a group of them can quickly kill his Zombie Parrot and prevent the plant from being stolen. Since they always target the enemy closest to the lawn mowers first, enemies closing in on the Player's House can expect to take additional damage even if their row is unoccupied.
Homing Thistle is also useful when only one or two Gargantuars are on screen, as five or more of them can easily overpower a Gargantuar. However, this is not advised when aside from the Gargantuars, there are other zombies on screen because the other zombies on screen might be closer to home than the Gargantuars are, letting the Gargantuars walk closer to your house.
Homing Thistle, however, requires mass planting for them to be effective by themselves, as groups of enemies with high toughness, such as Buckethead Zombies, can tank through a storm of thistles. This is complicated by their slow recharge time and, ironically, their priority on targets furthest ahead on the lawn, which often causes them to target lesser enemies while ignoring real threats like Buckethead Zombies, or especially high-level enemies such as Gargantuars or Wizard Zombies. If the player is using them exclusively as their only offense, it's best to support them with defensive plants such as Spikerock and Tall-nuts, while using plants such as Cherry Bombs, Chili Beans, Iceberg Lettuce, and similar plants to stall or pick off higher-level enemies.
Plants vs. Zombies Wiki has a gallery for Homing Thistle.
- He is the first non-seasonal plant to cost gems.
- He is the only plant so far to have two different Plant Food effect animations.
- He prioritizes zombies over stationary objects like surfboards and tombstones.
- If a Swashbuckler Zombie has not yet landed, his needles will circle around the tile it will land on until it touches ground.
- If the player uses Plant Food on him after all zombies have been defeated, he will shoot normal projectiles instead of the blue glowing ones.
- His projectile can be deflected by Jester Zombies. However, they will not home in on plants but rather go in a straight line.
- Homing Thistle's spikes find it hard to target a group or Zombies, especially for submerged Snorkel Zombie, as the former may tend to loop above their snorkels for a long time, up to when the spike correctly aims one of them. It may also vanish if it fails to aim a Zombie after a certain amount of time.
- If there are no zombies on and Plant Food is used on him, there is a bug where the spikes will loop in a circle in the same pattern.
- His idle animation resembles Hurrikale's and Hypno-shroom's.
- A Valenbrainz advertisement of the Homing Thistle states "Homing Thistle is where the heart is," a pun on the saying "Home is where the heart is."
- He technically has a "Full Board" area as he can target any zombie on-screen. In this way, he is similar to Blover and Thyme Warp.
- Unlike them, he can only target zombies one at a time, rather than affecting all of them.
- He resembles Flowering Caperticus from Clicker Heroes. However, this is most likely a coincidence.
- He is featured for free in Big Wave Beach - Days 21, 31, and 32.
- His projectile will disappear automatically if it exists on the field for more than five seconds.