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1.4 Summoner Minion, Whip & Armor In-Depth Tier List

Shyguymask

Terrarian
Guide Category
Weapon/Gear Use
Summoner in 1.3 was such a bad joke. The majority of the minions were weak and also stupid & unreliable, and there were few of them. Among other problems, Summoner was by far the weakest class in the game. That all changed with Journey's End, by not only introducing a number of new minions that were in most cases significantly stronger & especially smarter than other minions before that point, but whips were also introduced, giving Summoners a method of attacking directly that didn't involve using weapons from other classes. Whips also strengthen minions, in some cases by a very large amount. Lastly, there are new armor sets, such as Obsidian Armor which was changed into a Summoner-focused armor that prioritizes buffing whips over minion slots. There is also finally a Hallowed Armor variation for Summoner. Lastly, the Flinx Fur Coat is a pre-Boss armor piece that gives +1 minion slot. Combined with Flinx Staff and Pygmy Necklace being obtainable in pre-Hardmode, Summoner progression is also a lot smoother in pre-Hardmode.

With all of these changes and major buffs in mind, this skyrocketed Summoner's viability to the point it's now arguably the best class in the game after Tank Melee (Defense is broken). This also has to do with Ranger as a whole being nerfed, but my point stands. Even though Summoner is really strong now and has multiple deep playstyles, I see too many people act like they are well experienced with 1.4 Summoner and recommend the wrong options to newer players (Like using Blade Staff with Firecracker, or suggesting Optic Staff over Blade/Sanguine).

Somewhat based on Baconfry's hardmode weapon tier list (but with different colors), I will give a grade to all of Summoner's options from minions to whips to armor sets (I won't include sentries though, because I've never used sentries and know next to nothing about them, and most of them aren't really impactful or too useful from what I saw No Stardust Armor either, that's Post-Moon Lord). But first, the mindset/rules I will rank the options in the list with:

  • For minions specifically, mainly their DPS in practice, taking AI and other potential annoyances into account (if there's any). Also taking account defensive benefits such as having good AI that responds to regular mobs fast, being capable of stunlocking mobs and generally how good they are at protecting the player from threats as a whole.

  • For whips specifically, their range, standalone DPS, what they bring to the table for supporting/buffing and also how many viable minions they pair with in general.

  • For armors specifically, their stats obviously. But also how useful their set bonus is if they have one, and how good the armor set is for mixing armors (Forbidden Robes and Treads are good example).

  • For ALL options in general, their general availability and if grinding for them is worth the effort if needed. Also taking competition into account and for how long and how many tiers the option stays relevant & viable relative to other options through the game.

Now for what grades mean:

S rank: Essential options to consider, these options carry Summoner and most of them are somewhat overpowered for Terraria's standards in general.
A rank: Options that are great during pre-Hardmode but simply aren't insane like much of the Hardmode options. Or options that are just as good as S-tier options their peak, but either get replaced quickly and/or are very hard to obtain. Or options that are arguably just as good as S-tier options, but come later on and are perhaps not worth switching to.
B rank: Options that are relatively mediocre for Summoner standards but still might have one or two uses. Or options that are what you'd want to pick as Summoner but are simply obtained at a point where Summoner isn't at its strongest (Early pre-Hardmode for example).
C rank: Poor options that are most likely not worth paying attention toward if you want to optimize your Summoner playthrough. But if you want to challenge yourself, options here can make a playthrough more challenging without being TOO annoyingly weak & clunky.
D rank: Avoid

There will also be another rating indicating my "confidence" with an option: 5/5 means I'm perfectly experienced with the option and know just about everything there is to know, and nearly everything I'll say is facts I know are true. 1/5 means I pretty much never used the option and have limited knowledge of it, I might make assumptions and should be taken with a grain of salt in those cases.

Last thing to note: Whip Stacking. You can use multiple whips to stack their effects. For example, you can combine Leather Whip (4 Summon Tag damage) and Snapthorn (6 Summon Tag damage) to get 10 Summon Tag damage, that's higher than Durendal! It gets especially potent once more powerful whips like Durendal, Firecracker (Setup other whips to speed up melee speed and get more explosions) and Dark Harvest are obtained. It involves micro'ing and switching between multiple weapons often and can be difficult, but it's worth it and this technique will be taken into account significantly in the list. Anyway, let's get to the list already.




Minions


Finch_Staff.png
Finch Staff:
B+
(Confidence: 4/5): It does the job decently well as an early game summon weapon. Nothing about it is really impressive, but for a starter weapon it's pretty useful. It mostly gets replaced by Flinx Staff once its obtained, but that weapon needs some grinding as it requires venturing into a dangerous biome to obtain Flinx Fur, and also 10 Gold/Platinum bars. That said, Finch Staff also proves to be especially effective against Brain of Cthulhu thanks to the fact it doesn't gives i-frames and also doesn't bounce off targets (unlike Flinx), making it a good alternative to Flinx for killing Creepers if you haven't obtained Vampire Frog Staff.


Flinx_Staff.png
Flinx Staff: S- (Confidence: 4/5): Has probably the best AI out of all grounded minions despite being a pre-Boss minion (alongside Desert Tiger, which is Post-Plantera). It hits enemies rapidly and tend to be good at sticking to them, which makes it pair very well with Summon Tag and the Sharpening Station glitch (hold a Melee weapon while the buff is active, and minions will gain the 12 armor penetration). Lasts for very long through pre-Hardmode, in fact it is arguably viable all the up to Wall of Flesh's defeat!


Slime_Staff.png
Slime Staff: C+ (Confidence: 2/5): Pretty much just a worse version of Flinx Staff. Has the same base damage but the AI isn't as reliable, especially against aerial enemies as it can't jump nearly as high last time I checked. Grinding for it is out of the question and you'll only really get it out of pure luck. Even if you happen to obtain it minutes after creating your character, you'll still want to replace it with Flinx Staff anyway. Useful for farming with the Lucky Coin, but going out of your way to obtain both of these items is just not worth the effort at all unless you get extremely lucky.


Vampire_Frog_Staff.png
Vampire Frog Staff: A+ (Confidence: 4/5): Kinda similar to Slime Staff, but with more damage and also able to jump very high. Can be particularly effective against crowds of grounded enemies since they move a lot while attacking with contact damage. Similar to Flinx, it's useful through all of pre-Hardmode, being viable against even the Wall of Flesh. With the way they work, you can right click WoF's top eye ball and the frogs will start jumping up and down, hitting all three weak points of WoF and dealing rapid damage. Hold a Melee weapon with the Sharpening Station buff on for extra damage, you can also equip Bee armor to have more frogs ravaging WoF, though at that point it's more effective to mix with other minions taking i-frames into account (Imps + Frogs is what I found most effective). It's potentially as good if not better than Imp Staff as a result when using this strategy which is safer (although slower) than Obsidian Armor.

It would have been S-tier, however it is relatively difficult to obtain (12.5% drop from a miniboss during Blood Moon that needs fishing). Lastly, it's particularly useful when you just reached Hardmode, as it can easily hit multiple enemies and deal high damage with whips especially if you rush Ichor Flask (Black Recluses have 40 defense, which is high).


Hornet_Staff.png
Hornet Staff: C (Confidence: 3/5): You'd think the buff to its base damage combined with whips makes Hornet Staff finally worth something. Well, not really. While it is capable of dealing solid DPS with Summon Tag since its projectiles don't give i-frames, in reality it struggles to hit targets that actually move around like Queen Bee and Skeletron. There's also the Imp Staff that is more accessible and deals similar damage if not more, and although it has i-frame issues, it doesn't struggle to hit enemies like Skeletron thanks to its way faster projectile speed.


Imp_Staff.png
Imp Staff: A (Confidence: 4/5): It looks ugly, but it does the job fairly well. It deals decent damage but not a lot, its AI is just sufficiently competent and it's essentially a free pickup when you're taking a trip to the underworld for Hellforge (Obsidian Armor) and Molten Pickaxe. I-frame issues makes it frustrating to try using with Summon Tag, and it doesn't do a really great job at protecting you from other enemies. I do not fully know how reliable Flinx/Vampire Frog Staff are against aerial enemies/bosses, but from my experience they are both very decent against them. It's the best option when going against Wall of Flesh with Obsidian Armor, but if you like to keep your distance, mixing with Frogs is better and there will be less i-frame issues.


Spider_Staff.png
Spider Staff: A- (Confidence: 4/5): For how easy it is to obtain, it is a strong option to fend off Hardmode mobs. However it is pretty much useless against Hardmode bosses, which makes it last not very long compared to other viable Hardmode minions. Spider Staff should mainly be obtained as a way to fend off Hardmode mobs while you work on obtaining either Blade Staff or Sanguine Staff, it's also a great help to shred WoF when grinding for Firecracker & Summoner Emblem.


Pirate_Staff.png
Pirate Staff: B- (Confidence: 3/5): If you happen to get really lucky during a Pirate Invasion then this minion has a few minor uses. Spider Staff runs into i-frame issues when many of them are attacking the same target, so the pirates can increase overall damage output slightly. Don't expect a lot though, as their AI is bad and they are laughable bad at attacking aerial enemies. Other than that, it can perform pretty well the 2nd tier of the Old One's Army, potentially killing enemies around as fast if not slightly faster than even Sanguine & Blade Staff. But that's about it.


Sanguine_Staff.png
Sanguine Staff: S+ (Confidence: 5/5): Flawless AI that can keep up with any single enemy & boss, relatively high base damage and DPS standalone compared to other options, high knockback and not very hard to obtain if planning ahead. What more could you ask for the perfect minion? Whether running it as a support minion for other classes, a hybrid class for Forbidden Armor or to use with Firecracker with Obsidian Armor equipped, Sanguine can be used by any character with any class and will always provide a significant amount of free damage even against fast moving bosses. Depending on the setup its damage contribution is at worst significant, and at best rivaling with Daedalus Stormbow during pre-Mech, and that's not even bringing up Durendal which increases it and Firecracker's damage outputs even higher to the point of being able to kill Expert mode Plantera in under 30 seconds with a standard setup.

The closest it gets to having a flaw is its competition with Blade Staff (more on that soon), but as a whole it can easily be used all the way to the Lunar pillars or Terrarprisma, although there are rivaling or slightly better options Post-Plantera and Post-Golem like Blade Staff, Desert Tiger Staff, maybe Raven Staff and Xeno Staff (half of which are difficult to obtain and/or have less reliable AI). Another neat thing with the Sanguine Staff is that while at very close-range (or simply when an enemy is on top of you), the bats' attack will hit the same multiple times, leading to significantly higher damage. However, if you're thinking of a facetanking strategy involving Summoner, Blade Staff performs better in that aspect (again more on that soon).


Blade_Staff.png
Blade Staff: S+ (Confidence: 5/5): 'Don't let their small size fool you'
The most unique minion, in general one of the most unique weapons in the whole game. Because of its very fast attack speed but extremely low base damage, it pairs extremely well with Summon Tag damage. As a whole, its damage output depends on what whips the player uses and how skilled they are at whip stacking. Up to three or even four different Summon Tag whips can be juggled at once to bring Blade Staff to its limit. With Durendal and on good hands, its damage output is on par with Sanguine Staff with Firecracker, Durendal and Spider Armor. DPS aside, where Blade Staff shines even more is actually survivability, for two reasons.

First and directly, the Blade Staff's AI is perfectly consistent and will respond to threats instantly (even faster than Sanguine Staff does), and will proceed to utterly stunlock anything that isn't immune to knockback. It will even keep enemies stuck in midair. Whether it's a Giant Tortoise spinning at you or a Bone Lee dashing toward you, the blades will interrupt & stunlock them. More situationally, its idle animation also acts as a shield since its hitbox is always active, for example being able to block Dark Caster projectiles when one is shooting at you from above. The second reason Blade Staff is so beneficial for survivability is its base damage. Almost all of its damage comes from Armor Penetration and Summon Tag damage, percentage bonuses barely contribute to it at all. Whips do benefit from percentage bonuses, however until Post-Plantera whips, Blade Staff & Summon Tag are your main source of DPS against bosses. So where am I getting at here? With this in mind, you can reforge all of your accessories to Warding and also equip Hallowed Armor. Your overall damage output will hardly be lower at all, but your survivability and amount of mistakes you can make will skyrocket.

Let's look at my video comparing Blade Staff with Sanguine Staff for a minute. With Full Menacing and Spider Armor, both Blade Staff & Sanguine Staff kill Expert Plantera in 27.5 seconds. However, with Full Warding and Hallowed Armor, Blade Staff kills Expert Plantera in 31 seconds, while Sanguine does it in 35 seconds. It's a significant difference and an example of how much better Blade Staff fares with defensive builds compared to almost all other weapons in the game. In general, the Blade Staff + Warding Hallowed combo has an amazing balance of damage and survivability, and is one of the most dominant "setups" in the entire games, taking all progression points/tiers into account. A different strategy using Blade Staff that is also just as good is Titanium Facetank. This may lean toward Melee a bit, but Melee/Summoner hybrid is extremely powerful through most of Hardmode. Since the Titanium Armor set bonus creates a damage-dealing shard everytime you hit an enemy, Blade Staff pairs fantastically well with it. This lets you facetank most Hardmode bosses even in Master mode, mainly Destroyer and Plantera. If one goes with this strategy, Blade Staff will be just as dominant in pre-Mech as it is pre-Plantera in general.

When it comes to weaknesses, Blade Staff's damage output is overall outclassed by Sanguine Staff in pre-Mech (excluding Titanium Facetank) since Durendal isn't obtainable until one mech has been defeated. It may also be less viable against Nighttime Empress of Light, as in that fight your best option is Morning Star which gives a relatively low amount of Summon Tag Damage. Spinal Tap and Snapthorn are not viable options because of their short range, and Dark Harvest has no Summon Tag damage at all. It will immediately come back just as dominant once Kaleidoscope is obtained thanks to its high Summon Tag damage: excluding Post-Golem minions, it's arguably the best minion to use against Daytime Empress of Light as long as you have Kaleidoscope. Even then, Xeno Staff is only slightly better and is difficult to obtain, while Dragon/Cell are endgame weapons. Even though Blade Staff peaks at pre-Plantera, it's still one of the best minions through pre-Golem and post-Golem, and the only competition it has involves using armors that lack in survivability to maximize damage, as their damage output would suffer significantly otherwise.

To end it all, it's also useful for a couple of other tasks. Dungeon Guardian DPS, Lucky Coin if you manage to get that and also instantly killing Prismatic Lacewings for easy EoL summoning with no risk of wasting any summons. By the way, make a sky rail if you struggle with Queen Slime.


Optic_Staff.png
Optic Staff: B- (Confidence: 3/5): If you are using Blade Staff which is very bad against Destroyer (Unless using Titanium armor), the one use this weapon has is being a viable alternative to Sanguine Staff against Destroyer. Otherwise it is simply weaker than both Blade and Sanguine, not to mention they like getting stuck underground.


Pygmy_Staff.png
Pygmy Staff: C- (Confidence: 2/5): Similar situation as Optic Staff, immediately outclassed by Blade/Sanguine. Its projectiles may miss against flying enemies as well. Not much to talk about here.


Desert_Tiger_Staff.png
Desert Tiger Staff: A+
(Confidence: 3/5): Rare to see in a playthrough unless you got very lucky or went out of your way to grind for it. Summoners in Hardmode don't have much of a reason to go to the Desert in Hardmode, unless they are looking for Forbidden Armor. Its obviously best used with the Firecracker with Obsidian Armor, but it has an issue against aerial bosses like Empress of Light. While it has no issue going into ball mode and being able to hit EoL, it will still have decreased DPS overall because it's not hitting as rapidly and producing less explosions with Firecracker. It struggles to outperform Blade Staff/Kaleidoscope against EoL, and that's not taking the fact that Blade Staff has the option of having Hallowed Armor instead which makes it stronger overall.

Additionally, there are time where the tiger gives up and goes into "return mode" in a similar manner as Xeno Staff, which hurts its performance further when it happen. Boss fights are not where Desert Tiger Staff shines, but against regular enemies. A "technique" that I call the "Pounce spam", simply keep re-summoning the tiger repetitively and it will go crazy, going after everything on your screen at very fast speed while in ball form. This is extremely powerful in the Hardmode dungeon especially, and in the Pumpkin Moon the tiger can freely maul Mourning Woods and other enemies without issues. But as a whole, I feel like the Desert Tiger Staff is overrated based on everything I've seen, mainly against Empress of Light.


Deadly_Sphere_Staff.png
Deadly Sphere Staff: C (Confidence: 1/5): If a few are combined with Sanguine Staff, you MIGHT be able to get barely higher DPS against bosses... that's the closest it has to having a use. As far as I'm aware this is just another staff that is immediately outclassed and has no real uses.


Raven_Staff.png
Raven Staff: A
(Confidence: 3/5): A decent sidegrade to Blade/Sanguine, Raven Staff is capable of dealing more damage than both but is held back by a less reliable AI that sometimes get stuck in "return mode", mainly when moving away from enemies "too fast" or something. Performs well on both defensive (Hallowed Armor) and offensive setups, as it hits somewhat rapidly giving no i-frames similar to Blade Staff, while also having pretty high base damage. Use this weapon if you want to stick close to bosses to maximize DPS.


Xeno_Staff.png
Xeno Staff: A- (Confidence: 4/5): One of the fastest attacking minions after Blade Staff, it can be very powerful when coupled with Kaleidoscope, surpassing Blade, Sanguine and even Raven Staff. However like Raven Staff, it has unreliable AI and likes to get itself stuck in "return mode" which makes it frustrating to use. It may be the strongest Post-Golem summon minion still, but not only is it quite annoying to obtain (16% drop from one of if not the most frustrating enemy in the game), but it gets replaced very quickly by either Terraprisma or Stardust Cell Staff, the latter which can be considered a stronger version of Xeno Staff. It's only really useful if you are looking to fight Daytime EoL at specifically Post-Golem.


Tempest_Staff.png
Tempest Staff: C+ (Confidence: 2/5): For a Duke Fishron drop, it is a very lackluster weapon. Its projectiles can often miss, and even if it can hit things consistently, its damage output struggles to match Blade/Sanguine depending on the tier and is simply worse than Xeno Staff. You can get this pre-Mech if you want, but it still hardly deal more damage than Blade/Sanguine at that stage, and killing Duke pre-Mech is arguably harder than killing the Mech bosses themselves.


Stardust_Dragon_Staff.png
Stardust Dragon Staff: S (Confidence: 4/5): Re-Logic made a mistake. The dragon on its own could already shred enemies, but Firecracker brought it to a whole new level. With Obsidian Armor, each explosion from Firecracker will deal over 700 damage or around that. Combined with the Dragon's own damage output, this can deal up to 5000+ DPS against Empress of Light, but this is inconsistent as the dragon's AI attacks in an inconsistent manner. Nevertheless, it is one of the highest damaging weapons in the entire game after Zenith, even taking Moon Lord drops into account. Even Phantasm + Ichor Arrows struggles to match Stardust Dragon/Firecracker/Dark Harvest/Obsidian Armor on good hands. Kaleidoscope can be used as an easier alternative to Firecracker at the cost of slightly or moderately lower damage output.

Reason it's not ranked S+ is because it's obtained near the end of the game, its AI is again inconsistent and it's also bad against crowds, clumsily going after one enemy at time. Compared to Stardust Cell Staff, cells are more consistent against Empress of Light while having around the same damage output, but dragon is still most likely better against Moon Lord since it excels at hugging Moon Lord's weak points and eating its health bar.


Stardust_Cell_Staff.png
Stardust Cell Staff: S (Confidence: 4/5): I still don't fully understand the way it attacks enemies to this day, but what I do know is that for some reasons the cells seem to attack significantly faster when hitting enemies with another weapon, including whips. This, combined with Kaleidoscope's Summon Tag and the DPS of the whip itself, makes Stardust Cell Staff deal disturbing amounts of damage. In fact, despite the general consensus at the time of writing, it's actually around on par with Stardust Dragon Staff in term of damage output, at least against Empress of Light. With Spooky Armor, the cells can easily surpass 5000+ on the DPS meter just like Stardust Dragon Staff, and the cells are arguably more consistent as well. It also pairs very well with Hallowed Armor, still being able to deal thousands of DPS in that case. Not to mention it's blatantly better against the Lunar events! It has received zero direct changes in 1.4, yet it's drastically stronger than in 1.3, one of the most "buffed" weapons in the whole game thanks to whips.

With the way I'm describing Stardust Cell Staff, I sound like I believe it's overall slightly better than the Stardust Dragon Staff, and I do believe it's debatably the case! I still rank it S though because it comes very late into the game, but it's not too far from being S+.


Terraprisma.png
Terraprisma: A+ (Confidence: 3/5): Despite perfect AI and sweeping the lunar events with no struggle, it has even higher single target DPS than both Stardust Dragon/Cell Staff with whips. The problem is that to obtain it, you have to kill Daytime Empress of Light, which is arguably harder than Moon Lord. It's worth it, but if you can kill Daytime EoL, you can kill Moon Lord and simply finish the game. That said, Dragon is debatably better for Moon Lord as well, since it has a noticeably higher aggro range than Terraprisma, so Dragon is favored when playing defensively and relying on passive damage from minions.




Whips

Leather_Whip.png
Leather Whip: B+ (Confidence: 5/5): A very weak weapon on its own even for whip standards, it should only be used for whip stacking with Snapthorn to increase Summon Tag damage. Even then, it takes a little while before Zoologist moves in, and its high base price of 15 Gold makes it skippable.


Snapthorn.png
Snapthorn: S- (Confidence: 5/5): Not very strong on its own, but the 6 Summon Tag damage helps greatly early on, especially against high-armor pre-Hardmode enemies that Flinx Staff in particular will struggle with otherwise. You can combine this with the Sharpened Station glitch and achieve high DPS to burst down sturdy enemies. Additionally, the poison is very powerful against worm enemies and Brain of Cthulhu's Creepers, dealing a lot of damage overtime. What makes it truly stand out however is its abnormal longevity: It's a pre-Boss weapon that stays relevant all the way up to Plantera. Once Spinal Tap is obtained the Snapthorn can give it higher attack speed while providing additional Summon Tag damage, and it stays useful for that purpose in Hardmode if you use Blade Staff. With Blade Staff in mind, Snapthorn (and Spinal Tap) only get replaced after Plantera by Morning Star & Dark Harvest, but this is assuming you plan on taking on Empress of Light. They will still do very well if you rush to Golem.


Spinal_Tap.png
Spinal Tap: S-
(Confidence: 5/5): Similar case as Snapthorn, but on its own is a moderately powerful weapon. Significantly higher base damage than Snapthorn and has a way smaller damage penalty against multiple enemies, even lower than Durendal. With Obsidian Armor, it is one of the top weapons for killing the Wall of Flesh in a short amount of time, being capable of shredding Hungries & Leeches while damaging the eyes & mouth at the same time. It can also handle Hardmode enemies well, but at that point it will soon be either replaced or made into a support whip for Summon Tag damage, depending on the minion chosen.


Firecracker.png
Firecracker: S (Confidence: 4/5): Despite being a Wall of Flesh drop, this weapon actually becomes STRONGER as Hardmode progresses. In Pre-mech its base damage and range makes it solid as a weapon to fend off regular enemies, and combined with Sanguine Staff it is one of the strongest pre-Mech weapons as a whole, only Dart Pistol/Rifle, Daedalus Stormbow and Duke Fishron being able to match its damage output. Durendal's significant attack speed buff increases its DPS even further, being able to kill Expert Plantera in under 30 seconds on good hands. If you manage to obtain Desert Tiger Staff you can deal super high DPS against grounded enemies like Mourning Woods, and to a lesser extent aerial enemies like Pumpkings and Empress of Light as well.

Where Firecracker peaks however is post-Cultist, thanks to Stardust Dragon Staff. Since the dragon deals hundreds of damage each hit, Firecracker's explosions will reach around 700+ damage with Obsidian armor and I believe 1000+ with Spooky Armor. Though Obsidian Armor is recommended over Spooky Armor for this purpose, mainly for Empress of Light. Either way, from pre-Mech to Post-Cultist the Firecracker remains a dominant weapon for nearly all of Hardmode. That said, it can be challenging to use as it requires constant whipping to keep up the DPS, the middling range makes it a riskier option than Summon Tag whips since those effects last for several seconds. Furthermore, it needs a good amount of percentage damage bonuses from armors & accessories to bring out its potential, and combined with the fact you'll want to use it with mainly Obsidian Armor, a Firecracker user will naturally be a glass cannon and can easily die from mistakes in boss fights or when trapped against underground mobs.


Cool_Whip.png
Cool Whip: B+ (Confidence: 4/5): Despite being the worst whip alongside Leather whip, It's still underrated and has a few uses. Mainly, acting as a temporary substitute for Durendal for Blade Staff Pre-Mech. Both Spinal Tap and Snapthorn have low base damage and aren't remotely efficient for DPS in Hardmode. The Cool Whip has the highest base damage & range of all Pre-Mech whips, and combined with Frostburn + Snowflake minions, it gives you something to deal extra damage with after you've already set up Spinal Tap & Snapthorn tag damage. Not to mention it has enough range to be able to hit Spazmatism's first phase unlike Spinal Tap and Snapthorn. Another use it has is if you are grinding for Firecracker from Wall of Flesh, this whip can help shred WoF with Obsidian Armor especially. But at the end of the day, as I said, it's still just a substitute for until you get either Durendal or Firecracker depending on your setup. B+ is appropriate for it.


Durendal.png
Durendal: S (Confidence: 5/5): Solid base damage, relatively high Summon Tag and high melee speed boost, the Durendal is an essential weapon to pick up for any Summoners. For Blade Staff especially the Summon Tag is a big DPS boost, with the weapon itself also being a proper DPS whip to an extent as well. While it may have significantly short range than the whips that come after it, it's still able to hit Empress of Light easily if you hit her right after the dash attacks. This is mainly beneficial for Blade Staff fighting Nighttime Empress. With Obsidian Armor however it has enough range to consistently hit EoL safely, so you can keep it and Dark Harvest running nearly all time easily when whip stacking. In general if you can triple-whip stack, it can be useful through the rest of the game including Moon Lord.


Dark_Harvest.png
Dark Harvest: S (Confidence: 4/5): Like the Durendal, it provides a significant Melee speed boost, in fact the boost is even bigger. It's a must have support whip for the rest of the game as soon as it's obtained, even Melee characters would want to use it. However, the complete lack of Summon Tag is disappointing, though the dark energy effect is decent if coupled with Blade Staff.


Morning_Star.png
Morning Star: A (Confidence: 4/5): A solid DPS whip (in spite of its slower attack speed) that is not hard to obtain either. It has the lowest damage penalty of all whips when striking multiple enemies, making it perfect to clean the early waves of Pumpkin Moon. Additionally, its very high knockback make it great to get enemies off you. From what I've experienced, Morning Star + Dark Harvest can deal slightly more DPS than solo Dark Harvest, so for setups that don't use Firecracker, it is arguably the weapon of choice for Nighttime Empress of Light. It however quickly get replaced by Kaleidoscope, and builds using Firecracker may simply skip it as well. This is not necessarily the Morning Star's fault, it's more about the fact the majority of whips in the game are broken.


Kaleidoscope.png
Kaleidoscope: S- (Confidence: 5/5): Re-Logic forgot that whips are supposed to be "Support" weapons for minions, and made this weapon forgetting that Summoner has one other entire half of DPS (Minions) at its disposal. The 20 Summon Tag alone is a big contributor and gives a significant DPS boost to any rapidly-hitting minions like Blade Staff, Xeno Staff and Stardust Cell Staff. As for the weapon itself, it sports the highest range of all whips while being tied with the Morning Star for highest base damage, as well as having one of the lowest damage penalty percentages when hitting multiple enemies. With this in mind, Kaleidoscope is an extremely powerful weapon that annihilates clumps of enemies while still having high single-target DPS, especially for a "Support" weapon. Taking at least Dark Harvest into account, Kaleidoscope can deal 1000+ DPS, with Obsidian Armor easily over 2000. Then you add Minions, and your overall DPS is up to 5000+ when coupled with Stardust Cell Staff. Kaleidoscope is broken because it's a large source of bonus DPS when you already get enough from minions, but it's not ranked S+ because it is somewhat difficult to obtain (25% drop from Empress of Light, one of the harder fights in the game that isn't easy to cheese like Queen Slime and Dreadnautilus are).




Armors (Excluding Old One's Army armor sets)

Flinx_Fur_Coat.png
Flinx Coat: A
(Confidence: 2/5): An odd armor that only has one piece. This could be considered a blessing in disguise in a way since the +1 minion slot is the only thing you're looking for when it comes to a pre-Boss Summoner armor set. This lets you use other armor pieces. Ancient Shadow Armor is probably the best option, as it gives a good amount of defense and also melee speed for whips. But this is also a very unrealistic option as it requires grinding Eater of Souls for the helmet & greaves, at 0.19% chance for each. Gold/Platinum Armor is a more realistic option and also my favorite, if I'm carrying the Chainmail in my social slot I can freely switch between Flinx Coat and Chainmail as a sort of "Offense/Defense" switch.

Obsidian_armor.png
Obsidian Armor: S+ (Confidence: 4/5): The boost it gives to whips alone are huge, but there's also the fact that the percentage damage bonus it gives to Summon damage is only surpassed by Spooky Armor, Stardust Armor and Tier 3 Old One's Army armor sets. And yet it still grants +1 minion slot, because why not. No but seriously, It's a pre-Hardmode armor set that stays dominant for the entire, and I mean it, entire game, up to Moon Lord. By removing the weaknesses of whips (Subpar damage and range in the majority of cases), they become some of if not the strongest weapons in the game depending on the tier. Spinal Tap with Vampire Frogs and/or Imps is top tier for Wall of Flesh, Firecracker with Sanguine Staff is top tier for Mech bosses & Plantera and Stardust Dragon with Firecracker or Kaleidoscope (Safer but somewhat less damage) is top tier for Moon Lord.

Its weakest (but still solid) points are probably Skeletron (since Snapthorn is weak) and Nighttime Empress of Light. It's hard to explain, but both Desert Tiger and Morning Star are options that don't dominate their tier like earlier Hardmode options did. They are relatively minor upgrades if not sidegrades, when other classes get significantly bigger upgrades in term of weapons. Even then, as I said, Obsidian Armor remains strong forever and doesn't ever need to be replaced (unless you want to change playstyle), which saves up a significant amount of time & resources. Of course, I'm not going to ignore the elephant in the room: Its survivability is really bad. Hardmode onwards, its 15 defense is low even for Summoner standards and makes you a true glass cannon. However, the positives greatly outweigh the negatives, and on the hands of a skilled player the Obsidian Armor lets them kill all enemies with ease, whether it's big clumps of regular enemies or bosses. Just be ready to have a more frustrating experience in the Underground and Hardmode Dungeon.

Bee_armor.png
Bee Armor: B+ (Confidence: 4/5): The only advantage this armor has over Obsidian Armor is the additional minion slot. Even then, it has a somewhat lower damage bonus, and also slightly lower defense. Not to mention it's more difficult to obtain, requiring killing Queen Bee twice. Still, having one more minion can help for exploring the dungeon considering whips tend to have low knockback, and against the Wall of Flesh you can perform the Sharpened Station strategy and rely on Vampire Frog Staff or a mix of Frogs/Imps to take down the Wall of Flesh. Right click the upper eye with a Summon staff, switch to holding a Melee weapon and wait until the WoF is killed in a reasonable amount of time.

Spider_armor.png
Spider Armor: A (Confidence: 4/5): Despite Obsidian Armor's big increases to whips, Spider Armor is actually capable of dealing around the same DPS with Sanguine Staff and Firecracker. The Sanguine Bats themselves are strong and having more of them increases damage output, but there's also the fact that despite the increased attack speed with Obsidian Armor, Firecracker won't produce many more explosions most of the time because there are fewer bats to activate it. While Obsidian Armor is still overall better because of the significantly higher range for whips, Spider Armor is a more balanced alternative especially for safer Underground grinding or if you just aren't skilled with whips and plays more passively. Either way, it gets replaced by Hallowed Armor quickly however.

Forbidden_armor.png
Forbidden Armor: A+ / S- (?) (Confidence: 2/5): Ranking this armor in particular is difficult, mainly because it's mostly unexplored. Playing like a Mage with a minion like Sanguine Staff to provide significant additional DPS is indeed very powerful, in fact when you run out of mana you can switch to using whips to keep dealing damage while your mana recharges. But this leads to a bunch of question:

Does Pure Summoner deal more damage? Should you just drink mana potions instead of resorting to whips when low on mana? Is Sanguine/Firecracker or Blade/Durendal better for damage output, taking into the account the fact that Summon Tag damage makes the latter deal increased damage for longer? No matter what though, you'll be dealing a good amount of damage at the least and the armor is good for mixing with other armor pieces. Forbidden Robes & Treads each give +40 max mana, +10% damage to magic or summon and +1 max minion, which is a ton.

Hallowed_armor_Hood.png
Hallowed Armor: S (Confidence: 4/5): Thanks to its incredible Holy Protection set bonus, this armor alone can flip Summoner from a "fragile" class to one with high survivability in practice. Sure, any class can pick a defensive armor, but in reality their damage output will significantly suffer as most defensive armor sets including Hallowed Armor have subpar damage bonuses. This also applies to the Summoner variant, but in reality it has a saving grace: The Blade Staff. Instead of relying on base damage & percentage bonuses, you can build your offense around armor penetration & Summon Tag and actually be able to deal nearly as much damage as with builds that prioritize offense. Allow me to copy paste this bit from the Blade Staff section:

Until Post-Plantera whips, Blade Staff & Summon Tag are your main source of DPS against bosses. So where am I getting at here? With this in mind, you can reforge all of your accessories to Warding and also equip Hallowed Armor. Your overall damage output will hardly be lower at all, but your survivability and amount of mistakes you can make will skyrocket.

Let's look at my video comparing Blade Staff with Sanguine Staff for a minute. With Full Menacing and Spider Armor, both Blade Staff & Sanguine Staff kill Expert Plantera in 27.5 seconds. However, with Full Warding and Hallowed Armor, Blade Staff kills Expert Plantera in 31 seconds, while Sanguine does it in 35 seconds. It's a significant difference and an example of how much better Blade Staff fares with defensive builds compared to almost all other weapons in the game. In general, the Blade Staff + Warding Hallowed combo has an amazing balance of damage and survivability, and is one of the most dominant "setups" in the entire games, taking all progression points/tiers into account.

In short, when used to its full potential, the Hallowed Armor provides an amazing balance of offense and defense, allowing you to make more mistakes in boss fights and generally fare significantly better in the Underground Jungle & Hardmode Dungeon all things considered. Holy Protection combined with Blade Staff stunlocking enemies and also running full Armored/Warding on accessories, I don't remember the last time I died with this setup. It stays strong for the rest of the game, as later summons like Xeno Staff and Stardust Cell Staff also perform well with Summon Tag.

Tiki_armor.png
Tiki Armor: B- (Confidence: 3/5): A weaker version of an armor that is obtained right after, said armor that can be considered a sidegrade to Hallowed Armor, even. If you like burning your money to the Witch Doctor, I suppose this armor can make grinding the Pumpkin Moon slightly faster, but if you die even once then that's 1 platinum 50 gold wasted when you could have just stick to the Hallowed Armor.

Spooky_armor.png
Spooky Armor: A+ (Confidence: 3/5): While certainly strong especially on paper, on practice it faces heavy competition with both Hallowed Armor and Obsidian Armor. Spooky Armor can make you deal significantly more DPS than Hallowed Armor, but you have to give up Holy Protection for it. As for comparisons with Obsidian Amor, the most noteworthy thing is that Spooky Armor is unable to use Firecracker effectively against Empress of Light, as the range is too short to be able to hit EoL consistently let alone safely. If you manage to get your hands on Kaleidoscope however, this enables Spooky Armor to compete with Obsidian Armor as the range is sufficient and the base damage is very high. I'd still say Obsidian Armor is better though because of the higher range on whips making it safer to use. Similar to Spider Armor however, Spooky Armor is a good option for less experienced players as it lets you deal significant DPS while playing more passively. Lastly, Spooky Breastplate is great for mixed armor sets, giving +2 max minions.

Stardust_armor.png
Stardust Armor: Unranked: Not ranked as it's only obtainable after the game is over and there's nothing else to do.
 
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qwerty3.14

Terrarian
Flinx staff should be S+ you can easily get it early game and its a viable option for all of pre hardmode. In the early game distruption is very important as your movement is much more limited and this minion does distruption pretty well, and with STN and whips it can do some pretty good dps to bosses. The base dps you can get from 3 flinxes + snap tag 84 (before defense) that alone is on par if not better than most weapons deal at this stage of progression, and being minions means it adds to whatever weapon you're using.
Their AI also works well against bosses, they bounce on top of them dealing damage constantly until a boss does a charge attack, after that they will jump back on and continue doing damage.
The only minion that can compete with it is vampire frog but that's rng to get, and it's better than the imp staff in most situations.

Spider staff being a lower rank than imp doesn't really make sense to me. Spider staff is a huge upgrade over whatever pre hardmode minion you've used and adds a solid chunk to your damage output and distruption in early hardmode. Wall cheese is also fairly high demand in early hardmode which spider does very well.
Imp compared to flinx staff almost feels like a downgrade.

I don't get how pirate staff is ranked lower than slime staff, can't everything you say about the pirate staff be said about the slime staff? It's super rare, and its overall worse than a minion you likely already have.
 

J Bame

Terrarian
However, Vampire Frog Staff is most likely a stronger option against Wall of Flesh especially if going with Bee armor for the fight.

Just a nitpick here but my tests against the Wall show the Imps and Frogs getting roughly the same results against the Wall.

Another neat thing with the Sanguine Staff is that while at very close-range (or simply when an enemy is on top of you), the bats will attack multiple times faster.
This shouldn't be true, the Bat's attack should always last 66 frames regardless of distance. What you are probably seeing here is that the Bat can hit the same enemy multiple times in one attack if it stays on top of it while it's returning.

Pirate_Staff.png
Pirate Staff: F (Confidence: 3/5): Pirate Staff
Ok, you treat this as a meme because (I assume) of its extreme rarity and its poor performance against bosses. Yet Slime Staff has the exact same weaknesses and is just as hard if not harder to obtain and it gets a B rank. I'm sensing some bias here.
 

Shyguymask

Terrarian
Flinx staff should be S+ you can easily get it early game and its a viable option for all of pre hardmode. In the early game distruption is very important as your movement is much more limited and this minion does distruption pretty well, and with STN and whips it can do some pretty good dps to bosses. The base dps you can get from 3 flinxes + snap tag 84 (before defense) that alone is on par if not better than most weapons deal at this stage of progression, and being minions means it adds to whatever weapon you're using.
Their AI also works well against bosses, they bounce on top of them dealing damage constantly until a boss does a charge attack, after that they will jump back on and continue doing damage.
The only minion that can compete with it is vampire frog but that's rng to get, and it's better than the imp staff in most situations.

Spider staff being a lower rank than imp doesn't really make sense to me. Spider staff is a huge upgrade over whatever pre hardmode minion you've used and adds a solid chunk to your damage output and distruption in early hardmode. Wall cheese is also fairly high demand in early hardmode which spider does very well.
Imp compared to flinx staff almost feels like a downgrade.

I don't get how pirate staff is ranked lower than slime staff, can't everything you say about the pirate staff be said about the slime staff? It's super rare, and its overall worse than a minion you likely already have.
Agree on Flinx Staff rising to S-tier, but S+ is too much tbh. On its own it's not as crazy as Blade/Sanguine staff are, it doesn't blatantly outclass almost if not all other options from other classes. Demon Scythe and Minishark loadouts rivals Flinx staff setups very well among other things. As for Blade/Sanguine, excluding Duke Fishron drops the only thing that remotely impress them is Daedalus against mech bosses I think. As far as my knowledge goes there are no weapons that competes with Blade/Sanguine staff with Durendal Pre-Plantera. In short, Flinx Staff is good and I could rise it, but not S+ as it's not as super dominant as Blade/Sanguine are compared to other classes' options.

I could put Spider Staff to A- too, if it kills WoF as fast as you are describing (didn't take that into account).

Slime Staff is an early Pre-HM Pre-boss weapon, Pirate Staff is a Pre-mech weapon. At least I think Slime Staff is slightly better than Finch Staff from what I experienced. It can do alright while you're grinding for Flinx Staff. It's useable against King Slime as well, maybe against Eater of Worlds as well? Pirate Staff is just depressing.

Just a nitpick here but my tests against the Wall show the Imps and Frogs getting roughly the same results against the Wall.
Were frogs tested with Bee armor + holding a Melee weapon with Sharpened? This is what I have in mind for a "Safe" Vampire Frog Wof strat that doesn't involve whips. If Frogs and Imps still get equal results at that point then I'll be thinking of dropping frogs and/or rising imps.

This shouldn't be true, the Bat's attack should always last 66 frames regardless of distance. What you are probably seeing here is that the Bat can hit the same enemy multiple times in one attack if it stays on top of it while it's returning.
Make sense, I'll update the description.

EDIT: Spider Staff rose to A-, Flinx Staff rose to S-, a small bit of wording altered
 
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J Bame

Terrarian
Were frogs tested with Bee armor + holding a Melee weapon with Sharpened? This is what I have in mind for a "Safe" Vampire Frog Wof strat that doesn't involve whips. If Frogs and Imps still get equal results at that point then I'll be thinking of dropping frogs and/or rising imps.
There is no "safe" strategy using Sharpened, since the only viable melee weapons here are Night's Edge and Sunfury which both have range issues, and using the Frogs alone while keeping your distance is one of the worst things you can do and significantly outclassed by using any other weapon alongside them. Sharpened is also just another Snapthorn tag at the end of the day so its impact won't be so significant, especially against the Wall's Eyes that only have 6 defense.

In the thread every Weapon tested with both Imps and Frogs showed no significant difference between the two. The safest and most efficient strategy was Obsidian Armor with Spinal Tap and Snapthorn, with the Range bonus and the low dropoff of Spinal Tap the Hungries are deleted from the fight, so the only thing left is the Lasers which just tickle you. In this setup the Imps did marginally better.
 

Shyguymask

Terrarian
There is no "safe" strategy using Sharpened, since the only viable melee weapons here are Night's Edge and Sunfury which both have range issues, and using the Frogs alone while keeping your distance is one of the worst things you can do and significantly outclassed by using any other weapon alongside them. Sharpened is also just another Snapthorn tag at the end of the day so its impact won't be so significant, especially against the Wall's Eyes that only have 6 defense.

In the thread every Weapon tested with both Imps and Frogs showed no significant difference between the two. The safest and most efficient strategy was Obsidian Armor with Spinal Tap and Snapthorn, with the Range bonus and the low dropoff of Spinal Tap the Hungries are deleted from the fight, so the only thing left is the Lasers which just tickle you. In this setup the Imps did marginally better.
This video is worth looking into then.

It involves mixing with Flinx Staff as well, but I don't know if it led to increased DPS, but either way you get the point. I had mostly if not only Warding modifier and it still only took around a minute to clear Expert WoF without WASD:

 

Nimta

Duke Fishron
I think it's pretty fair to say that the sentries aren't too worthwhile to evaluate, though I must add pure summoner in 1.4.0.X was greatly aided by the Ballista Rod for Wall of Flesh specifically, though that could be because the meta hadn't developed enough at the time to allow whip stacking to really be effective for many people, or even thought of depending on when.
 

J Bame

Terrarian
This video is worth looking into then.

It involves mixing with Flinx Staff as well, but I don't know if it led to increased DPS, but either way you get the point. I had mostly if not only Warding modifier and it still only took around a minute to clear Expert WoF without WASD:

A one minute is actually somewhat average/mediocre at least compared to other things i tested. As far as i remember SnapTap with Obsidian armor can kill it in less than 20 seconds.

It also doesnt look like abusing Sharpened is worth it at all. The Eyes have 6 defense so not only is Sharpened at half efficiency here, you could replace it with a Shark Tooth Necklace, get almost the same DPS bonus (only worse because the Mouth has 18 defense) and the full DPS of a main weapon. The accessory slot cost doesnt really matter since phm doesnt have a lot to work with and WoF isnt a boss that requires a lot of mobility.

The best way to abuse Sharpened would be in a Melee build that uses minions with Night's Edge as a main... and that's still outclassed by SnapTap which has a similar kill time but it's much safer.
 

Shyguymask

Terrarian
A one minute is actually somewhat average/mediocre at least compared to other things i tested. As far as i remember SnapTap with Obsidian armor can kill it in less than 20 seconds.
Yeah, a glass cannon setup that enables WASD movement and plays unrealistically greedy will kill WoF wayyyy faster than a Warding setup with a safer playstyle playing without WASD keys. That's not the point, and even if it was, it's an unfair comparison, not to mention there is no video.

It also doesnt look like abusing Sharpened is worth it at all. The Eyes have 6 defense so not only is Sharpened at half efficiency here, you could replace it with a Shark Tooth Necklace, get almost the same DPS bonus (only worse because the Mouth has 18 defense) and the full DPS of a main weapon. The accessory slot cost doesnt really matter since phm doesnt have a lot to work with and WoF isnt a boss that requires a lot of mobility.
Considering enemies reduce damage received by half of their defense as far as I know, +3 damage each hit on a minion that normally deals 10~ damage is respectable. But the mouth is the main target that is also the reason for using Sharpened. The topic is about minions and not them being support for a main weapon from another class.

Also, the best Melee weapon to use along this is Sunfury, as not only keeping the button held down creates an orbiting shield around you, but you can spam Bone glove projectiles at WoF from a distance at the same time. Objectively speaking going up and close with Obsidian armor is not safer than keeping your distance, letting frogs do the work and having a barrier with Sunfury shielding. Imp Staff does around almost twice as much damage per hit, but hits like 1/3 as often as frogs while having worse i-frame issues. I fail to see how Imps are better on a defensive playstyle specifically, especially considering I'd assume in your WoF tests the frogs did not attack WoF by jumping up and down hitting all three parts which is more efficient (again, there is no video).
 

Luminelia

Terrarian
since sgm didnt list anything above blade staff here's my thoughts on them:

Optic Staff: B-
it's an alright minion with decent dps, it's weakness however is the inability to phase through blocks unlike other minions, whch holds it back when fighting on tight spaces like underground jungle or dungeon

Pygmy Staff: C-
a slightly better pirate staff. however, the spears they throw are quite slow and often struggle against aerial enemies

Deadly Sphere Staff: B
Basically the same as Raven Staff, but can damage more than one enemies, and since you can obtain them in the same part of the game(post-Plantera) this makes it the superior summon

Raven Staff: C
while it also dashes like Deadly Sphere Staff, it cannot pierce, making it the inferior potion

Desert Tiger Staff: A-
it's a cute minion that stacks up with more minion slots like the stardust dragon, unlike other melee minions, this one can pounce, allowing it to target aerial enemies. what holds it back however is it can only target one enemy at a time and as post-plantera events often consists of a lot of enemies(the two moon events, more powerful solar eclipse) it's better suited on bosses, even then it cannot target aerial bosses that easily due to it being grounded.

Xeno Staff: A
A post-golem blade staff wannabe but without anything blade staff is good at. it has a high attack rate but short range. it's only advantage is it's extreme speed, it teleports to a nearby enemy when it can't reach it. But still, as it's a post-Golem weapon, you'd either go for a tempest staff or the stardust staffs instead.

Tempest Staff: A+
Tempest Staff summons a sharknado which in turn shoots sharkrons at the enemy, unlike most summons, the sharknado has contact damage. and due to Duke Fishron being technically available at the start of hardmode, skilled players can take on the duke, obtain this staff and shred through the mech bosses. What holds it back from S tier however is the same problem with pygmy staff, it can only shoot from a limited range and doesn't really hold up against mobile, aerial bosses like the empress of light or the two moon bosses. but still, as it's available at the start of hardmode for the skilled ones, i think it's a solid staff.

Stardust Dragon Staff: S-
just a solid dragon that's very agile, high attack rate, and stacks damage the more minion slots you put into the dragon.

Stardust Cell Staff: S
Xeno staff but better, Unlike xeno staff, stardust cells apply a stacking damage over time debuff to the enemies it hits. it also teleports to it's next targets like the xeno staff. as such, it's a solid tank busting minion. but doesn't fare well against a large group of enemies.

Terraprisma: S
the strongest minion there is, unlike the pre-moon lord stardust minions, this minion is obtainable post-plantera, however, the challenge lies on obtaining the minion as you gotta face the empress of light in the day, which you have to not get hit(unless you have hallowed armor or dodge accessories) to get it. but if you do obtain it, you shred through the rest of the game.
 

qwerty3.14

Terrarian
Optic Staff: B-
it's an alright minion with decent dps, it's weakness however is the inability to phase through blocks unlike other minions, whch holds it back when fighting on tight spaces like underground jungle or dungeon
It's dps is worse than the spider staff, since for some dumb reason it causes 12 iframes instead of 10, and the retnimini does less damage than the staff states (24 damage). It's a crowd control minion and since most crowds are on the ground it actually loses to pirate staff for crowd control.

Deadly Sphere Staff: B
Basically the same as Raven Staff, but can damage more than one enemies, and since you can obtain them in the same part of the game(post-Plantera) this makes it the superior summon

Raven Staff: C
while it also dashes like Deadly Sphere Staff, it cannot pierce, making it the inferior potion
Potion?

Also no, raven has local immunity and is much faster, from my testing raven is better at literally everything. Deadly sphere caps its hit rate fairly quickly due to lack of local immunity which takes away whatever 'pierce' advantage it had over ravens.
Xeno Staff: A
A post-golem blade staff wannabe but without anything blade staff is good at. it has a high attack rate but short range. it's only advantage is it's extreme speed, it teleports to a nearby enemy when it can't reach it. But still, as it's a post-Golem weapon, you'd either go for a tempest staff or the stardust staffs instead.
'blade staff wannabe" no... every time I do xeno vs blade xeno blows it out of the water, I can understand why people get frustrated with minions like ravens but this thing is just as reliable as blades with much higher damage output.

Tempest Staff: A+
Tempest Staff summons a sharknado which in turn shoots sharkrons at the enemy, unlike most summons, the sharknado has contact damage. and due to Duke Fishron being technically available at the start of hardmode, skilled players can take on the duke, obtain this staff and shred through the mech bosses. What holds it back from S tier however is the same problem with pygmy staff, it can only shoot from a limited range and doesn't really hold up against mobile, aerial bosses like the empress of light or the two moon bosses. but still, as it's available at the start of hardmode for the skilled ones, i think it's a solid staff.
You unironicly put this above xeno? Yeah you can get it pre plant but you can also get other duke weapon pre plant and unlike those weapons which will handlely disintigrate everything up to golem tempest struggles to hit things.

As for its post golem performance (which is what duke weapons are designed for) it's worse than raven in every way. Less dps and way less reliable.
 
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Dreadnautilus5000

Brain of Cthulhu
Desert Tiger Staff: A-
it's a cute minion that stacks up with more minion slots like the stardust dragon, unlike other melee minions, this one can pounce, allowing it to target aerial enemies. what holds it back however is it can only target one enemy at a time and as post-plantera events often consists of a lot of enemies(the two moon events, more powerful solar eclipse) it's better suited on bosses, even then it cannot target aerial bosses that easily due to it being grounded.
When summoned multiple times, this thing does insane damage per hit and attacks pretty fast, giving it very high single-target DPS. Because of this, it synergies with the Firecracker extremely well.

What are you talking about? It excels at aerial bosses because of its ability to bounce on flying enemies. Combine that with its massive single-target damage output and it’s the best minion for bosses other than the Stardust minions and Terraprisma.

It’s also good underground because it pounces through walls and eliminates enemies that you can’t reach, and if you’re being attacked by other enemies you can just whip them to make the Tiger focus on them.

It should go in S tier, probably S- because of the rarity of the Desert Key.
 

whoneedsnamestbh

Eater of Worlds
When summoned multiple times, this thing does insane damage per hit and attacks pretty fast, giving it very high single-target DPS. Because of this, it synergies with the Firecracker extremely well.

What are you talking about? It excels at aerial bosses because of its ability to bounce on flying enemies. Combine that with its massive single-target damage output and it’s the best minion for bosses other than the Stardust minions and Terraprisma.

It’s also good underground because it pounces through walls and eliminates enemies that you can’t reach, and if you’re being attacked by other enemies you can just whip them to make the Tiger focus on them.

It should go in S tier, probably S- because of the rarity of the Desert Key.
I feel like Desert Tiger’s mobility is often underestimated just because of its appearance as a ground minion. After 1.4.1.2, it bounces off and back onto bosses and can pounce from midair, which generally allows it to keep up with fast bosses like Empress and third phase Duke better than the likes of Raven and sometimes even Xeno (the latter struggles against third phase Duke).
 

qwerty3.14

Terrarian
I feel like Desert Tiger’s mobility is often underestimated just because of its appearance as a ground minion. After 1.4.1.2, it bounces off and back onto bosses and can pounce from midair, which generally allows it to keep up with fast bosses like Empress and third phase Duke better than the likes of Raven and sometimes even Xeno (the latter struggles against third phase Duke).
Or maybye they're playing journey mode with time frozen... wait has anyone reported that bug yet?
 

CursedSliver

Eater of Worlds
Tbh xeno really arent as reliable as most people thought, not with blade. The thing that xeno struggles is not that it misses, which many people thought that if it doesn't miss, it is 100% reliable. No. It requires that it stay in the line of sight for a set amount of time for it to shoot, which means at one point the bosses gets too fast that it just stops shooting completely unless it stops, which is the case for 3rd phase duke, and for some other bosses like ML it's only 75% or 60% (havent done any precise testing, but as far as I can tell the dps has decreased) effective. For that, I would rate it just at A. However, I would not present it as a "blade staff wannabe" either, it had it's own good.
 

Shyguymask

Terrarian
What I'll say is that I will not be ranking Desert Tiger higher than S-, and not just because of its availability. It's not as reliable against EoL as one would thought, even at its best it doesn't hit very fast and doesn't produce that many firecracker explosions, but more importantly even without the Journey mode glitch it time to time loses it and no longer attacks until I land on the ground and stop moving until it "resets". Xeno Staff has a similar problem in general despite being an aerial summon, and combined with the fact it's obnoxious to obtain and get replaced very quickly, I will most likely rank that one A- or B+. Only really worth it if you want to do Empress without resorting to post-cultist gears + you need that higher DPS that badly compared to stuff like Blade Staff.
 

qwerty3.14

Terrarian
Xeno Staff has a similar problem in general despite being an aerial summon, and combined with the fact it's obnoxious to obtain and get replaced very quickly, I will most likely rank that one A- or B+. Only really worth it if you want to do Empress without resorting to post-cultist gears + you need that higher DPS that badly compared to stuff like Blade Staff.
Getting the xeno staff really isn't that hard,martian probes are super common if you haven't done the event so you'll probably just run into one.
If you didn't get one the first time then you can go to the top corner of your world make a platform out of lihizard brick (jungle increases spawn rate), place a water candle, and stand in front of some walls to stop wyverns from spawning. You should have no issues finding probes with this. It takes way less preperation than trying to get something like a sanguine staff.
 
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