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Best Summoner Minion?

Myth

Terrarian
So I like to have a minion with me at all times, as in the AI that spawns when I use a summoner weapon, but of course that's obvious, and I'm having troubles determining which minion is the best, or most efficient at killing. I haven't gotten any end game summoner gear, or defeated anything past Golem, just recently defeated him. I wanted to take my time before I kiled the cultists and got the pillars to spawn in my world.

The only Summon minion drops I've got ATM are Deadly Sphere Staff, Xeno Staff, and Tempest Staff. I've noticed the Tempest staff still does the highest damage, but without summoner gear to increase max minions it's not the most efficient, or so I think. I've noticed the Xeno staff, which spawns the UFO, has a high rate of attack which kills mobs faster than the Deadly Sphere Staff. But the Deadly Sphere staff minion does excellent high damage.

Any thoughts, as of now for me, on which one is the best?

As well as I'm fine with hearing spoilers, so I thought I'd ask, What is the best Summoner Weapon in the game, and Gear if there was any new gear for it?
 

Radiar

Terrarian
I believe its the optic staff because if u have alot of the twins they kill quickly i gave one to a beginning character + armour etc. on hard mode and he never died once
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I believe its the optic staff because if u have alot of the twins they kill quickly i gave one to a beginning character + armour etc. on hard mode and he never died once
though idk armour haven't explored all new stuff
 

Grand Paladin Tyrux

Official Terrarian
Stardust Dragon. When you summon more, it doesn't make more dragons, it makes the dragon longer, increasing stats. I've heard it can do over 500 damage, its powerful :p
 

Grimmsy

Terrarian
Defeat 2-3 pillars and you can craft gear to get either the dragon or the cell summons.

Dragon is great against many weaker enemies, but has some trouble staying on targets. The cells send out orbs that latch on to enemies so it doesn't matter how much they move, they constantly take damage; they also move across screen to new targets very fast. But they can't really hit multiple enemies like the dragon can.

I'd say get both and switch between them as the context requires.
 

Juno Brier

Eye of Cthulhu
The Stardust Dragon is really good, but it seems to have attention deficiency issues when faced with more than one target on the screen.
 

neoselket

Ice Queen
the deadly sphere staff is AWESOME, it does great damage and is fast enough to hit pretty much anything. after that the stardust dragon staff is the best, as it can go through walls. i'd say summon the dragon once and make all the rest deadly spheres. even with no summoner equipment they're awesome.
 
The Xeno staff is really great. It never misses, so it is great against super fast moving enemies.
The Stardust Dragon is strong and can attack multiple enemies at one. Multiple minions make the dragon longer instead of more.
 

Natic

Skeletron Prime
At your power level?
Deadly sphere on surface (they get stuck a lot when exploring caves) and Pigmy staff from Plantera when underground - those little guys are crazy :)

And the best is probably Stardust dragon, he can solo mech bosses with ease without any summoner gear :)
 

scientistB

Dungeon Spirit
So you want to be a Summoner?
The Deadly Spheres have the same base damage as the Sharknadoes. However, the difference is that the Spheres have a lesser range and attack by ramming themselves through enemies, whereas the Sharknadoes can detect and kill enemies from further away with their thrown Sharkrons. The Sharknadoes can phase through blocks and the tornadoes themselves deal damage to enemies and critters, but the Spheres struggle to catch up when there are many walls in the way. Because the Deadly Sphere Staff is easier to obtain than the Tempest Staff, I would use it (or the Xeno Staff if you've been lucky) on Duke Fishron. But you already have these, so...

The Xeno Staff's UFOs are excellent for any high-speed enemy because of their teleport and zap attacks that have amazing accuracy. They completely melt single-entity bosses like the Lunatic Cultist, while the Spheres and Sharknadoes better deal with bosses with several parts such as the Destroyer and Skeletron Prime. The problem with the Spheres is that their attacks are a piercing type, which give enemies about 1/6 of a second of invulnerability to other piercing attacks. It's not too noticeable, but because the UFOs have a single-hit attack, you'll notice the huge cloud of damage numbers above the enemy. Also, do note that the UFOs need some headroom above the enemy to attack properly, otherwise they may attempt to teleport but then come back because of the insufficient space. This can happen in narrow passages, or in the corners of caves and houses. The Spheres and Sharknadoes do slightly better here, though mostly the latter because of the Spheres' tendency to be derpy when it comes to wall-hugging.

Of course, don't forget Tiki and Spooky Armor, as well as the many summoning accessories to accommodate them. The Witch Doctor sells the Hercules Beetle and Pygmy Necklace if you have a Pygmy Staff with you. The best time to shop is during the night when he's living in a Jungle biome. You'll also need the Necromantic Scroll, two if you want more summoning power, and combine one with the Hercules Beetle for the Papyrus Scarab. That involves taking down a lot of Mourning Woods in the Pumpkin Moon though, so that may take a while and is a whole other topic on its own in terms of preparation. This event is the only source of Spooky Wood, which you need for the armor. Along the way you might get a Raven Staff from one of the Pumpkings. It's nice to have, but unfortunately it falls short in terms of ability when compared to the staves you already have. Spooky Armor gives a higher damage boost than the Tiki Armor, but it grants one less minion which is kind of a bummer. So what you'll want to do is equip the Spooky Armor, summon whatever you can with the damage boosts from that and certain accessories, and then switch into Tiki Armor and summon the extra minion, then change the accessories into the defensive set. I tend to have two of each accessory; one for damage, one for defense. Since damage is set on a minion only upon summoning, you're able to switch into other accessories that provide more defense as long as the minion remains out.

When we come to the final minions at the Stardust Pillar, we have something that's quite different from the rest; the Cells and the Dragon. The Cells have an excellent DPS value on both separated hordes of enemies as well as bosses, because of their ability to inflict very high damage with mini-cells as well as a stackable damage over time. This is just barely slower than the UFOs, and some people would prefer the UFOs either way, but with the right situation and setup, the Cells can be far more efficient, especially when in those places where the UFOs can't reach the enemy. The Cells' base damage is the highest of all the minions that follow you around, and their attack hits a single enemy, allowing for no invincibility frames for the bosses. The Dragon's base damage would seem rather low, but it increases tremendously when you summon more segments. Filling all your minion slots with a large Stardust Dragon can allow for the highest DPS a Summoner can get. My Dragon can easily reach between 600 and 1,000 damage with the correct setup. Because it flies into enemy hitboxes and hugs them constantly, the damage is rapid and adds up very quickly. If other enemies are in the way, they'll get shredded as well. This makes the Dragon the best minion to take on the Moon Lord with. Its attacks pierce infinitely, but it doesn't matter because the damage is so darn high that it will demolish anything before you can even start fighting it. But that's only if there's very few enemies to deal with; the Dragon's weaknesses are that it can only target one enemy at a time (which can be unhelpful if it doesn't go after the enemy you're fighting), and that it sometimes has trouble catching up to fast monsters like Duke Fishron. The enemy's speed is usually completely nullified by the teleporting ability of the Cells and UFOs. However, in the right battles, the Stardust Dragon can be considered the ultimate minion of them all.

TLDR: The minions you have are more efficient in certain places than others, and you'll want to change up your minion loadout depending on the task at hand. It's mostly up to you.

Then we have the stationary minions...
 

Myth

Terrarian
First off I didn't remove your text because it was something I didn't want to hear. It helped actually. But seeing as I posted this 4 days after the 1.3 update, I didn't have much knowledge of the endgame bosses, lunar events, to know about the stardust cell and dragon staffs. But seeing as I was also just wanting to find out, of the new and awesome summoner minions, I was more or less seeing which was better to use daily, as in fun to use and not just for boss fights.
 

Juno Brier

Eye of Cthulhu
Then we have the stationary minions...
The Queen Spider, Frost Hydra, Lunar Portal, and Rainbow Crystal can all be deployed at the same time independent of your minion count, so there's not really much reason to not use them all at once.
On an endgame-level setup, you could afford to cut out the Queen Spider due to the all-around inferior damage and range.
Frost Hydra's kinda okay. His biggest weakness is that he can only attack one target at a time.
Rainbow Crystal's powerful, but its attacks have a delay that makes it barely able to hit smaller enemies that move around a lot.
Lunar Portal's infinitely-piercing multi-hit sweeping laser easily makes it the best "turret" summon.
 

Natic

Skeletron Prime
...

TLDR: The minions you have are more efficient in certain places than others, and you'll want to change up your minion loadout depending on the task at hand. It's mostly up to you.

Then we have the stationary minions...
Just wow!
never thought about summoner playtrough, but after reading this i might try one :)

Also, I will definitely check that guide you have in your signature!
Thanks
 

scientistB

Dungeon Spirit
The one time I didn't check the dates, I went off on that wall of text. Whoopsy-daisy.
Ah well, I had fun with writing that. Glad I could be of help <3
 

Sigma90

Brain of Cthulhu
Optic Staff is great if you prefer quantity. Two minions for the price of one! They also have different attack patterns. I like using the Optic Staff for general purpose play because I like having more pets follow me around.

Stardust Cell summon is better if you intend to fight bosses or events. With full Stardust armour, consider 2x Cell + 5x Dragon (6 summons from the armour + 1 summon from a Bewitching Table) for most bosses and events. The Cells will help protect you if the Dragon goes off on a tangent somewhere.

A single Stardust Dragon is a valuable ally regardless of class. Its ability to fly through blocks and illuminate areas make it a powerful minion.
 

CellarDoor96

Terrarian
A single Stardust Dragon is a valuable ally regardless of class. Its ability to fly through blocks and illuminate areas make it a powerful minion.
I wouldn't say it benefits every class, since its tendency to block piercing weapons can actually hinder some classes, particularly mage and melee. Every endgame melee weapon aside from the Terrarian (and then only the physical yoyo itself) is piercing (yes, Daybreak deals piercing damage, its damage window is just very small), while Nebula Blaze is the only endgame magic weapon that isn't. Because of this, it's generally better to run Cells with these classes during serious boss battles. The Dragon can still be used with these classes during events like the Frost Moon, but you just have to be careful not to waste your DPS trying to hit something the Dragon is already hitting.

Incidentally, this means that guns are the best weapons for a summoner, while the Dragon is the best summon for a ranger. Bows work okay with summoners sometimes, but not only do they tend to be inferior to guns in general (with the notable exception of everyone's favorite Stormbow), but the best arrows up until Luminite (Holy) are piercing. Guns on the other hand have the benefit of non-piercing Chlorophyte and Ichor bullets. The Dragon also combos well with guns since the ranged class is the only one that lacks wallhacking capabilities outside of Holy arrows.
 

Sigma90

Brain of Cthulhu
I wouldn't say it benefits every class, since its tendency to block piercing weapons can actually hinder some classes, particularly mage and melee.
Agreed that it's not as useful for events as bosses, which is why I said Stardust Cell is better for those. :)
But for general exploration, building, mining, etc. it's very useful.
 

Ravvynfall

Duke Fishron
i'm thinking the "best minion" thing is probably a list based on situational use since it is quite difficult to claim there being a single "perfect" minion that is ideal for ALL situations. for things where i could control mob spawning, i'd probably want to use something like the stardust dragon, but if i'm just running around or trying to kill a non-segmented boss, i would consider something like stardust cells, ufo minions, or deadly spheres, and in some cases even the raven staff (it is a time tested minion of great quality after all.) then you have people that like to use minions in specialized farming, and use things like the pirate minion or the slime minion.

but all in all, it's hard to call just 1 the "best" for reasons like these.

i can say here's my "top 5" though!
stardust dragon, stardust cell, ravens, ufo, deadly sphere.
 

CellarDoor96

Terrarian
Agreed that it's not as useful for events as bosses, which is why I said Stardust Cell is better for those. :)
But for general exploration, building, mining, etc. it's very useful.
Well, if you're already at endgame then it doesn't really matter what summon you use while exploring, since almost nothing can touch you anyway. Though the Dragon is a bit more useful than some minions for its ability to go through blocks.

On an unrelated note, I've heard a lot of people say that the Xeno Staff is better than the Cells and I'm always scratching my head as to why. I think those are the same kind of people who restrict themselves to summons only for no reason and think that's the way the class is meant to be played, so they don't know that the Cells attack way faster when you attack alongside them. But even then, I'm pretty sure the Cells at least match if not exceed the UFOs' DPS even when they're on their own.

I also hear people say the Cells tend to miss a lot, but I have not once in my 170-hour career as a post-1.3 summoner seen my Stardust Cells miss.
 
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