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In-depth Hardmode weapon tier list

Shyguymask

Terrarian
Cursed Darts are still really good against aboveground events and the Destroyer.
I mean I guess, but at that point pirates shouldn't be a problem with Pre-Plantera gears. Summoner can use Firecracker + Durendal too to kill Destroyer lighting quick, and Durendal with Blade Staff will make it obliterate pirates even more than it would with Spinal Tap, not to mention you'd have Hallowed Armor which makes everything significantly safer.
 

CellarDoor96

Terrarian
I don't see why needing to get current progression gears to maximize the damage of your primary weapon is a bad thing? That applies to every class. You need Celestial Shell for Melee, both scrolls for Summoner, you need Crystal Ball & Mana regen potions for Mage, you need to gather Ichor/Crystals/Chloro and so on for ammo for Ranger, you need to change armor sets through the whole game for every class, I could keep going on. Updating your gears up to date when necessary is one of the most basic things about the progression in this game.
The difference is that whips are a weapon, and we are comparing the viability of weapons. If this were a list that compared the viability of weapons, armor, and accessories, then you would have a point. But since whips are a weapon, they are not something you can just "assume" when creating a weapon tier list.

Not to mention, when evaluating other weapons, they are (presumably) evaluated based on their average performance with any gear. They are not evaluated based on their optimal performance with optimal gear, and they should not be.
 

Shyguymask

Terrarian
The difference is that whips are a weapon, and we are comparing the viability of weapons. If this were a list that compared the viability of weapons, armor, and accessories, then you would have a point. But since whips are a weapon, they are not something you can just "assume" when creating a weapon tier list.

Not to mention, when evaluating other weapons, they are (presumably) evaluated based on their average performance with any gear. They are not evaluated based on their optimal performance with optimal gear, and they should not be.
This mindset/rule is very unfair and inaccurate for ranking Summoner weapons because Minions & Whips are literally made to be used & synergized with each other. Actually this isn't limited to Summoner as a class, Melee weapons literally affect minions as well with Sharpening Station in mind. We should be ranking Summoner options based on their peak performance with synergies in mind. I know this is a Hardmode tier list, but when it come to Pre-Hardmode, Vampire Frogs significantly depend on Sharpening Station to actually deal damage to Wall of Flesh. If we were to make a Pre-Hardmode weapon tier list, we should be ranking Vampire Frog based on its performance when coupled with Sharpening Station (mostly against WoF). It's lackluster otherwise. Likewise, we should be ranking Blade Staff based on its peak performance when used properly and with the right synergy.

Taking the fact that availability doesn't matter into account. Blade Staff is only bested by Sanguine Staff pre-mech and is still excellent underground defensively, and still above average on its own against Twins & Prime. For Plantera, thanks to Hallowed Armor, Blade is not just the single best minion, but one of if not the best weapon overall for Plantera after Duke fishron drops. Post-Plantera It's again arguably the best minion taking defensive benefits & reliability into account thanks to Kaleidoscope.

Post-Golem you have Betsy's Wrath which is another large boost, although Xeno Staff would most likely perform on par or better than Blade staff, but nonetheless Blade staff on its own can still deal insane DPS post-golem with Besty's + Kaleidoscope. In fact it'd rival Tsunami/Razorblade, especially taking into account the defensive benefits of using Blade Staff again. In fact, some people consider Blade Staff a viable option for Moon Lord, and I easily agree with that from limited experience (I'd need to do some DPS tests to really put it to test in that aspect). Did I mention Melee/Summoner Hybrid, arguably the best & strongest "class" in the game period, relies on Blade Staff as one of its main contributors Hardmode onwards until post-Golem?
 

starman2995

Terrarian
I don't see why needing to get current progression gears to maximize the damage of your primary weapon is a bad thing? That applies to every class.
I never said it was a bad thing: I was explicitly saying that using whips that are past that point of progression skews the results, and especially the farther you go, and as such should be carefully considered.
One huge thing yourself isn't taking into account is that the Morning Star time had zero whip stacking. Even something as simple as Morning Star + Dark harvest will significantly reduce the kill time for Blade Staff and put it well above Dart Gun/Rifle. Using two long-range whips is also as easy as it gets for whip stacking, there is no reasons to not do it. This is just absurd, "Blade Staff + Solo Morning Star" is the most unrealistic & weakest way to look at Blade Staff's performance post-plant. No one should be using Morning Star without stacking with Dark Harvest. No one should be using Blade Staff without whip stacking. Let's not bring it up as if it's remotely worth considering, please.
My point here still stands: I don't think using pre-mech whips would be very far off from using the morning star, given that yours options for whip stacking are the snapthorn, spinal tap, cool whip, and firecracker (though as I said, firecracker might do quite a bit better with the bats). That was just the closest example to whips of the same tier that I could find, and it is very much with considering this. Someone else brought up the example of using the megashark with luminite bullets, which shows why we should consider using the enabling gear of its own tier.
I don't see how minions being reliant on whips change anything either. Ranger weapons are reliant on Ichor/Chloro/etc ammo for example. What's the difference?
The main difference here is that there are lots of tiers of whips that are each massive improvements, whereas with guns/bows, the only jump is from pre-hm to hardmode. You could claim that chlorophyte is, but I would argue it is not: Chlorophyte bullets do not double/triple the dps of your weapons, unlike whips. Is the megashark rated off of it's abilities with lumenite bullets?

If not for the whip progression, the summons themselves would fall off like any normal weapon (though they have nice utility). The utility later progression whips provide specific summons is something I feel should be rated differently than the summon's own power level.

It could be useful to have a subset of ratings on summons given specific whips, like ranged weapons have with different ammo types.
 

Shyguymask

Terrarian
I never said it was a bad thing: I was explicitly saying that using whips that are past that point of progression skews the results, and especially the farther you go, and as such should be carefully considered.

My point here still stands: I don't think using pre-mech whips would be very far off from using the morning star, given that yours options for whip stacking are the snapthorn, spinal tap, cool whip, and firecracker (though as I said, firecracker might do quite a bit better with the bats). That was just the closest example to whips of the same tier that I could find, and it is very much with considering this. Someone else brought up the example of using the megashark with luminite bullets, which shows why we should consider using the enabling gear of its own tier.

The main difference here is that there are lots of tiers of whips that are each massive improvements, whereas with guns/bows, the only jump is from pre-hm to hardmode. You could claim that chlorophyte is, but I would argue it is not: Chlorophyte bullets do not double/triple the dps of your weapons, unlike whips. Is the megashark rated off of it's abilities with lumenite bullets?

If not for the whip progression, the summons themselves would fall off like any normal weapon (though they have nice utility). The utility later progression whips provide specific summons is something I feel should be rated differently than the summon's own power level.

It could be useful to have a subset of ratings on summons given specific whips, like ranged weapons have with different ammo types.
The difference is that Luminite bullets aren't available Pre-Golem or Pre-Cultist, while Dark Harvest & (if we're talking daytime Empress) Kaleidoscope are. I don't know why we're even talking about an option that is literally unavailable in a playthrough at such point unless cheating is involved.

And as I said, if we're going to make "sub-tiers" for whip/minion synergies, prepare yourself to come up with dozens of them if anything.
 

starman2995

Terrarian
The difference is that Luminite bullets aren't available Pre-Golem or Pre-Cultist, while Dark Harvest & (if we're talking daytime Empress) Kaleidoscope are. I don't know why we're even talking about an option that is literally unavailable in a playthrough at such point unless cheating is involved.

And as I said, if we're going to make "sub-tiers" for whip/minion synergies, prepare yourself to come up with dozens of them if anything.
Here's the gist of what I'm saying: in a class like ranger, there are a LOT of good weapons to choose from/upgrade to as you go through progression. With summons, there aren't many good options to upgrade to from the blade/sanguine staff, at least for the majority of hardmode. Upgrading your whips instead keeps them as competitive as when you first got them. You're trying to use the fact that they are competitive for so long to argue that they should be an SS tier, when the only reason they are competitive for that long is because of whips. From my perspective, at each stage of progression, the summons/whip combinations are on par with the other S/S+ options of the tier, but they don't deserve SS at any given stage of progression. As such, I think an S+ rating is entirely appropriate for them, as it seems to me like the tier list is weapons' peak power, not how long they stay relevant for.

The specific case of this I saw was the comparison between the summons and the dart weapons: you used the test where they were using post-plantera whips on EoL as evidence that summons were SS, or at least better than the dart weapons, when if they were both at pre-boss, the results would probably be on par.
 

Dreadnautilus5000

Brain of Cthulhu
@Shyguymask is bringing up a really good point in my opinion. With any minion really, you can upgrade your whip as you progress farther into the game, and improve the performance of your minion, allowing it to be viable later on in the game. The same goes for bows and guns. If you get ahold of Hardmode bullets at the very start of Hardmode, for example, then a Pre-Hardmode gun jumps in power and can be a good option for dealing with enemies until you get a Hardmode gun.

However the Dart guns are obtained at the same time as the last tier of Darts, so they can't get any more powerful, and then after Plantera outside of the Hardmode Dungeon you're better off using a different ranged weapon that has more DPS. Any early Hardmode minion (except for the Optic Staff, that thing is trash) could perform really well with Post-Plantera whips, and be viable until you get a Post-Plantera minion like Desert Tiger or Xeno.

Also, why shouldn't we rank minions based on whip synergies? Whips are meant to give boosts to minions, and it would be pointless to be a pure summoner without whips. Ranking minions without whips is like only ranking bows based on how well they perform with Wooden Arrows.
 
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Shyguymask

Terrarian
Here's the gist of what I'm saying: in a class like ranger, there are a LOT of good weapons to choose from/upgrade to as you go through progression. With summons, there aren't many good options to upgrade to from the blade/sanguine staff, at least for the majority of hardmode. Upgrading your whips instead keeps them as competitive as when you first got them. You're trying to use the fact that they are competitive for so long to argue that they should be an SS tier, when the only reason they are competitive for that long is because of whips. From my perspective, at each stage of progression, the summons/whip combinations are on par with the other S/S+ options of the tier, but they don't deserve SS at any given stage of progression. As such, I think an S+ rating is entirely appropriate for them, as it seems to me like the tier list is weapons' peak power, not how long they stay relevant for.

The specific case of this I saw was the comparison between the summons and the dart weapons: you used the test where they were using post-plantera whips on EoL as evidence that summons were SS, or at least better than the dart weapons, when if they were both at pre-boss, the results would probably be on par.
If we're going to be judging weapons based on how strong they are at their absolute peak relative to other options, then we still need to create SS tier considering how fast Tsunami/Razorblade kill Mech bosses and take care of crowds. Kaleidoscope S if not S+ as well considering how powerful it is compared to other Pre-Golem options. Oh yeah, Terraprisma is an obvious SS as well with this in mind.
 

CellarDoor96

Terrarian
This mindset/rule is very unfair and inaccurate for ranking Summoner weapons
Is it though?

Are you giving the same treatment to other weapons? When you test dart weapons against Plantera, are you also loading yourself up with buffs, using your 3 free minion slots, applying ichor, and hitting the boss with a whip every 3 seconds to keep the tag damage applied? That's the optimal way to use any weapon, so if you're going to evaluate summon weapons based on their absolute peak performance, you should be doing so for all other weapons as well.
 

Shyguymask

Terrarian
Is it though?

Are you giving the same treatment to other weapons? When you test dart weapons against Plantera, are you also loading yourself up with buffs, using your 3 free minion slots, applying ichor, and hitting the boss with a whip every 3 seconds to keep the tag damage applied? That's the optimal way to use any weapon, so if you're going to evaluate summon weapons based on their absolute peak performance, you should be doing so for all other weapons as well.
Actually Sanguine/Blade being very effective if not essential supports depending on the build is one of the main points I'm making in favor of them. But alright
 

CellarDoor96

Terrarian
Actually Sanguine/Blade being very effective if not essential supports depending on the build is one of the main points I'm making in favor of them. But alright
I agree. Weapons that can be used alongside other weapons have a much lower opportunity cost, so I think they should be rated higher than they otherwise would be based on that factor alone. That's not the same as saying they should be evaluated based on a setup that they're only one part of, though.

The idea behind a tier list is to give players a rough idea of how good an item will be when used. Most players are not going to be playing optimally or making optimal decisions, so judging weapons based on optimal circumstances defeats the purpose. Things like synergies, strengths, and weaknesses belong in the notes underneath the item's ranking, not in the ranking itself. The ranking only exists to let players know how good the item will be on average.

At least, that's my philosophy and the philosophy of every single tier list I've ever seen. You're free to make your own list where items are judged based on absolute optimal circumstances and play, but it won't be very useful for 99.9% of players.
 

Shyguymask

Terrarian
I agree. Weapons that can be used alongside other weapons have a much lower opportunity cost, so I think they should be rated higher than they otherwise would be based on that factor alone. That's not the same as saying they should be evaluated based on a setup that they're only one part of, though.

The idea behind a tier list is to give players a rough idea of how good an item will be when used. Most players are not going to be playing optimally or making optimal decisions, so judging weapons based on optimal circumstances defeats the purpose. Things like synergies, strengths, and weaknesses belong in the notes underneath the item's ranking, not in the ranking itself. The ranking only exists to let players know how good the item will be on average.

At least, that's my philosophy and the philosophy of every single tier list I've ever seen. You're free to make your own list where items are judged based on absolute optimal circumstances and play, but it won't be very useful for 99.9% of players.

Not for me. Depending on the game, some tier lists may not take availability into account (like this one), some tier lists may treat some otherwise good options as belonging in the garbage if there's a similar option that's better in most ways even by just somewhat (which is actually a mindset I share depending on the topic), some tier lists in generally may value different aspects like ease of use, how long the option stays good, if the option needs significant setup/optimization as a drawback and so on. Tier lists as a whole aren't meant to apply to the general public depending on the subject, ESPECIALLY in fighting games for example.
 

Terrariapro100

Terrarian
Daedalus Stormbow is an S+. It can be used all the way from pre mech to lunatic cultist (besides underground bosses). Also, it shreds skeletron prime and the twins as well. And daedalus stormbow plus chlorophyte arrows works well for lunatic cultist. Even if s+ is too much, it is better than S-.
 

Shyguymask

Terrarian
Daedalus Stormbow is an S+. It can be used all the way from pre mech to lunatic cultist (besides underground bosses). Also, it shreds skeletron prime and the twins as well. And daedalus stormbow plus chlorophyte arrows works well for lunatic cultist. Even if s+ is too much, it is better than S-.
The next major progression boss after mech bosses is Plantera, an underground boss. After that is Golem, another underground boss. Then there is Lunatic Cultist, who is a small target and unfit to fight with Daedalus. Even if we ignore those problems, I'm pretty sure S+ weapons like Blade Staff and Sanguine Staff deal more damage overall pre-Plantera onwards.
 

Terrariapro100

Terrarian
The next major progression boss after mech bosses is Plantera, an underground boss. After that is Golem, another underground boss. Then there is Lunatic Cultist, who is a small target and unfit to fight with Daedalus. Even if we ignore those problems, I'm pretty sure S+ weapons like Blade Staff and Sanguine Staff deal more damage overall pre-Plantera onwards.
I have found that chlorophyte arrows sort of bounce into him a lot. It works, I did it fairly easily.
 

mathbrush

Terrarian
I don't think it needs re-tiering, but I just finished a Master Mode Melee playthrough and found the Christmas Tree Sword a lot more useful than I remember. I had been using the Sergeant United Shield and then Seedler all hardmode, but I felt like the Christmas Tree Sword outperformed Seedler.

I had just gotten Betsy's Wrath, and I don't think I realized how good it is with the Christmas Tree sword, since it buffs the damage from all five projectiles at once. And during the pillars, my Solar Eruption kept missing guys charging at me but the Christmas Tree Sword set up a zone of high-knockback projectiles that was great (except against Nebula Floaters). I used it with a flask of Venom and it poisoned everything on screen at once. I realized that it doesn't have a projectile limit like North Pole and also isn't affected by wind, making it a lot easier to rain projectiles from the top of the screen onto pillars. I even used it occasionally during Moon Lord's last phase since the projectiles last so long that I could manuever him into them off screen when staying far away for healing.

But it was terrible against the Empress of Light, and the damage it contributed to the Moon Lord fight was negligible. It triggers too many of Lunatic Cultist's clones and its other flaws definitely should keep it in the B range where you have it, I think.
 

Kayogin

Terrarian
Dropped by Duke Fishron

Flairon: A+

A stupendously strong melee weapon that strangely doesn't work like a flail at all. To get maximum mileage out of the Flairon, you need to intentionally miss by as narrow a margin as you can afford, or try to catch your enemy at the tip to ensure that the flail remains in the air for as long as possible. The head should only be used for inflicting Ichor. The bubbles are a bit slow-ish, but as long as they're deployed near the target, they will probably all hit their mark. Many of the upcoming fights are aerial battles, against which the Flairon does excellently, especially if your enemies are the kind that chase you down. This is probably the best pre-Lunar melee weapon for most purposes.

.............DPS: ####
Crowd control: ##
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....Availability: ###
20% chance to drop from Duke Fishron
Best prefix: Godly/Demonic $$

Tsunami: S+
Uses standard arrows.
Obscenely powerful for bossing, but works well against anything, really. Even when using Wooden Arrows, it punches through enemies more effectively than most melee and magic weapons. It's also more accurate than repeaters because its line of arrows is so wide, ensuring that it will rarely miss its target entirely. And if the Tsunami kills its target in one shot (which is likely), any remaining arrows will keep traveling, dealing damage to anything behind the original target. Holy Arrows might have some issues with velocity, but this problem disappears if you're using a Magic Quiver; if not, you can use Ichor or Venom Arrows, which have high inherent velocity and will deal stupid amounts of damage anyways. Every pre-Lunar gun and rocket launcher pales in comparison to Tsunami (and its semi-clone Eventide).

HOLY ARROW
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Crowd control: ###
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ICHOR ARROW
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Crowd control: ##
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....Availability: ###
20% chance to drop from Duke Fishron
Best prefix: Unreal $$

Razorblade Typhoon: S+
Possibly the best magic weapon in the game for general use, both aboveground and below. It rapidly and effortlessly cuts through hordes of enemies of any size, immobilizing them in an unrelenting barrage of hits. While its single-target DPS is not the absolute best (being only slightly stronger than the Bat Scepter), it's still great against bosses due to how reliable and accurate it is. Many homing weapons have somewhat low velocity, but the Razorblade Typhoon doesn't suffer from this problem, so not only is it easier to aim, but it also provides near-instant disruption even to enemies at the edge of your screen.

.............DPS: ####
Crowd control: #####
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....Availability: ###
20% chance to drop from Duke Fishron
Best prefix: Mythical $$

Bubble Gun: B
At the cost of attack range, it offers insane single-target DPS that shreds most enemies before they can even touch you. Its range is actually not that bad, either. While it can't contribute to every fight, it works incredibly well for some specific matchups, such as kiting Duke Fishron and overwhelming crowds of enemies with its sheer quantity of projectiles. It also has an incredibly low mana cost, so you'll almost never have to support it with mana potions or even Celestial Cuffs. It can be directly compared to Starlight, the difference being that the Bubble Gun is much better against enemies that chase you and much worse against enemies that don't.

With Chlorophyte Headgear, Dark Artist's Robes, and any -8% mana usage accessory, you can reduce a Masterful Bubble Gun's mana cost to 1. This is almost certainly overkill, but I thought it would be funny to point it out.

.............DPS: #####
Crowd control: ##
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.....Disruption: #####
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....Availability: ###
20% chance to drop from Duke Fishron
Best prefix: Deadly/Godly/Demonic $$

Tempest Staff: C+
The Tempest Staff is easily the worst Duke Fishron drop, and it offers nothing that could possibly give it an advantage over the other minion weapons that helped you get this far. Despite being specialized for single-target damage, it still deals less damage than the Desert Tiger, Xeno, and Raven, even assuming that it actually hits its target. This is made worse by the fact that Xeno and Desert Tiger have excellent synergies with tag damage or Firecracker respectively, while the Tempest Staff doesn't synergize too well with either since its damage and fire rate are both average. You know how you can usually cheese bosses by flying in circles? When you're using the Tempest Staff, the roles are reversed, and now the bosses are cheesing you. It at least has higher DPS potential than the Sanguine Staff, though it won't always perform better due to its terrible accuracy and dumb AI that forces it to slowly fly back to you if its target moves too far away. This is a weakness it shares with the Raven Staff, but the Raven Staff is better at literally everything else.

The only way it can be useful is if you defeat Duke Fishron before Plantera. And as you know, this is regarded by most people as breaking sequence. Even if you obtain it pre-mech, the best it can be is a side-grade to the Sanguine Staff since it is far worse against all three mechanical bosses. To put it in perspective, literally any other weapon from Duke Fishron would easily steamroll everything until Golem if you obtained it that early.

Thanks to its inherently flawed design, the Tempest Staff has resisted all of Relogic's attempts to buff it, and remains one of the most disappointing weapons in the game.

.............DPS: ####
Crowd control: #
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.....Disruption: ###
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....Availability: ###
20% chance to drop from Duke Fishron
Best prefix: Ruthless $$

Dropped by Empress of Light

Starlight: C+

If you loved the Fetid Baghnakhs in 1.3, you'll love this. I don't think it's quite as useful as most other weapons in this tier due to its short range, and unlike the Bubble Gun, it doesn't leave a lingering trail of projectiles to damage chasers. It works decently well against all the floaty, relatively slow enemies spawned by the Vortex Pillar, but it only works against a handful of foes from other pillars (notably Selenians, Brain Sucklers, and Star Cells). It won't perform well against bosses at all, as its damage output is not high enough to compensate for the downtime you'll experience while dodging attacks. Think of it as a prototype Solar Eruption with half the range and no wall piercing.

.............DPS: #####
Crowd control: #####

......Accuracy: ####
.....Disruption: #####
..........Safety: ##

....Availability: ###
25% chance to drop from Empress of Light
Best prefix: Legendary/Godly/Demonic $$

Eventide: S+
Uses standard arrows.
Eventide is extremely similar to Tsunami: Tsunami fires five arrows, while Eventide fires four arrows in addition to a special arrow that deals double damage (functionally equivalent to six arrows), offsetting its slightly lower base damage and speed. They are similar enough that the choice between Tsunami and Eventide ultimately comes down to which of the two respective bosses you find more manageable. Eventide does have one small additional advantage: it is actually worthwhile to use with the Endless Quiver, since it gains crowd control without taking a massive penalty to single-target damage like Tsunami does when using piercing arrows. (It is also unreflectable.) Another distinction is that Eventide heavily relies on Magic Quiver to be consistent with Holy Arrows, otherwise its projectiles will spread out too much.

HOLY ARROW
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Crowd control: ####
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ENDLESS QUIVER
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Crowd control: #####
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....Availability: ###
25% chance to drop from Empress of Light
Best prefix: Unreal $$

Nightglow: S
An excellent bossing weapon that will mostly replace your Spectre Staff. and offers a bit more single-target damage than the Razorblade Typhoon. Its seeking range is very high, and it can chase anything on your screen provided it has an unobstructed view. Nightglow isn't quite as mana efficient as the Razorblade Typhoon, but that's fine because neither weapon really cares about being out of mana as long as you have the Mana Regeneration buff. They are more limited by the piercing damage cap than their attack speed, so even when firing at a reduced rate, the damage output will still be more than good enough.

.............DPS: #####
Crowd control: ####
......Accuracy: #####
.....Disruption: ##
..........Safety: ####

....Availability: ###
25% chance to drop from Empress of Light
Best prefix: Mythical $$

Stellar Tune: S
The Stellar Tune looks like a homing weapon, but it's actually an auto-targeting weapon like the Medusa Head or Magnet Sphere; it can miss its targets, though its projectiles are wide and erratic enough that it usually doesn't. That said, it just barely lacks enough reach to perform well against certain bosses, and its DPS is a bit below that of the Nightglow. But when fighting underground or near the surface, this weapon is almost as good as the Lunar Flare. It's perfect for taking advantage of the terrain when fighting the Lunar Events, which is especially useful since it's unlikely that you'd have an arena.

.............DPS: ####
Crowd control: #####
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.....Disruption:
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....Availability: #
2% chance to drop from Empress of Light
Best prefix: Demonic $$$$

Kaleidoscope: A+
It has decent range and smacks the hell out of most enemies without requiring assistance from minions. It also has a massive tag damage value of 20, which drastically increases the potency of UFOs. Dark Harvest makes a good partner for the Kaleidoscope since its tag effect also synergizes with UFOs, and Kaleidoscope appreciates the speed boost for its own damage output. You can bring out the Blade Staff for a funny meme combo, but expect significant framerate drops. You can meme even harder by using Obsidian armor, which actually isn't as stupid as it sounds because the Kaleidoscope with +50% range and +35% speed is a completely different beast.

.............DPS: ###
Crowd control: #####
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.....Disruption: ###
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....Availability: ###
25% chance to drop from Empress of Light
Best prefix: Legendary $$

Terraprisma: S+
This is the strongest summoning weapon in the entire game. It is also the most difficult item to obtain in the entire game, depending on who you ask. No player should count on receiving this in any given run, and if you're one of the elite few who have memorized and mastered the Empress's attack patterns, you're probably skilled enough that you don't need it. Terraprisma's performance speaks for itself: it combines the Dragon's damage with the Cells' consistency, and it basically steamrolls everything from that point onward. As it very well should, since it drops from a boss that is literally stronger than the Moon Lord.

If you suck at dodging, you still have a decent chance of receiving Terraprisma after clearing out the Nebula Pillar. When using optimal pre-Moon Lord mage armor and buffs, the Nebula Arcanum's DPS is so high that the Empress won't have enough time to use all her attacks against you, so as long as you can dodge Prismatic Bolts, Sun Dance, and Ethereal Lance v2, you're good to go. For extra safety, open with Hallowed armor and switch to your best offensive magic set after you get hit.

.............DPS: #####
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.....Disruption: #####
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....Availability: ?
100% chance to drop from Empress of Light if all damage dealt to the boss was during daytime
Best prefix: Ruthless $$$$$$$$

Martian Madness

Influx Waver: B

Very similar to Sky Fracture in the sense that it's a powerful single-target DPS weapon that takes a lot of skill to aim properly. However, there is one important difference between the two: Sky Fracture is widely used because there aren't many good homing weapons that can compete with it, whereas Influx Waver comes at a stage of the game where you're practically drowning in homing weapons that can match the Waver's damage output. It also competes directly with the Terra Blade, which has superior piercing and projectile velocity, on top of being just as insane as pre-nerf Fetid Baghnakhs when used as a close-ranged weapon. You might enjoy using the Influx Waver if you were also a die-hard fan of Sky Fracture, but most people will find it too frustrating to use against any enemy that isn't highly predictable or large. C'est la vie.

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16.66% chance to drop from Martian Saucer
Best prefix: Legendary $$$$

Xenopopper: A-
Uses standard bullets.
Direct upgrade to the Tactical Shotgun, but unless you're planning to use Chlorophyte Bullets, it takes some practice to use properly; you need to position your cursor directly over enemies rather than just pointing it in their general direction. The Xenopopper's raw DPS is extremely high with Crystal Bullets if you can master it, even higher than the Chain Gun's (making it the most damaging pre-Lunar gun). Unlike most guns, it is more of a mid-range weapon: it works best if you can catch enemies in the middle of the bullet cloud and spawn Crystal Bullets inside them, making it a bit like a ranged version of the Bubble Gun. When used correctly, it melts through Duke Fishron, Everscreams, and Ice Queens like they're soft cheese. Unfortunately, if you are being chased at high speed and your screen isn't zoomed out far enough, the Xenopopper tends to mess up and fire your bullets right back towards your face. So much for superior alien technology!

You also have the option to ignore the weapon's entire gimmick and use Chlorophyte Bullets. This is probably the best way to use Chlorophyte Bullets until Vortex Beater, since the Xenopopper is both stronger and more ammo-efficient than the Chain Gun. However, compared to Crystal Bullets, the DPS loss is quite noticeable.

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16.66% chance to drop from Martian Saucer
Best prefix: Unreal $$$$

Electrosphere Launcher: B+
The Electrosphere Launcher's damage and crowd control against grounded enemies is nearly unmatched, but it will never be your first choice when facing flying enemies. It has a slight learning curve because the spheres deploy directly at the cursor's position if they don't collide with anything beforehand, and spheres will be deleted if you deploy them too close to each other. Don't be stingy when using it; even when fired constantly, it still consumes ammo much slower than most rocket weapons.

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16.66% chance to drop from Martian Saucer
Best prefix: Unreal/Godly/Demonic $$$$

Charged Blaster Cannon: S+
It may be a lesser version of the Last Prism, but given that the Last Prism is the strongest magic weapon in the game, being able to harness even a fraction of that power turns the Charged Blaster Cannon into a dominant force that melts through everything. The other two firing modes are decent too, but they're cheap party tricks compared to the full beam. Notably, the uncharged shot is tricky to stunlock enemies with since it quickly gets replaced with the slower charged shot, allowing enemies to escape.

The full beam is incompatible with Spectre armor, so consider wearing a hybrid set if you're planning to use this as your main weapon.

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FULL BEAM
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0.13% chance to drop from non-boss enemies in Martian Madness
Best prefix: Mythical $$$$

Laser Machinegun: A-
It takes a while to get going, though the windup time isn't so long that you should hold down the attack button if you don't see any enemies on your screen. It's not quite as good as Razorpine in terms of raw damage output, but its improved range can occasionally give it an edge against offscreen targets. It is also rather poor if your playstyle revolves around dealing high burst damage and allowing your mana to regenerate between bursts, making it more suitable for use with the Magnet Flower. A set consisting of Spectre Mask and Dark Artist's Robes will reduce its mana cost to 3, and you can drop it all the way down to 2 by using Chlorophyte Headgear and any accessory that reduces mana cost by 8%.

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16.66% chance to drop from Martian Saucer
Best prefix: Mythical $$$$

Xeno Staff: S
This is the most reliable endgame minion for those who don't have Terraprisma. It doesn't get stuck, it delivers a constant stream of damage, it scales linearly with capacity, and it doesn't miss. Kind of like having a horde of Magnet Spheres. No matter what you’re fighting, the UFOs will almost certainly land the first hit, and they have no downtime since they lock onto a new target immediately after finishing something off. A useful weapon for any class, especially when bossing.

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16.66% chance to drop from Martian Saucer
Best prefix: Ruthless $$$$

Frost Moon

Christmas Tree Sword: B-

It produces a lot of projectiles, but even assuming that every single one of them lands on the same target, it is still weaker than the Terra Blade. It does at least cover a wider area than the Terra Blade and can somewhat counter flying enemies like Brain Sucklers, Alien Hornets, and Star Cells, though that's not too impressive since those are the most basic Lunar enemies you'll encounter. Overall, the Christmas Tree Sword is like a non-homing version of Flairon, which is pretty bad considering that homing is what makes Flairon good in the first place.

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5.19% to 7.78% chance to drop from Everscream, scaling with wave progression
Best prefix: Legendary $$$$

Razorpine: A+
The standard against which single-target magic weapons are measured. It's powerful and very simple to use, and it's the main reason why many people attempt the Frost Moon in the first place. The only point against it is that it's not a homing weapon, and at this point in the game, most enemies are so speedy and unpredictable that non-homing weapons start to fall behind a bit. It also has a very strange downside: because its projectiles are so dark-colored, it becomes harder to aim at night.

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5.19% to 7.78% chance to drop from Everscream, scaling with wave progression
Best prefix: Mythical $$$$

Chain Gun: B+
Uses standard bullets.
The least subtle ranged weapon in the game, it operates on the principle that any problem, no matter how large, can be overcome by drowning it in bullets. Unfortunately the best bullets aren't easy to obtain in large quantities, so it might be a good idea to stick to buyable bullet types like Nano and High Velocity instead of more valuable ones like Crystal and Chlorophyte that the Chain Gun will eat up in no time. It generally does fine with buyable bullets, and Nano Bullets can even shore up its accuracy problems. Ichor improves its damage output immensely due to its incredible rate of fire, though I would recommend inflicting the debuff with a different weapon.

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5.55% to 12.5% chance to drop from Santa-NK1, scaling with wave progression
Best prefix: Rapid $$$$

Elf Melter: C-
A hilariously weak single-target weapon that offers about the same DPS as the Shadowbeam Staff. None of its other qualities are good, either. It has shorter attack range than every other endgame ranged weapon, and it's significantly worse for crowd control than Eventide (which takes about as much effort to get, on top of being significantly stronger even when using the most basic ammunition). As an added insult, the damage bonus from Shroomite armor's head slot doesn't even apply to the Elf Melter. Sell this piece of garbage immediately.

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5.55% to 12.5% chance to drop from Santa-NK1, scaling with wave progression
Best prefix: Unreal $$$$

Blizzard Staff: A
This doesn't work well against everything, but there are some important fights that it does well against; namely Empress of Light, Duke Fishron, and the remainder of the Frost Moon. Like the Daedalus Stormbow, it is rather difficult to aim, but in return it provides insane amounts of damage against the large, predictable opponents you'd need it for. In fact, it has the highest single-target DPS potential of any pre-Lunar magic weapon, so even if you miss a bunch of your shots, it will still outperform a lot of other magic weapons.

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4.4% to 7.52% chance to drop from Ice Queen, scaling with wave progression.
Best prefix: Mythical $$$$

North Pole: B+
I genuinely don't know how good this weapon truly is. Sometimes it's extremely dominant to the point of chewing bosses apart in seconds, but most of the time it's just a garden-variety projectile melee weapon that attacks in a straight line. Depending on where you aim it, it can provide widespread crowd damage (by aiming to the side) or concentrated DPS on a single point (by aiming straight upwards). The problem with the latter is that it only affects enemies directly above or below you, it takes time to set up, and you can't move sideways while doing it. So the most practical way to use the North Pole is to attack directly with the launched spear while staying close to the ground. Since snowflakes deal reduced damage when more of them are on your screen, you'll want to be as accurate as possible to maximize the damage dealt by those that hit their mark.

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4.4% to 7.52% chance to drop from Ice Queen, scaling with wave progression
Best prefix: Godly/Demonic $$$$

Snowman Cannon: S
Stat-wise, it doesn't seem like a massive upgrade to previous rocket launchers, but thanks to its homing abilities and lack of self-damage, the Snowman Cannon is easily the most reliable rocket weapon in the game. Without the fear of blowing yourself up, you can take full advantage of Rocket III and Mini Nuke I with their massive blast radius. Using stronger ammo also helps to shore up its modest damage output, and while it will never match the single-target dominance of Tsunami and Eventide, nothing beats the Snowman Cannon when it comes to ranged crowd control.

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4.4% to 7.52% chance to drop from Ice Queen, scaling with wave progression
Best prefix: Unreal $$$$$$$$

Sold by Tavernkeep (req: Golem defeated)

Ballista Staff: A-

Like its predecessors, the Ballista Staff is a great sentry against the Old One's Army, but rather mediocre outside of it. It can at least clear out crowded areas very quickly through resummoning. When left alone, it won't reach truly impressive levels of power without Ballista Panic, which is hard to take advantage of on higher difficulties. However, placing Dungeon Spikes around the arena before starting the event allows you to maintain Ballista Panic pretty easily. Outside the event, you can activate Ballista Panic by shooting yourself with a Minishark + Exploding Bullets if you don't have anything better to do. This can also be an effective way to stall for time when combined with Master Ninja Gear, Brain of Confusion, and Star Veil.

Ballistas are great when placed midway between the portal and crystal due to their high range, but you should reserve the area near the portals for Explosive Traps if possible.

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Sold by Tavernkeep for 100 Defender Medals after Golem has been defeated
Best prefix: Ruthless $$$$$$$$

Flameburst Staff: C-
This may have been designed to be a jack-of-all-trades sentry, but lack of specialization is the last thing a sentry needs. It loses in DPS to the Frost Hydra, it loses in crowd control to all the other DD2 sentries, and it has a huge blind spot above the sentry's head. Yes, it fires faster than the Ballista, but don't be fooled: its fire rate is still very slow, and its blast radius is too small for it to be useful for crowd control. While not completely useless, it's far worse than all the other sentries it's competing with. The other three sentries have the option to become good when backed by a set bonus, but Flameburst gains nothing meaningful from Dark Artist armor. In fact, it is genuinely unclear whether this is better than the Queen Spider Staff, since they have around the same DPS (yes, seriously) and Venom deals actual damage while On Fire! does not. Don't buy this.

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Sold by Tavernkeep for 100 Defender Medals after Golem has been defeated
Best prefix: Ruthless $$$$$$$$

Explosive Trap Staff: A
The Red Riding armor set bonus ramps up its firing speed to the point that it beats all other sentries by a mile, both during the Old One's Army and outside of it. It demands constant attention since it needs to be repositioned often, but the damage output is worth it since few ranged weapons can delete a crowd of grounded enemies as quickly as four Explosive Traps blasting away at full speed. It's great when placed near the portals, and it's great for defending the crystal too since it won't miss. Several of them can one-shot the Etherian Wyverns before they can even touch the crystal.

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Sold by Tavernkeep for 100 Defender Medals after Golem has been defeated
Best prefix: Demonic $$$$$$$$

Lightning Aura Staff: B-
In contrast to the extreme blasting enabled by Red Riding armor, Shinobi Infiltrator armor provides a more modest bonus to Lightning Aura sentries, which doesn't bode well for the Lightning Aura given that it's also weaker than the Explosive Trap by default. Nonetheless, the Lightning Aura has a few advantages: because it is the only sentry whose hitbox is active at all times, it can be used to delete Drakomire fireballs, and it also interrupts certain shooter enemies like Elf Archers and Tesla Turrets. Admittedly these advantages are rather small, but at least the Lightning Aura has a niche, which is more than I can say about the Flameburst.

This should never be the only sentry you use against the Old One's Army. Only those placed near the portals will deal damage; any placed closer to the center will only deal damage to Ogres. It also doesn't defend the crystal well due to its lack of burst damage against Etherian Wyverns, though it does a decent job of killing them as they emerge from the portal if you're using the set bonus.

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SHINOBI INFILTRATOR
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Sold by Tavernkeep for 100 Defender Medals after Golem has been defeated
Best prefix: Demonic $$$$$$$$

Dropped by Betsy

Flying Dragon: A

It is slightly less powerful than the Terra Blade, but it has a much wider projectile that gives it a far better matchup against all the erratically-moving fliers you'll encounter in the Lunar events. Much of the difficulty of endgame battles comes from the fact that enemies are hard to hit in the first place, so Flying Dragon actually ends up being pretty good for crowd control against swarms of Brain Sucklers, Star Cells, and Nebula Floaters (but NOT Selenians). As it turns out, size does matter.

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25% chance to drop from Betsy
Best prefix: Legendary $$

Sky Dragon's Fury: B
The only secondary-attack weapon that actually encourages you to switch between attack modes. The electrosphere attack covers a wide area but doesn't prevent enemies from approaching, while the spin attack easily dispatches nearby enemies but has limited range. They cover each other's weaknesses. This seems like a nice synergy, but the reality is that you could just choose a weapon that doesn't have those weaknesses in the first place. I would consider both attack styles mediocre on their own, and since Sky Dragon's Fury can only use one of them at a time, the whole is not better than the sum of its parts.

SPIN
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ELECTROSPHERES
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25% chance to drop from Betsy
Best prefix: Godly/Demonic $$

Aerial Bane: B+
"Airborne" describes basically every important enemy you'll be facing in the endgame, so the Aerial Bane's perk will almost always be active. This makes it a powerful choice, but since it can only fire one type of arrow, it is rather inflexible. While it packs a serious punch against flying enemies, the Aerial Bane is not necessarily accurate since its arrow is heavily affected by gravity, limiting its range. As a result, it ends up being a less reliable anti-air option than most homing weapons, despite its extraordinary damage output. It is also considerably slower than most bows, which makes it harder to lead your shots properly. This is especially bad because Aerial Bane depends so heavily on killing enemies in one shot, and hitting them even a bit off-center allows them to survive. For the Lunar Events, this is much less reliable than the other endgame bows with Chlorophyte Arrows. However, its performance against Moon Lord is still very good if you don't mind its shorter effective range.

VENOM ARROW
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25% chance to drop from Betsy
Best prefix: Unreal $$

Betsy's Wrath: S
Inflicts an upgraded version of Ichor with no relevant immunities. Betsy's Wrath is pretty much a no-brainer as a support weapon for bossing, and with its large area of effect and high damage, it's a strong magic weapon in its own right. Along with Vampire Knives and Dark Harvest, this is one of the best support weapons for summoners to use with their Kaleidoscope. It pairs well with weapons that deal many hits very quickly, such as Phantasm, Razorpine, and Nebula Arcanum.

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25% chance to drop from Betsy
Best prefix: Mythical $$

Crafted from Celestial Fragments

Stardust Cell Staff: A-

Compared to the Dragon, Stardust Cells are much better at disrupting multiple threats and offer much more stable DPS over time thanks to their flawless accuracy and DoT debuff, but they deal significantly lower damage to bosses. (Using Kaleidoscope helps to narrow the gap since the cells appreciate tag damage more than the dragon.) Dedicated summoner builds might be able to find use for the cell since it is better than the dragon at eliminating multiple annoying enemies that don't have much health, but it is absolutely not worth it if you only have enough fragments for one weapon. If you can craft both, it's a good idea to add a few dragon segments even when you're planning to use cells. The cells and dragon will often target different parts of your screen, and that's usually a good thing.

The choice between the two Stardust weapons is not a matter of "personal preference" like people often say it is. Stardust Cell is a good minion, but it's not good enough to compete with the Stardust Dragon, especially because the dragon is far better for shredding the Moon Lord and you probably care a lot more about that. I can think of several situations where it's optimal to run full dragon, but practically no situations where it's optimal to run full cell. Also, it would seem that the Stardust Cell has the advantage of dealing non-piercing damage, which would allow it to deal damage alongside your piercing main weapons... but unfortunately, it actually deals piercing damage, just like the Ballista Staff and Influx Waver. It won't interfere with itself and it won't interfere with your main weapon, but it won't perform at its full potential if you're using something like Razorblade Typhoon or Solar Eruption.

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Crafted from 18 Stardust Fragments at the Ancient Manipulator
Best prefix: Ruthless $$$$

Stardust Dragon Staff: S+
The Stardust Dragon Staff is a stupendous upgrade that will make your life much easier even if you've never touched a summoning weapon up until this point. It bypasses all barriers and hunts down enemies at every corner of your screen, and performs excellently with no investment other than a Bewitching Table and Summoning Potion. All three other classes can put together viable hybrid sets that boost the power and capacity of the dragon with minimal sacrifices to class damage bonuses. (These sets are Shinobi/Spooky/Valhalla, Shroomite/Red Riding/Spooky, and Hallowed/Spooky/Dark Artist for melee, ranged, and magic respectively.)

Compared to the Stardust Cell, the dragon can occasionally experience some downtime since its AI isn't perfect at tracking down enemies. However, it will significantly outperform cells when fighting against Moon Lord, mainly due to the boss's extremely predictable AI essentially making it a sitting duck for the dragon. Against more mobile bosses (like Empress of Light), the dragon's slight lack of consistency drags it down a bit, though not to the point that it would ever be worse than cells. Also, it does synergize with Firecracker, but since Kaleidoscope deals significant damage on its own and Firecracker does not, you'll find the damage output similar enough that you should stick to Kaleidoscope for its superior range.

The Stardust Dragon will never interfere with your piercing attacks, but the opposite does not hold true. Therefore, when using the dragon on magic hybrid sets, avoid using Razorblade Typhoon or Nightglow, and stick to non-piercing weapons like Bat Scepter, Razorpine, etc. (This mechanic is not really relevant to melee or ranged, since practically all endgame melee weapons and no endgame ranged weapons deal piercing damage.)

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Crafted from 18 Stardust Fragments at the Ancient Manipulator
Best prefix: Ruthless $$$$

Vortex Beater: S-
Uses standard bullets.
The choice between Phantasm and Vortex Beater comes down to whether you prefer the raw power of Holy/Venom Arrows or the consistency of Chlorophyte Bullets. Practically everyone trying to showcase a no-hit Moon Lord fight will be using the Vortex Beater with Chlorophyte Bullets; from this you might guess that it's optimal for damaging an offscreen enemy without paying attention to where you're aiming, and you'd be correct. Vortex Beater is also great for general crowd control during the Lunar pillars, though you will probably be sticking to the same ammo since it needs Chlorophyte or Nano Bullets to compensate for its wide bullet spread. This weapon is basically half a Snowman Cannon duct-taped to a Chain Gun, so it's not surprising that it's effective against both bosses and crowds alike.

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Crafted from 18 Vortex Fragments at the Ancient Manipulator
Best prefix: Unreal $$$$

Phantasm: S
Uses standard arrows.
While it offers the best single-target ranged DPS when used with Holy Arrows, it's trickier to use than the Vortex Beater against Moon Lord, who moves around a lot and also forces you to move around a lot. It's far from unusable in that fight, though, because it comes with a built-in aim correction system: your phantasm arrows will always point in the direction of a live target. Pay attention to the direction they shoot and adjust your angle accordingly. It won't be optimal against the final phase on Expert because you'll be too busy getting the heck out of there to focus on aiming, but it can get you through the first half without too many problems.

Because of its somewhat low damage value and large number of hits per second, this is a weapon on which a good modifier matters a great deal, and any damage boosts you can get from ammo, buffs, debuffs, and accessories will have a much larger effect than usual. Venom Arrows are actually a great idea since they have inherently high velocity and unrivaled base damage (which actually matters for Phantasm), and also because Moon Lord won't get hit by Holy Arrow stars consistently. Overall, using the Phantasm is a bit of a commitment, but it is insanely powerful and rivals even the S.D.M.G when aimed properly. Be sure to use Magic Quiver and Archery Potion when using Holy Arrows; the velocity boost will significantly improve your aim.

For crowd control, this is generally considered less reliable than the Vortex Beater, but it actually works well with Chlorophyte Arrows. You can spray the arrows into a dangerous area and eliminate enemies with smart bounce, and the satisfying part about Phantasm is that its phantasm arrows will immediately let you know that the strategy is working.

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VENOM ARROW / ICHOR ARROW
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Crafted from 18 Vortex Fragments at the Ancient Manipulator
Best prefix: Unreal $$$$

Nebula Blaze: A
If you've made it this far, you'll probably have figured out that a weapon's base damage tells you virtually nothing about its viability, so the Nebula Blaze's extremely high base damage should immediately raise some red flags in your head. Indeed, the dynamic between the Nebula Blaze and the Nebula Arcanum looks a lot like the dynamic between the Stardust Cell and Stardust Dragon, in that the former deals lower, more stable DPS while the latter scores a massive payoff during moments when a target is vulnerable. (Ironic as it seems, Blaze is the more stable one here.) Nebula Blaze is still a perfectly good weapon, but its advantages over the Arcanum are not what many people think they are. Despite its lack of knockback, it is better for immediately dealing with nearby threats since it kills them almost instantly whereas the Arcanum has to pierce through them before circling back. It is also better for kiting the Moon Lord, who tends to punish you hard for changing directions (as the Arcanum often requires you to do).

Blaze is also useful as a sort of "Hail Mary" when your health is critically low (or when the Moon Bite debuff wears off briefly), since Nebula Blaze EX can heal you for upwards of 300 health in one shot when using the Spectre Hood. You won't be able to heal for a long time after absorbing a wisp of that magnitude, making it pretty bad for general use, but uniquely suitable for the Moon Lord fight.

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Crafted from 18 Nebula Fragments at the Ancient Manipulator
Best prefix: Demonic $$$$

Nebula Arcanum: S-
The Nebula Arcanum behaves a lot like the Wasp Gun, but on the final hit, each galaxy explodes into a massive burst of non-piercing projectiles. This gives it some of the highest single-target burst DPS in the game (I've seen the DPS rating go above 30,000 in some cases). In fact, the Nebula Arcanum's burst damage is so absurdly high that you can use it to defeat daytime Empress of Light without learning half of her attacks. The fight goes something like: Prismatic Bolts, dash, Sun Dance, trigger 2nd phase, Ethereal Lance v2, and then she dies.

So if you thought the Nebula Blaze vs. Nebula Arcanum dynamic was a choice between single-target DPS and crowd control, you'd be sorely mistaken; the Arcanum is better at both. Its primary disadvantage is its slow velocity, meaning that if you are kiting your target in one direction, the projectiles may not get a chance to deal their final hit, so you might be forced to make some more dangerous plays in order to let them catch up. It also consumes mana extremely quickly, though this problem can be mostly fixed by equipping a Magnet Flower. Because its projectiles last for a very long time, the Nebula Arcanum is probably the best way to use up extra mana stars on the ground. It can sustain itself indefinitely during invasion events if you have a Celestial Magnet (or any of its tinkers).

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Crafted from 18 Nebula Fragments at the Ancient Manipulator
Best prefix: Mythical $$$$

Solar Eruption: A+
Destroys all the crowds of enemies you'll encounter in the remainder of the Celestial events, but falls somewhat short against the final boss due to its middling range. Its DPS depends heavily on the distance to your target: up close, it's significantly stronger than Daybreak, but at greater distances it won't be hitting as frequently or accurately. While it's not optimal for boss fights, you can abuse its wall-piercing properties to great effect during pillar battles.

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....Availability: #####
Crafted from 18 Solar Fragments at the Ancient Manipulator
Best prefix: Godly/Demonic $$$$

Daybreak: A
A bit of a slow burn (literally). It won't deal as much immediate DPS as the Solar Eruption, but it's very consistent and has far better range, so it's the best option for melee users who need to damage something at the edge of their screen. The fixed damage dealt by the Daybroken debuff keeps its DPS somewhat stable even if you don't land every shot. Phantasm is better if you don't care about class, but Daybreak is still a nice choice for a melee playthrough, especially because it isn't as harshly impacted by the low offensive bonuses of Beetle Shell, making it a perfect fit for a tank set.

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....Availability: #####
Crafted from 18 Solar Fragments at the Ancient Manipulator
Best prefix: Godly/Demonic $$$$

Dropped by Moon Lord

Terrarian: A+
You can just drag this vaguely near an enemy's position, and the homing projectiles will take care of the rest. It is excellent for crowd control and sufficient for boss battles. Yoyo Bag is recommended as usual, not because the Yoyo Glove greatly improves its damage output (it doesn't) but because the Terrarian greatly appreciates the bonus range from White String.

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....Availability: n/a
11.11% chance to drop from Moon Lord
Best prefix: Legendary $$$$

Meowmere: B
An extremely spammy weapon that carpets a wide area. Due to its stupidly high base damage, this used to be the weapon of choice for noobs on "free items" servers before Zenith was introduced. Unfortunately, it offers nothing to subsequent Moon Lord fights that you can't already accomplish with Daybreak (which deals higher single-target DPS when its debuff is factored in). It also has noticeably lower velocity, making it harder to aim with. So the best place to use it is during invasions, where it barely needs to be aimed at all. It spawns so many projectiles that you'll be killing things offscreen without really meaning to.

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....Availability: n/a
11.11% chance to drop from Moon Lord
Best prefix: Legendary $$$$$$$$

Star Wrath: B-
Star Wrath has the same flaws as the Blizzard Staff: it's inaccurate and it can't hit offscreen targets. It also has a lot of trouble hitting things at the top of your screen. On the bright side it has no mana cost, so you can spam it 100% of the time and eventually kill whatever you're trying to hit. It would be a lot worse if it wasn't for its extremely high damage per hit, but it's still almost objectively worse than the Terrarian.

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....Availability: n/a
11.11% chance to drop from Moon Lord
Best prefix: Legendary $$$$$$$$

S.D.M.G: S+
Uses standard bullets.
Basically, it's Phantasm but with bullets. S.D.M.G. actually falls behind Phantasm when the latter is using Holy Arrows against a stationary target; as a gun, its true advantage is its ability to use Chlorophyte Bullets, allowing it to consistently damage fast-moving targets and offscreen bosses. If this all sounds familiar to you, it's because every gun is pretty much the same when using Chlorophyte Bullets. The S.D.M.G. is probably one of the best Moon Lord drops to receive first, since it's a direct improvement to the Vortex Beater that most people use against Moon Lord for efficient runs (including speedruns).

The stealth effect from Vortex armor is a neat little toy that you didn't have access to before, which nearly doubles your DPS and doesn't even penalize your movement that much if you're wearing Soaring Insignia. This allows it to nearly compete with the likes of Last Prism in terms of damage output. Phantasm and Celebration Mk2 can also do this, but S.D.M.G.'s perfect accuracy with Chlorophyte Bullets makes it the strongest ranged DPS weapon in practice most of the time.

Note that speed-increasing modifiers boost its speed by 20% rather than 10%, so its second-best modifier is actually Deadly and not Godly/Demonic.

CHLOROPHYTE BULLET
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LUMINITE BULLET
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....Availability: n/a
11.11% chance to drop from Moon Lord
Best prefix: Unreal $$$$$$

Celebration Mk2: S
Its damage output is so insane that it barely needs to be aimed. Despite its poor-looking accuracy, Celebration Mk2 is a reliable weapon for killing Moon Lord, Lunar enemies, and everything else simply because it covers such a huge area. Moving in close can be rewarding because it allows you to land the red rocket more often, but you shouldn't feel pressured to do so because you'll deal massive damage anyways as long as you aren't aiming in the complete opposite direction.

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....Availability: n/a
11.11% chance to drop from Moon Lord
Best prefix: Unreal $$$$

Last Prism: S+
Last Prism is almost universally accepted as the strongest magic weapon in the game, dealing so much damage that even Mana Sickness barely slows it down. It's great for crowd control even if you don't want to use a Mana Flower. Just like with the Laser Machinegun, if you don't see any enemies, stop firing. The scattered beams are much more mana-efficient to use, and equally effective against everything except bosses. One extra advantage of the unfocused beams is that they can activate Spectre healing while the full beam cannot.

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....Availability: n/a
11.11% chance to drop from Moon Lord
Best prefix: Demonic $$$$

Lunar Flare: A
Lunar Flare isn't a bad weapon, but it has no meaningful advantages over Last Prism. It only does exceptionally well against clusters of grounded enemies, and most of the more threatening Lunar event enemies don't spend much time near the ground. While Lunar Flare is better for underground combat, there is no more underground content for you to experience. You'll mainly spend your time fighting Moon Lord, an airborne opponent that is very easy to hit with Last Prism but rather difficult to hit with Lunar Flare. On top of that, it penalizes sustained use just as harshly as the Last Prism, which you might notice if you're using the Magnet Flower and Spectre Hood. In fact, Last Prism ends up being more efficient if you mostly use its scattered beams. It is a bit unfortunate that the Lunar Flare will inevitably end up getting compared to something as broken as Last Prism, but viewed on its own merit, it is definitely better than the Star Wrath for PvE situations since the explosions give it a much larger area of effect against enemies on the ground. It's just hard to justify using when Nebula Blaze and Nightglow are so much more consistent against the Moon Lord itself.

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....Availability: n/a
11.11% chance to drop from Moon Lord
Best prefix: Mythical $$$$

Rainbow Crystal Staff: B+
While it's probably not the Moon Lord drop you were hoping for, the Rainbow Crystal is strong enough that it might be worth running a specialized sentry set for it the next time you challenge the Lunar events. It consistently pulls the highest DPS of any sentry during crowded invasions, and can even chip at bosses somewhat if you're fighting in a dedicated arena. Moon Lord never drops enough Luminite for a full armor set in one kill, so using a broken set with one Luminite piece (ideally Stardust Leggings) actually makes a lot of sense if you're getting ready for a second Moon Lord battle. In this case, you'll likely be using Shinobi Infiltrator for the head slot and Stardust Leggings for the leg slot. Dark Artist and Red Riding have significantly weaker helmets, so running a sentry hybrid is not as lucrative for magic or ranged users, though it's still not a bad idea.

Sometimes life gives you lemons, and sometimes the Moon Lord gives you a Rainbow Crystal Staff, but at least it has decent potential when given just a bit of investment.

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....Availability: n/a
11.11% chance to drop from Moon Lord
Best prefix: Ruthless $$$$

Lunar Portal Staff: C
The sentry that everyone kind of forgot about due to not being especially bad or good in 1.3, back when the Rainbow Crystal Staff was pretty much the worst thing ever. Nowadays, the Lunar Portal Staff is easily the least exciting Moon Lord drop since it does practically everything the Rainbow Crystal Staff does, but slightly worse. Of course, it is still worth using since it greatly outclasses every pre-Moon Lord sentry. It's actually somewhat impressive if you're using a sentry helmet, since it can stunlock enemies briefly and covers a wide area with its beams. But that doesn't change the fact that most players are rightfully disappointed when it drops. You could have been mowing everything down with an S.D.M.G. or Last Prism but instead you got this.

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....Availability: n/a
11.11% chance to drop from Moon Lord
Best prefix: Ruthless $$$$

Craftable after defeating Moon Lord

Zenith: F
made you look lol

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....Availability: n/a
Crafted from Terra Blade, Meowmere, Star Wrath, Influx Waver, The Horseman's Blade, Seedler, Starfury, Bee Keeper, Enchanted Sword, Copper Shortsword
Best prefix: Legendary $$$$$$$$
Adamantite Repeater has over 20 more base DPS (meaning with only wooden arrows) than Mythril/Orichalcum, and Titanium has over 30. This doesn't seem like a lot but it really adds up with your damage bonuses and speed reforges. Titanium and Adamantite are not rare or hard enough to get that you should be "saving" them for anything, since you can just go grab more just like any other ore. I also find them to be A tier weapons for Duke Fishron and the Twins.

Frost Staff deserves A-, since it actually has a higher base DPS than Titanium Repeater with a 12 damage arrow, and it's pretty good on Twins, Skeletron Prime, Queen Slime, and Duke Fishron, and can put up a fight during crowd control events.

Flower of Frost has a whopping base DPS of 300. That's the same as Megashark with a 10 damage bullet. For a pre-mech weapon, I'd say that's pretty good on the DPS end. As for accuracy issues, it usually has no issue fighting Skeletron and Duke Fishron, but using on Queen Slime or the Twins is possible but too much of a hassle, so that does deserve a rank drop.

Gatligator should not be getting any rank above B-. It is a ranged weapon with a spread so bad you have to be at point blank ranges to use it properly. Sure, it can technically reach high DPS, but if you've ever seen the GIF on its wiki page you'll notice that the tester is shooting at the center dummy only and missing most of his shots, and he was standing at a range where even yoyos are viable. Explosive bullets are much more unreliable than with clockwork AR or even minishark for disruption. If you've actually used this on the Twins, you'll notice that any amount of boss defense + the severe inaccuracy can drop the DPS so low that it's on par with hellwing bow.

Hallowed Repeater is a great weapon that has access to 4 bow exclusive damage bonuses, and it can easily shred Old One's Army T2, Twins, Destroyer, Skeletron Prime, Queen Slime, Duke Fishron, Pirates, Goblins, and even Plantera and Golem. It can even be viable against Pumpkin Moon. It's not overpowered by any means, and it doesn't have insane DPS, but it's so well balanced that you really don't ever need to get rid of this weapon. It's versatility makes it even better than Megashark, which lacks said 4 exclusive damage bonuses, lacks proper crowd control, loses more damage to defense, and really not a weapon you'd want to bring into Pumpkin Moon.

Arkhalis should get D+ simply because it's good on Destroyer lmao.

Flamethrower has no disruption (it has less than 0.5 knockback), low range, and it's so terrible at crowd control that, as you mentioned, it gets outperformed by pre-mech weapons. It has a base DPS of 210, which may seem like a lot but just 10 enemy defense drops it below the ranks of repeaters with special arrows. This 210 DPS is also obtained after defeating a mechanical boss. On top of that, every time it pierces it loses a huge portion of damage. When piercing just 4 enemies it goes 210 DPS » 174 DPS » 144 DPS » 120 DPS. That's unacceptable for a post-mech weapon. This deserves D- for effort.

Jack o' Lantern Launcher has no business being ranked above Grenade Launcher. Firstly, Grenade Launcher with Rocket IIIs (obtained at night time all the time) has the same damage as Jack o' Lantern Launcher, except it has 75 more base DPS. Second, Grenade Launcher has access to mini-nukes, which brings it to over 100 more DPS than Jack o' Lantern Launcher, and it scales with damage bonuses better. Jack o' Lantern bouncing is too unreliable to count as a bonus, because while that can mean it'll come back and hit anyways, it can also mean it'll leave to never return. Grenade Launcher being able to hurt you isn't typically a problem, since by the time you're post-plantera you're usually not at point blank ranges as a ranger. In the dungeon the Grenade Launcher may be less reliable, but so is the Jack o' Lantern Launcher in comparison to Candy Corn Rifle. I believe Nukes and Rocket IIIs also have a higher blast radius, making Grenade Launcher even more reliable for CC.

Pulse Bow is a bad weapon. By the time you get it, it has a pitiful base DPS. With Venom Arrows, it's only 312, which is absolutely trash considering that you have to kill plantera and then wait for an NPC with a ⅕ chance to spawn each day to sell one of his rarest weapons. This might be ok for T2 OOA, but so is Hallowed Repeater (which has access to Jesters, which pierce more), and for T3 OOA this is absolutely a big no no. You'll get overwhelmed quickly after wave 2 and have no chance of simultaneously defeating all the bosses, drakins, wyverns, and normal enemies at once.

For Razorpine, I honestly don't understand the weaknesses listed. Not homing? Tsunami and Stake Launcher are far from homing weapons and are S tiers. There aren't a lot of erratic enemies in the game either. Empress of Light is designed to be predictable, same with Lunatic Cultist, and Festive Moon bosses and Moon Lord come at you in a straight line. Normal enemies typically attempt to come directly after you, unless they stop in one place to fire. The most erratic enemy here is probably Nebula Floaters, which I don't think is enough to drop the rank. It has a high DPS (more than most other weapons at the time), ranging between 720, 1080, and 1440 DPS. It can also get the Mythical modifier, which increases that range to 920, 1380, and 1840 DPS. This puts it on par with Laser Machinegun, which has a base DPS of 1200, and 1380 with Mythical. As for the night time accuracy issue, there are flaws with this argument. First, Razorpine is fairly accurate, even over longer ranges, and barely requires leading shots to be effective. Second, most people have glowing arenas, from torches, heart lanterns, campfires, housing, or decorations. Lastly, you have a giant glowing cursor that you use to aim, so you really only have to account for projectile destinations. As an honorable mention, in 1.4 there's ALWAYS something happening in the background that's making the sky glow. They added more stars, there's falling stars in the background, there's star shower nights, lantern nights, etc.

Elf Melter should be F for the same reason as flamethrower. It's absolutely horrible at its tier, and I'm surprised it didn't get a rework considering Stake Launcher got one and became completely busted.

I don't know Terrarian's exact DPS, but I do know that with a yoyo bag and little damage bonuses, you can easily surpass 4000 DPS. I can't say whether it deserves a rank change or not, since I don't know its exact DPS or how much yoyo bag increases it.

Celebration Mk2 deserves S+ simply because its high damage, crowd control, range, and DPS for any situation should also bring safety to max, and accuracy isn't much of an issue because the explosions are so erratic and large, and it's not hard to lead your shots with this beast. There's no consistent way to measure its DPS, but assuming it only fired one rocket at a time while using mini-nukes, it'd have a base DPS of 1150. That's only 110 less DPS than Luminite Bullet SDMG, but with better dispersion of both aerial and ground enemies. Sometimes multiple rockets launch at once, which gives it a higher DPS generally.

Overall, I mostly agree with the rest of the tier list, I just felt these needed to be pointed out.
 

J Bame

Terrarian
Jack o' Lantern Launcher has no business being ranked above Grenade Launcher. Firstly, Grenade Launcher with Rocket IIIs (obtained at night time all the time) has the same damage as Jack o' Lantern Launcher, except it has 75 more base DPS. Second, Grenade Launcher has access to mini-nukes, which brings it to over 100 more DPS than Jack o' Lantern Launcher, and it scales with damage bonuses better. Jack o' Lantern bouncing is too unreliable to count as a bonus, because while that can mean it'll come back and hit anyways, it can also mean it'll leave to never return. Grenade Launcher being able to hurt you isn't typically a problem, since by the time you're post-plantera you're usually not at point blank ranges as a ranger. In the dungeon the Grenade Launcher may be less reliable, but so is the Jack o' Lantern Launcher in comparison to Candy Corn Rifle. I believe Nukes and Rocket IIIs also have a higher blast radius, making Grenade Launcher even more reliable for CC
The Jack O'Launcher hits twice on a direct hit, this puts its single target dps at 600 vs Grenade Lancher's 405 (assuming mini nukes). Considering single target damage tends to be more valuable than crowd control at this stage of the game the Jack O Launcher ends up being far superior in practice.
 

qwerty3.14

Terrarian
Hallowed Repeater is a great weapon that has access to 4 bow exclusive damage bonuses, and it can easily shred Old One's Army T2, Twins, Destroyer, Skeletron Prime, Queen Slime, Duke Fishron, Pirates, Goblins, and even Plantera and Golem. It can even be viable against Pumpkin Moon. It's not overpowered by any means, and it doesn't have insane DPS, but it's so well balanced that you really don't ever need to get rid of this weapon. It's versatility makes it even better than Megashark, which lacks said 4 exclusive damage bonuses, lacks proper crowd control, loses more damage to defense, and really not a weapon you'd want to bring into Pumpkin Moon.
Megashark with highVel bullets has 0 issues dealing with T2 OOA, and you've already killed destroyer. Ii don't see many other scenarios where you'll have more than 3 enemies lined up.

Also the 'less effected by defense' doesn't matter in my Empress test they performed roughly equal, which is a boss with 50 defense. The only boss close to that pre plantera is prime during its spin attack, everything else is much lower than that.
All the pumpkin moon enemies have less defense than empress with pumpking having 36 and mourning wood having 28.

Flamethrower has no disruption (it has less than 0.5 knockback), low range, and it's so terrible at crowd control that, as you mentioned, it gets outperformed by pre-mech weapons. It has a base DPS of 210, which may seem like a lot but just 10 enemy defense drops it below the ranks of repeaters with special arrows. This 210 DPS is also obtained after defeating a mechanical boss. On top of that, every time it pierces it loses a huge portion of damage. When piercing just 4 enemies it goes 210 DPS » 174 DPS » 144 DPS » 120 DPS. That's unacceptable for a post-mech weapon. This deserves D- for effort.
D- is where excalibur is sitting right now, as bad as the flamethrower is it's not THAT bad.

Jack o' Lantern Launcher has no business being ranked above Grenade Launcher. Firstly, Grenade Launcher with Rocket IIIs (obtained at night time all the time) has the same damage as Jack o' Lantern Launcher, except it has 75 more base DPS. Second, Grenade Launcher has access to mini-nukes, which brings it to over 100 more DPS than Jack o' Lantern Launcher, and it scales with damage bonuses better. Jack o' Lantern bouncing is too unreliable to count as a bonus, because while that can mean it'll come back and hit anyways, it can also mean it'll leave to never return. Grenade Launcher being able to hurt you isn't typically a problem, since by the time you're post-plantera you're usually not at point blank ranges as a ranger. In the dungeon the Grenade Launcher may be less reliable, but so is the Jack o' Lantern Launcher in comparison to Candy Corn Rifle. I believe Nukes and Rocket IIIs also have a higher blast radius, making Grenade Launcher even more reliable for CC.
The jack o lanterns do x2 damage on direct hits, and the launcher doesn't have friendly fire, and yes that friendly fire is an issue grenades will explode early if an enemy gets in your face and since grenades do pvp damage you only get 8 iFrames when hit meaning you can kill yourslef VERY quickly.

Pulse Bow is a bad weapon. By the time you get it, it has a pitiful base DPS. With Venom Arrows, it's only 312, which is absolutely trash considering that you have to kill plantera and then wait for an NPC with a ⅕ chance to spawn each day to sell one of his rarest weapons. This might be ok for T2 OOA, but so is Hallowed Repeater (which has access to Jesters, which pierce more), and for T3 OOA this is absolutely a big no no. You'll get overwhelmed quickly after wave 2 and have no chance of simultaneously defeating all the bosses, drakins, wyverns, and normal enemies at once.
Availibilty is not a factor in this tier list. Assume Dream luck.
Jester's arrows piercing more doesn't matter that much when they're doing little damage after 7 pierces, pulse bows higher base dps means that this is effectively just a better hallowed repeater.


For Razorpine, I honestly don't understand the weaknesses listed. Not homing? Tsunami and Stake Launcher are far from homing weapons and are S tiers. There aren't a lot of erratic enemies in the game either. Empress of Light is designed to be predictable, same with Lunatic Cultist, and Festive Moon bosses and Moon Lord come at you in a straight line. Normal enemies typically attempt to come directly after you, unless they stop in one place to fire. The most erratic enemy here is probably Nebula Floaters, which I don't think is enough to drop the rank. It has a high DPS (more than most other weapons at the time), ranging between 720, 1080, and 1440 DPS. It can also get the Mythical modifier, which increases that range to 920, 1380, and 1840 DPS. This puts it on par with Laser Machinegun, which has a base DPS of 1200, and 1380 with Mythical. As for the night time accuracy issue, there are flaws with this argument. First, Razorpine is fairly accurate, even over longer ranges, and barely requires leading shots to be effective. Second, most people have glowing arenas, from torches, heart lanterns, campfires, housing, or decorations. Lastly, you have a giant glowing cursor that you use to aim, so you really only have to account for projectile destinations. As an honorable mention, in 1.4 there's ALWAYS something happening in the background that's making the sky glow. They added more stars, there's falling stars in the background, there's star shower nights, lantern nights, etc.
Razorpine doesn't just lack homing it has it's projectiles fall after random distances which means that its dps drops when attacking stuff further away. Even with my hyper aggressive playstyle it didn't perform as well as tsunami against empress of light. The gap will only get bigger with people who don't play aggresivly.

Also you're crazy if you use this on moonlord, moonlord is a very spammy high damage boss, the most popular way of dealing with him is to stay far away from all his bs and use a long range weapon.
 

Shyguymask

Terrarian
Kaleidoscope REALLY needs to be ranked S or most likely S+. Availability is not taken into account, and as a weapon itself Kaleidoscope is one of the best weapons for piercing multiple enemies, and against single targets it easily pulls quad digit DPS with Dark Harvest and no minions. With Obsidian Armor, expect 2000+ DPS. Then you combine it with a weapon like Stardust Cell Staff and you get a total of 5000+ if not 6000+ DPS, which is on par with Stardust Dragon/Firecracker/Dark Harvest (tested against Empress of Light).
 
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