Table of Contents:
- The Basics
- Tier 1: Early Game
- Tier 2: Bee Gear
- Tier 3: Imp Staff
- Tier 4: Early Hardmode
- Tier 5: Optic Staff
- Tier 6: Tiki Gear
- Tier 7: Late Hardmode
- Tier 8: Stardust Gear
So, you want to be a summoner?
Well, you’ve come to the right place! This guide will walk you through your summoner class playthrough, providing lots of in-depth tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your summoner build. Summoner is considered by many to be the worst of the four classes in Terraria (aside from poor, poor throwing), but I’m here to tell you that those people simply don’t know how to play it correctly, on account of it being very different compared to the other classes. Where you can just pick up any of the other classes and play them decently, summoner has a lot of limitations you’ll have to work around and tricks you’ll have to know in order to get everything out of it. Play it right, though, and it can prove just as effective – if not more so – than any melee or magic build, and on top of that you’ll find it’s a lot of fun.
Before we get started on the walkthrough, though, there are a few basics you’ll need to know about the summoner class. Some of these are pretty intuitive, but some aren’t, so make sure you pay attention. These are things that will be very important to your understanding of the class, and will explain a lot of the advice I give during the walkthrough:
-First off, this guide is NOT for a “pure summoner” build. It is for summoners as they are meant to be played, which means using other weapons along with your summons. If you want to try beating the game using nothing but summons, then you’re free to challenge yourself in that way, but this guide is for the full summoner experience. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop, as the saying goes, so don’t just stand there and watch, put a gun or a sword in those hands and get in the fray. I’m sure your minions will appreciate the help, too.
-Summoners are NOT meant to take hits. If you are not good at dodging, you should not play the summoner class. Summoner armors have the worst defense of any armor in the game for their tiers, and as such, trying to patch up their defense is like trying to fix a missing limb with a Band-Aid (™). In pre-hardmode some defensive measures are advised since you don’t get many mobility or damage-boosting accessories until hardmode, but once hardmode hits you will be far better off prioritizing damage over defense. If you boost your defense, you’ll just be mediocre at both offense and defense, so it’s better to make yourself as good as you can be at offense. This holds true for both normal and expert mode, but especially in expert mode. And you can deal quite a bit of damage with a sufficiently boosted sidearm, even if you’re missing out on class-specific armor and accessory bonuses for it.
-Now, getting a bit deeper into the game mechanics, minions’ stats are determined when they are summoned and are not recalculated when you change equipment. This means that you can equip a bunch of summon-boosting accessories and armor, summon all your minions, and then switch to something more defensive or utilitarian (although, as mentioned above, defensive accessories are not really worth it unless they also come with damage bonuses, like the Celestial Stone), and you’ll get the benefits of both. In fact, because of this, it’s often downright harmful to leave summoner-specific accessories like the Summoner Emblem in your accessory slots after you’ve summoned all your minions, since it’s now doing nothing but taking up a valuable accessory slot. Of course, when it comes to equipment that gives you extra minions, you’ll lose the extra minions when you de-equip it, so you’ll have to keep that on. This is also why you can’t just put on summoner armor, summon a bunch of minions in one turn, and then switch to some other armor like Spectre and expect to keep your big cloud of minions. It is a good idea when you’re playing other classes, though, since you should be using summons with them, too. But this guide is about the many-minions, low-defense style of playing that summoner armors lend themselves to. In any case, the point is, don’t leave accessories that increase only minion damage or knockback equipped, since you don’t need them when you aren’t summoning minions. A good way to set up your equipment such that you can easily switch back and forth between “summoning mode” and “normal mode” is to store your summoning accessories (or armor, in some cases) in your vanity slots, and then if you right click them they’ll switch with whatever’s in the slot adjacent to them. Most summoning accessories don’t show up visually on your character, either, so if you’re like me and you like to roleplay, you can safely do this without ruining your character’s appearance.
-Even though you’ll be switching out your accessories after summoning, summoners still tend to use more specialized accessories than other classes just to get their minion count up, so you will have little room for accessories that boost other weapon classes. Because of this, you should go for general boosts where possible. This also means that, since you won’t have room for things like Celestial Cuffs and Mana Flowers, you will have relatively little mana to work with, so you will be better off using melee and ranged weapons instead of magic ones. Of course, that’s only half of your sidearm selection process, because…
-Most minions pierce enemies, and due to how piercing works in this game, that means you will generally want to use non-piercing weapons alongside them. If you use a piercing weapon alongside a piercing minion, then one will cancel out the other due to the hidden invulnerability frames enemies get after being hit with piercing weapons, so either your minions will be doing nothing or your other weapon will be doing nothing. This can be used as a method for determining whether a weapon is piercing or not: just use it alongside a minion you know to be piercing, and see whether it can damage an enemy at the same time your minion does. If it can't, then it's piercing, and if it can then it isn't.
It can be a bit non-intuitive which weapons pierce and which ones don't, so, to give you an idea, here’s an incomplete list of some of the piercing and non-piercing weapons in the game:
Piercing: All swords, all spears, all yoyos, all thrown flails (as opposed to fired ones), Death Sickle, Solar Eruption, Daybreak (curiously enough), Jester Arrows, Holy Arrows (specifically the falling stars), Luminite Arrows, Meteor Shot, Luminite Bullets, all rockets, Water Bolt, Vilethorn and all variants thereof, Golden Shower, Magical Harp, Rainbow Gun, Nebula Arcanum, Lunar Flare, Last Prism, Slime Staff, Imp Staff, Spider Staff, Optic Staff, Pirate Staff, Pygmy Staff (only some of the spears), Deadly Sphere Staff, Tempest Staff, Stardust Dragon Staff, Lunar Portal Staff, and Rainbow Crystal Staff.
Non-Piercing: All boomerangs (except the Paladin’s Hammer), all fired flails (except the Solar Eruption), Vampire Knives, Scourge of the Corruptor, Wooden Arrows, Ichor Arrows, Musket Balls, Silver Bullets, Ichor Bullets, Crystal Bullets, Chlorophyte Bullets, Stynger, Crystal Storm, Leaf Blower, Razorpine, Nebula Blaze, Hornet Staff, Raven Staff, Xeno Staff, Stardust Cell Staff, and Staff of the Frost Hydra.
As you can see, just because a weapon can or can’t hit multiple enemies that doesn’t mean it’s piercing or non-piercing; you pretty much just have to know which ones are and which ones aren’t, or else test it yourself using other piercing weapons. Of course, if you use one of the summons that doesn’t pierce, then you don’t have to worry about anything, but many of the best summons (including the Stardust Dragon, which is the one you’re going to be using for top-tier bosses and events) are piercing so it’s best to pay attention. In general, because you can easily use either piercing or non-piercing ammo with any of them, guns tend to be the best option for a summoner, especially since they tend to have the highest base DPSs of all non-magic weapons of their tier (and magic is unfavorable for reasons already stated). Bows can work sometimes, but the best arrows tend to be piercing so guns are usually a better option. Of course, in pre-hardmode, aside from the Slime summons generally don’t attack fast enough for their piercing to make a difference, so you’re freer to use what weapons you want there. Once hardmode hits, though, you’ll definitely want to be reaching for that gun. You’ll get some more specific advice below, but that will be the general trend.
-Although summoning weapons can get any magic modifier, including Mythical, most of those stats apply to the summoning act only, not to the minion itself. What this means is that speed bonuses on your summon weapons will not make your minions attack faster, but only speed up the animation that plays when you summon them. Similarly, the mana cost is only the cost of the initial summoning, which will be quickly recovered in a few seconds anyway, so don’t bother trying to improve that. Minions also cannot score critical hits, even though they can get modifiers that improve crit chance, so those are useless as well. What all of this together means is that you will almost always want to prioritize damage over everything else when it comes to your minions, which in turn means that Ruthless (+18% damage), not Mythical (+15% damage), is usually the best modifier for summons. Mythical does have an advantage over Ruthless in knockback, which is the only other stat that’s actually applied to the minions themselves, but when you have a swarm of minions ganging up on an enemy their knockback will add up pretty high anyway. And in the case of stationary minions like the Staff of the Frost Hydra, to which all of this also applies, their knockback is so huge already that a measly -10% won’t make much of a difference. This should also all be taken into consideration when it comes to your accessories, which should prioritize damage over, say, critical strike chance.
Well, that’s about it for the basics. Still want to be a summoner? Didn’t burn you out or scare you off, did I? Well, good, because now you’re about ready to embark on your summoner adventure. Here we go!
Tier 1: Early Game
So you’ve made your character - and if you’re like me you named it something infinitely cooler than your own name and gave it some unrealistic anime hair - made your world, hit the play button, and now you’re standing in the middle of some field (or desert, or tundra, or – heaven forbid – jungle) with nothing but the clothes on your back and a few copper tools to your name and some guy named Kevin or something like that for company. Well, now that you’re here, you ask, how can you begin your summoning adventure?
The short answer, unfortunately, is that it could be a while.
The long answer is that where melee gets swords, ranged gets bows, and magic gets the Wand of Sparking and the gem staves for early-game weapons, the only summoning weapon available to early-game summoners is the Slime Staff, which has an insanely low drop rate. Chances are you aren’t going to be able to get your hands on any actual summoning equipment until the next tier in this walkthrough, but since we’re here I might as well give you some advice for this early part of the game. First, though, here are some stats on the Slime Staff.
Base Damage: 8
Attack Speed: Very Fast
(Some notes on these stats, which I will give for every summon weapon to help you compare them: they are not the official stats on the weapon’s tooltip, they are just useful information which I consider more important than what’s on the tooltip. “Mobile” means that it’s a summon that you spawn once and then it will follow you around until you despawn it, die, or log out, as opposed to a “Stationary” summon which is something like the Frost Hydra that just stays in one spot and despawns after a few minutes. The “Attack Speed” is also in no way official, it’s just to give you an idea of how quickly the minion attacks since there’s no indication given in-game.)
If you’re wondering how exactly you can get the Slime Staff, it’s a 1 in 10,000 drop from any basic slime, as well as Slimed Zombies. Yep, that’s right, 10,000. Four zeroes. In expert mode that increases to about 1 in 7,000, but it’s still ridiculously rare. On the other hand Pinky drops it with a much more reasonable 1 in 100 drop rate (1 in 71 in expert mode), but Pinky is itself pretty rare. Your best chance to obtain a Slime Staff will be during the Slime Rain, but for a Slime Rain to occur you’ll already need to have at least 140 health and 8 defense, and even then there’s no guarantee that it will occur nor that a Slime Staff will drop during it. If one does occur, though, you should try to kill as many slimes as possible to maximize your chances of getting the staff.
Because of this, I recommend playing through the first part of the game as you normally would, using swords, bows, and such to fight enemies and bosses while mining for your typical Iron, Lead, Gold, or Platinum armor. If you’ve played through the game before, then you probably already know this drill by now. Get the best armor you can from mining, kill the Eye of Cthulhu when it spawns, go to the corruption or crimson and use bombs or Purification Powder to get to the Shadow Orbs or Crimson Hearts, break them and beat the Eater of Worlds/Brain of Cthulhu. I’d recommend using these boss fights as opportunities to practice your dodging and to learn how to build good arenas, since you’ll need both those skills once you switch over to summoning gear.
If by some miracle the random number gods smile on you and you do find yourself a Slime Staff, you’ll want to start using bows more often than things like swords and spears, due to the piercing mechanics I mentioned above. The Baby Slime summoned by the Slime Staff attacks by sitting on top of enemies and dealing continuous piercing damage to them, so while it’s attacking an enemy you won’t be able to get any hits in with your sword or other piercing weapon. It’s worth the hassle, though, because not only is the little guy really cute, but he does pretty decent damage for that point in the game. His usefulness drops off, however, around crimson/corruption tier, when you will want to start looking into the next place on our itinerary, where you will find the true beginning of your life as a summoner: the jungle.
Tier 2: Bee Gear
So if you managed to beat your respective spreading-biome boss, your next stop should be the jungle, where the first order of business will be to look for a beehive minibiome. These are found in the underground jungle and are usually heralded by clumps of honey blocks and small honey pools, which can be found randomly in the vicinity of hives. If you come across some honey or honey blocks, it means there’s a beehive nearby. Once you find a hive, dig into it, being careful of the bees that are occasionally released when you break the hive blocks, lay down a few rows of platforms so that you can jump between them, and then, when you’re ready, break the larva in the hive to summon Queen Bee.
There are plenty of other guides to teach you how to beat Queen Bee, but I recommend full Crimson or Shadow Armor, either a Demon or Tendon Bow full of Frostburn Arrows or a Flintlock Pistol full of Silver Bullets, a campfire (and a Heart Lantern if you can spare the Life Crystal), any kind of food item such as a Bowl of Soup that will give you the Well Fed buff, and Ironskin and Regeneration Potions. At any rate, once you’ve dethroned Queen Bee, you’ll want the Bee Wax she drops, which was the entire reason for this excursion.
With Bee Wax, you’ll be able to craft both a summon weapon and a new armor, which for most people will be their first foray into the summoning class:
Summon Damage: +23%
Max Minions: 3
Base Damage: 9
Attack Speed: Somewhat Slow
Additional Effect: Inflicts Poison
Now, just from looking at the stats on that Hornet Staff, you might be thinking to yourself, “Wait a second, hold that phone, only one more damage than the Slime Staff, but it’s ‘Somewhat Slow’ compared to Slime Staff’s ‘Very Fast’?”; and you’d be right. In fact, if it weren’t for three factors, I’d say don’t even bother replacing your Slime Staff if you have one, since the Hornet attacks way slower than the Slime does, and the additional 1 attack barely makes any difference. But the three factors that make the Hornet Staff worth it over the Slime Staff are: range, piercing, and DoT. Whereas the Baby Slime has to jump on enemies to attack them and is largely limited to the ground, the Hornet can freely shoot at enemies from across the screen, including airborne enemies. On top of this, while damage over time in general drops off pretty significantly in effectiveness later on, at this early point of the game it can be quite powerful, as it is here. The poison DoT of the Hornet more than makes up for the Baby Slime’s super-fast attack speed, and on top of that it ignores defense. Additionally, now that you’re able to summon multiple minions, you’ll find that a swarm of Hornets will be more effective than a horde of Slimes, since, due to their piercing nature, only one Baby Slime can hit an enemy at a time, while the Hornets can all gang up on the same enemy at once. All in all the Hornet Staff should be making your life a lot easier, whether you managed to find a Slime Staff earlier or not.
Speaking of summoning multiple minions, did I mention that shiny new armor you just got? Well, get used to it, because this armor will carry you through the rest of pre-hardmode. Still, you can now call yourself an official summoner. With your swarm of Hornets behind you, proceed to the next place on our journey.
Now, here is where normal and expert mode start to diverge a bit. Normally, I’d advise fighting Skeletron next and raiding the dungeon for such great loot as the Handgun, Bewitching Table, and Cobalt Shield, but considering how difficult Skeletron is in expert mode, that may not be a viable option for you if you’re playing expert mode, depending on your skill level. You may want to come back after getting underworld gear, which I will detail in the next section. Regardless, Skeletron definitely can be beaten with this level of gear, and if you can I would advise doing so and getting the things I mentioned from the dungeon. The Bewitching Table in particular will be a godsend to you, allowing you to increase your army from 3 to 4 minions, which is huge for this point in progression. Meanwhile the Handgun makes a great secondary weapon (and will also come in handy when it comes time to make the Phoenix Blaster, which we will be doing later on), while the Cobalt Shield will prove a great asset once you combine it with an Obsidian Skull. The dungeon will also give you access to the Mechanic, who will allow you to begin experimenting with wiring, which will in turn allow you to add things like Heart Statues, traps, and, in expert mode, Bat Statues to your arsenal. Bat Statues are useful in expert mode because the Cave Bats they summon will give you the Feral Bite debuff, which has some negative side effects but does give you a 20% boost to damage, which if activated in a controlled environment can be huge for a summoner. Recall what I said earlier about damage boosts remaining on your minions until they despawn; if you use a Bat Statue in a safe place to give yourself the Feral Bite debuff before you summon your minions, then just wait for the debuff to wear off, you’ll have essentially a free 20% bonus to your minions, which is huge, especially in expert mode. Unfortunately like I said this is expert mode only, since the Feral Bite debuff doesn’t exist in normal mode. Even in normal mode, though, wiring will be one of your greatest allies in the form of Heart Statues, if nothing else. You can find both Heart and Bat Statues randomly in the underground layer, so if you haven’t found any yet you should explore there a bit more before continuing on.
Whether or not you choose to enter the dungeon, there are still a few other things you can choose to do at this point. For one thing, this would be a great time to start on fishing if you haven’t already, since not only can you get all-around good buff potions like Endurance and Wrath Potions through fishing, but you can also get Summoning Potions, which will be a huge asset for you. To make Summoning Potions, all you need is Bottled Water, Moonglow, and a Variegated Lardfish, which can be caught in the underground jungle. Consuming a Summoning Potion will give you a buff that lasts for 6 minutes, more than long enough for most boss fights, which increases your minion capacity by 1. Together with the Bewitching Table, this means you can get a maximum of 5 minions. Another thing you should consider doing is buying the Minishark from the Arms Dealer, since not only is it a good weapon that works pretty well alongside minions, but you’ll want to have it for later when you craft the Megashark. Also consider the Revolver and the Ammo Box from the Traveling Merchant, if you’re lucky enough to get him to bring them and rich enough to be able to afford them. This would also be a good time to start reforging your gear with the Goblin Tinkerer if you’ve found him, assuming you have any leftover money. At this point it would be best to go for defense reforges on your accessories, but you can use the trick I mentioned earlier and have some accessories with damage reforges that you switch in only while summoning. Consider as well buying Pumpkin Seeds from the Dryad and starting a pumpkin farm for Pumpkin Pies, especially if you’re in expert mode.
Anyway, even if you chose not to venture into the dungeon just yet, once you think you’re sufficiently geared up, it’s time for us to venture down… to the underworld.
Tier 3: Imp Staff
Whew, nothing like the smell of brimstone in the morning! As soon as you arrive in the underworld, your first priority will be grabbing yourself a Hellforge, and then your second will be digging up Hellstone. Don’t worry too much about the Shadow Chests, since there’s very little in them that’ll be useful to you as a summoner except maybe the Hellwing Bow. You’ll need a minimum of 111 Hellstone to make 37 Hellstone Bars, 20 for the Molten Pickaxe and 17 for your latest summoner toy, the Imp Staff.
Base Damage: 21
Attack Speed: Slow
Additional Effect: Inflicts On Fire!
Holy cow, 21 damage?! Compared to the Slime Staff’s 8 and the Hornet’s 9, that’s colossal. Unfortunately, it comes at the cost of an even slower speed than the Hornet and a less reliable AI – unlike the Hornets, the Imps do not shoot a constant stream of projectiles at enemies, but rather, like the Fire Imps they’re based on, seem to shoot in groups of threes, then wait a little before they can fire again. However, their sheer power still puts them ahead of the Hornets, so definitely use them. On top of that, they also inflict a DoT debuff just like the Hornets, only theirs is twice as powerful.
Once you’ve got your Imp Staff, you’ll want to swing back by the dungeon if you haven’t looted it already, and then it’s time to prepare to fight the Wall of Flesh. I recommend as your main weapon the Phoenix Blaster, but if you can’t or are too lazy to get it, the Minishark should work decently for you, too. Also consider Beenades, especially if you’re on expert and you got the Hive Pack from Queen Bee, and the Water Bolt works pretty well too. For accessories, make sure you have the Obsidian Shield, Band of Regeneration, and Spectre/Lightning/Frostspark Boots (especially if playing on expert mode). Other accessories you should look into if possible are the Worm Scarf (I’d recommend making a new expert corruption world and fighting the Eater of Worlds there if you don’t have one already), the Shark Tooth Necklace, any jump accessory such as the Blue Horseshoe Balloon, the Sweetheart Necklace, and the aforementioned Hive Pack if you’re using any bee equipment (besides your armor, of course). I would recommend reforging some of these to Menacing and some to Warding, you can just adjust the ratio of defense vs. offense if your first try doesn’t go so well. Also, of course, make sure you build a long bridge across the underworld – I’d recommend at least 1,000 blocks long, longer if you’re in expert mode – and don’t forget about campfires, potions, and other buffs, either. If you still haven’t done any fishing, then this would be an excellent time to start so you can get your hands on Summoning, Endurance, Wrath, Rage, and Ammo Reservation Potions if you’re using a gun. Fishing in honey can also land you some Honeyfins, which at this point are the best healing item in the game, restoring 120 HP as opposed to the regular Healing Potion’s 100.
Take all these precautions, and sooner or later you should be able to bring the Wall of Flesh to its knees – well, you would, if it had knees, anyway. Once it gives its final roar and explodes into that iconic mess of curiously self-disposing gibs, take a moment to bask in the euphoric rush of your victory, then grab those drops and see what you got. If you’re lucky, you’ll have gotten a Summoner Emblem, which will be your first minion-boosting accessory. Equip it and re-summon your Imps for a free, extra 15% damage bonus to each of them. If you didn’t get it, you’ll want to fight the Wall of Flesh again until you get it, although even if you did, it would be a good idea to fight it a few more times to get some of the other emblems, so that later on you can make an Avenger Emblem and in the meantime you can have a boost to your secondary weapons, too. Getting a Clockwork Assault Rifle from the Wall of Flesh would be a good idea, too, since it’ll be the best gun available to you until you beat the Destroyer, aside from the Uzi.
Once you’ve gotten everything you want from the Wall of Flesh, you may want to head back to the surface and take a look around so you can get the lay of the land, make sure the new biomes that spawned aren’t too close to your base, etc.. But then, as soon as you’re ready, it’s time to head back underground to collect your next tier of summoner gear.
Tier 4: Early Hardmode
If you’ve played through the game with other classes, then you’ll remember how much of a pain it was grinding for the hardmode ore you needed to make armor, especially with the mech bosses constantly spawning every night. Well, guess what? You don’t have to worry about any of that this time.
All you have to do is find a spider nest and kill some Black Recluses (sorry if you’re arachnophobic – there’s no way around it, aside from cheating or getting the materials from a friend). They’re a bit tricky, but not too tough, and their spawn rate is pretty high, so it should be a simple matter to collect 76 of the Spider Fangs that they drop. With these, you will craft your next minion staff, a new set of armor to replace your ratty old Bee Armor, and something entirely new: your first stationary minion.
Summon Damage: +30%
Max Minions: 4 (5 if you are only using Spider minions)
Base Damage: 26
Attack Speed: Very Fast
Additional Effect: Inflicts Venom
Queen Spider Staff
Base Damage: 21
Attack Speed: Slow
Additional Effect: Inflicts Venom
With full Spider Armor and the Summoning Potion and Bewitching Table buffs, you now not only look the most badass you’ll ever look but can also reach an unprecedented 7 minions, provided all of those minions are summoned by the Spider Staff. The Spiders themselves are pretty interesting in that, while they’re mostly ground-bound like the Baby Slime, they can climb background walls freely. This means that when it comes time to fight bosses and events aboveground, it would be a good idea to place some background walls to give your spiders more room to maneuver and allow them to hit enemies in the air. They also inflict the Venom debuff, which is not only stronger than the Imps’ On Fire!, but also can affect some bosses, most relevantly the Twins – unlike both Poisoned and On Fire!, to which both Skeletron and the Wall of Flesh are immune. On top of that they’re more damaging than the Imps and attack way faster, and are all-around a great upgrade.
Then there’s the Queen Spider Staff. If you’ve played through the game before, you probably know about the Staff of the Frost Hydra found in the Frozen Chest in the dungeon (which we will be getting later), and the Queen Spider Staff is pretty similar. When you use it, it summons a special minion that works off of summon damage like your other minions, but unlike other minions the Queen Spider does not count toward your minion cap, cannot be summoned if one already exists, remains stationary wherever it was summoned (it appears at your cursor and drops until it hits solid blocks or platforms), and disappears after two minutes. This makes it a slightly more active minion that you actually have to be strategic about when it comes to where you place it. It might seem a bit strange at first if you’ve gotten used to the way your other minions work, but it’ll be a huge asset to you in what’s to come. The way it attacks is that it periodically spits eggs at enemies, which not only deal damage to the enemies but, on impact (whether with an enemy or with a block), hatch into three tiny spiders that will each rush the nearest enemy, dealing the full damage of the Queen Spider Staff and inflicting Venom before despawning. Because each projectile can deal damage up to 4 times, it’s actually much more powerful than its raw stats would seem to suggest. The Queen Spider itself is not solid and does not deal any contact damage. It also bears mentioning that you can summon the Queen Spider anywhere on the screen, including in sealed-off caves, so it’s also pretty useful for clearing enemies out of a cave before you get there.
Now that you’ve got your spiffy new Spider equipment, it’s time to start preparing for the mech bosses. The best part is, you don’t have to smash even a single Demon or Crimson Altar. In fact, I’d recommend not smashing any, since you don’t need the metals and you don’t want the mech bosses spawning on you before you’re ready. They only start to spawn randomly after you’ve smashed at least one altar, so as long as you don’t smash any you’re free to take your time.
Besides the Spider Staff, there is one other minion available at this stage that you can look into if you want. That would be the Pirate Staff, which is a pretty rare drop from the Pirate Invasion.
Base Damage: 40
Attack Speed: Fast
Arr, 40 damage, ye say?! Be that even legal?! Well, whether it’s legal or not, the Pirates clearly don’t care, because wow. On the other hand, they are slightly slower than the Spiders, but just slightly. You’ll also notice that they don’t inflict any debuffs like your last three minions have, and on top of that they’re also ground-bound like the Baby Slime and don’t even have the option of climbing walls like the Spiders. Because of all this, the Spiders should still be your go-to weapon for most boss fights at this point, but the Pirates are a pretty good alternative for general exploration and events. The main problem is that getting the Pirate Staff is a bit RNG-based, since it has a 1 in 2,000 chance of dropping from most pirates, 1 in 500 from the Pirate Captain, and 1 in 100 from the Flying Dutchman. Not the worst odds, but it could take a few Pirate Invasions before you get it. If you do decide to go for it, then you’ll need to farm Pirate Maps, which have a 1 in 100 chance of dropping from any enemy in the ocean biome, assuming you took my advice and didn’t smash any altars. This is because Pirate Invasions only happen automatically after you’ve smashed an altar, just like the mech bosses, but Pirate Maps still drop as long as you’re in hardmode.
Now, our first target will be the Destroyer, since he’s the easiest mech boss to kill and he drops Souls of Might, which you will want to make the Megashark. He’s immune to all debuffs, so don’t even bother with the Ichor and Cursed Flames gear you can get from the crimson and corruption now, although you might want to begin stockpiling some of it for the other mech bosses. No, your first order of business should be the Crystal Shards in the underground hallow, which you can craft into Crystal Bullets. Since Crystal Bullets actually do not deal piercing damage but can hit many times per bullet, they’ll be the perfect weapon to use against the Destroyer with your Clockwork Assault Rifle. While you’re there in the underground hallow, you can also see if you can get yourself a Crystal Vile Shard, dropped by Hallowed Mimics. It does deal piercing damage, so you’ll have to be careful to angle it away from where your Spiders/Pirates are attacking, but it should prove very effective on the Destroyer. The other must-have weapon is the Nimbus Rod, dropped by Angry Nimbi during rain, which can deal insane damage to the Destroyer with minimal effort on your part, and will also prove useful in the strategy I’ll suggest later on. Other weapons that you can consider at this point are the Clinger Staff, Life Drain, Daedalus Stormbow with Holy Arrows, Uzi, and Gatligator. Accessory-wise, the Putrid Scent, Charm of Myths, Star Veil, and Frozen Turtle Shell are all available at this time and all good ideas. It also goes without saying but you should get some wings, too, if you haven’t already; Leaf Wings are pretty easily available if you just move your Witch Doctor to a house in the jungle. The only other main things to be aware of are the new availability of Lifeforce Potions, which can be crafted with Bottled Water, Moonglow, Waterleaf, Shiverthorn, and a Prismite fished up from the hallow, and the availability of the Endless Musket Pouch, which can be crafted with 3,996 Musket Balls at a Crystal Ball as soon as you find the Wizard. The Endless Musket Pouch won’t prove too useful during boss fights, but it’ll be very convenient while doing other stuff like exploring and fending off goblins.
Now onto arena preparations. Even if you got away with not using an arena in pre-hardmode, you’re gonna have to start now because hardmode is a whole different monster. The Destroyer does tons of damage, especially with your paltry Spider Armor and especially in expert mode, so you are not going to want to fight him up close. What I recommend, then, is to build a big arena out of rows of platforms that reaches fairly high up into the sky, at least high enough that you can’t see the ground anymore. If you’re using the Spiders, put some walls in the background of your arena for them to climb on. Then, make sure you pepper your arena with Campfires, Heart Lanterns, and if you choose, pockets of honey (you can suspend honey in midair using the Bubble blocks sold by the Party Girl). Once you’ve done that, assuming you’ve done everything else as well, you should be ready to go.
Now that you’re all prepared, you can either smash an altar and wait for the Destroyer to spawn, logging out or going underground if Skeletron Prime or the Twins show up (you could fight them at this point, but I wouldn’t recommend it), or craft a Mechanical Worm from some Souls of Night, Rotten Chunks, and Iron or Lead Bars. Then, begin the fight.
The first thing you should do after spawning him is get as high as possible. No, put those illegal substances away. I mean on your arena. Climb to the top, and if you made it high enough, he should be unable to reach you except with his lasers. Even if it isn’t quite high enough, having an arena made of platforms will still make it way easier to dodge him. Once you’ve arrived at your perch, your strategy is simple: summon your Nimbus Rod clouds and whatever other fire-and-forget weapons you have, such as the Clinger Staff and Queen Spider Staff, and then switch to your gun of choice and start shooting down at him with your Crystal Bullets. This strategy works well for the ranger and mage classes, and it should work well enough for you. Between your minions, your hail of bullets, and your rainclouds, you should make pretty short work of him. Once he goes down, collect your loot and craft your hard-earned Megashark.
Then, it’ll be time to move on to our next target: the Twins.
Tier 5: Optic Staff
As soon as you down the first of the mechanical bosses, a few new opportunities open up to you. For one, Life Fruits now spawn in the underground jungle, which will make defeating the other two mech bosses much easier. Ideally, you should try to have a full 500 HP before going up against the Twins. Additionally, now Solar Eclipses can occur, giving you access to the Moon Stone. Since you’ll be fighting all of the mech bosses at night, the Moon Stone will be a great asset to you in the upcoming fights, assuming you can get it. Unfortunately Solar Eclipses are pretty rare and you have no way of forcing them yet, so if you can’t get one, don’t wait around too long. You should also consider harvesting some Ichor for Ichor Bullets, now that you aren’t squaring off against a boss that’s immune to it like the Destroyer is; a great strategy for nearly any boss from here on out is to switch between Ichor and either Crystal or, later, Chlorophyte Bullets to take advantage of Ichor’s defense drop, plus Ichor will also increase the damage of your minions.
The reason the Twins are next is that defeating them will grant you access to your next summon weapon, which will be invaluable against Skeletron Prime and Plantera. Unlike with the Destroyer, there aren’t really any tricks I can give you to defeat the Twins; if you made the arena I outlined in the previous section, it should be sufficient to beat them when combined with a little dodging skill. As always, try to kill Spazmatism (the one that shoots Cursed Flames, if you weren’t already aware) first, but your minions may have ideas of their own, so just do the best you can. Don’t forget to use your buffs.
Once the Twins go down, collect their loot, and then, assuming you picked up a Black Lens somewhere along your adventure, you’ll be able to craft your next summon weapon, the Optic Staff.
Base Damage: 30
Attack Speed: Fast
Additional Effect: Spawns 2 minions instead of 1
These little guys are awesome. The base damage might be lower than the Pirate Staff’s, but like I noted above, for each use of the Optic Staff, you actually get two minions instead of one. Each pair of minions counts as only one toward your max minion count, so that means that with Spider Armor equipped and the Summoning and Bewitched buffs on you can have up to 12 minions at a time, not counting your Queen Spider. Each pair of minions is made up of a Mini-Retinazer and a Mini-Spazmatism, which, you guessed it, use attacks based on those of their oversized counterparts. Mini-Retinazer shoots lasers that can pierce any number of enemies, while Mini-Spazmatism charges enemies. Both deal the staff’s full 30 base damage, but unfortunately, since they both pierce, only one can ever deal damage to a single enemy at any given time. Still, since there are more of them, they attack much more frequently than the Pirates do, so their overall DPS is a bit higher than the Pirate Staff, and their base damage is higher than the Spider Staff’s anyway so they have the clear advantage there. They also float, which is a huge plus. Overall they’re a great minion, and they will make your life a lot easier. Their only weak point is that their AI isn’t the best, since they can frequently get stuck on blocks when traversing tight spaces, but you’ll have so many that just one or two getting stuck won’t be a big deal.
With your new staff in hand, you should have little trouble beating Skeletron Prime next. Once you’ve done that, you’ll now be able to get the Death Sickle and Broken Hero Swords from the Solar Eclipse, but while both are useful neither is particularly important. A little more important is Chlorophyte Ore, which you can now mine in the underground jungle once you’ve crafted yourself a Pickaxe Axe with all three boss souls and Hallowed Bars. Unlike the other classes, you won’t be using it to make armor or weapons, but you will want to start stocking up on Chlorophyte Bullets for later on. You should also see about crafting yourself an Avenger Emblem now that you’ve got all three kinds of boss souls, but just make sure you use a different kind of emblem than your Summoner Emblem, since you’ll still want to use that too.
Then, it’s time to turn our sights on our next foe: the legendary Plantera.
Tier 6: Tiki Gear
If you’ve fought Plantera with other classes, you might have just gone in, found a bulb, and fought him right then and there, but as a summoner you can’t really do that. You have to prepare. Remember that your armor gives you a measly 20 defense, and Plantera can do over 100 damage per hit on expert mode and over 50 on normal mode, so it will be in your best interest to avoid getting hit. Because of this many people give in and just switch to some other armor to fight Plantera, but I’m assuming you’re wanting to remain a summoner the whole way through. Thus is the hard and lonely path we choose.
Luckily, the fight with Plantera is not much different than the fight with the Twins or Skeletron Prime, so you can employ many of the same strategies for it. It’s largely an issue of space, so what you should do as soon as you find a bulb is clear out the area around it, creating for yourself a cavern at least two screens wide and two screens tall. Then, just place a few rows of platforms, like you did for the mechs, and line them with Campfires, Heart Lanterns, and honey. As always, make sure you bring plenty of buffs with you. Then, when you’re all ready, break the bulb and spawn Plantera.
Plantera is pretty slow, so you should have minimal difficulty if you just kite around it in a circular motion, firing inward at it with your Megashark or Uzi loaded with Crystal or Ichor Bullets. Don’t use the Daedalus Stormbow with Holy Arrows, no matter how tempting it might be, because it will interfere with your Mini-Twins. Keep this up and don’t be afraid to heal when necessary, and soon you should have Plantera dead.
With luck, Plantera will have dropped the Pygmy Staff, which is the next step in your summoner progression. If not, then unfortunately you’ll have to find another bulb, prepare another arena, and fight Plantera again. It has a 1 in 4 chance of dropping, though, so it should be pretty common.
Base Damage: 34
Attack Speed: Fast
Additional Effect: Inflicts Poisoned and Venom
These guys have a soft spot in my heart because they were my first exposure to the summoner class, although I don’t think I’m special in that regard since at the time it was one of only three summon weapons in the entire game, the others being the Slime Staff and the Staff of the Frost Hydra. At any rate, they were pretty decent back then, and they’ve only been buffed since. Unlike the Mini-Twins, they only deal piercing damage sometimes, which means they can hit enemies in much more rapid succession than the Mini-Twins can, and your entire army can hit the same enemy all at once. They’re ground-bound like the Spiders and Pirates, but they attack by throwing spears, which have a pretty good range. The spears can inflict Poisoned and Venom, and whenever they start a new volley of spears, the first one will always pierce, but none of the others do. Their AI is pretty good, but their one weakness is that if they aren’t on the ground, either because they’re stuck in blocks (which doesn’t happen too often) or because you’re in the air, they do nothing. So just keep that in mind when creating arenas and farms.
The best thing about the Pygmy Staff isn’t just the Pygmies themselves, though; it’s all the juicy new summoning opportunities that just having it opens up to you. Remember the Witch Doctor?
You probably mostly ignored him before, aside from buying the Leaf Wings and maybe a couple Bewitching Tables from him, once the Wizard also moved in, but now that you have the Pygmy Staff, he’s going to be your best buddy. Speak to him with a Pygmy Staff in your inventory, and you’ll find that he now sells up to five new summoner-related items, depending on the time of day and where his house is. Three of these items are the pieces of your next armor set (probably more than welcome by now), and the other two, available only at night or in the jungle, respectively, while you have the Pygmy Staff in your inventory, are the Pygmy Necklace and Hercules Beetle. The Pygmy Necklace increases your max minions by 1, while the Hercules Beetle provides +15% summon damage and knockback. Both are amazing accessories that will raise your summoner game to a whole new level, but first, you’re probably a bit more excited about that shiny new Tiki Armor.
Summon Damage: +30%
Max Minions: 5
So maybe that damage bonus isn’t a huge deal considering the Spider Armor gives just as much, but you do get an additional minion and a whopping 15 extra defense. Compared to the Spider Armor, you probably feel like Iron Man right now. Just try not to get too carried away, because you are still quite frail, just not as paper-thin as before. But with this new armor and your old friends the Summoning and Bewitched buffs, plus that new Pygmy Necklace, you can now reach an unprecedented total of 8 minions.
Once you’re done marveling at your new gear, there are a ton of new paths open to you that you can now take. I’ll outline these in the next section.
Tier 7: Late Hardmode
This is where things start getting a little complicated. Once you beat Plantera, both the hardmode dungeon and the Lihzahrd Temple open up to you, along with the things that come after them like the Pumpkin and Frost Moons and the Martian Madness event. I’ll list all your options and give you some advice on what I think the best way to proceed would be, but it’s all pretty open-ended.
The first opportunity you should be aware of is that now you can unlock the biome chests in the dungeon, assuming the Powers that Be favored you enough to give you the keys. The things you will want from those chests are either the Vampire Knives or the Scourge of the Corruptor, as well as the Staff of the Frost Hydra.
Staff of the Frost Hydra
Base Damage: 100
Attack Speed: Very Slow
At long last, it’s your second stationary minion! And… holy cow, does that say 100 damage?! No, ladies and gentlemen, that’s not a typo: this weapon does 100 base damage per shot. Unfortunately, its fire rate is extremely slow, on the order of about once per second, so it’s not nearly as formidable as it might seem. Still, thanks to its huge base damage, it performs very well on enemies with high defense, of which there are many at this point in the game. Like the Queen Spider, it spawns at your cursor (and drops until it hits blocks or platforms), does not move, does not count toward your minion limit, and lasts for two minutes. Unlike the Queen Spider, it only performs a basic shot that hits once per firing. You can use both it and the Queen Spider at the same time, so you should keep your Queen Spider Staff around and summon both during boss and event fights for even more damage.
During your excursion into the dungeon you will also notice that many new enemies have started to spawn there, most of them with new, unique drops. Out of these the only things you should really bother with are the requisite Wisp in a Bottle and the Tactical Shotgun, which doesn’t quite outclass the Megashark but has certain situational uses, especially when paired with Chlorophyte Bullets. You can also take this opportunity to gather Ectoplasm so that you can craft a Pumpkin Medallion to summon the Pumpkin Moon, which I’ll detail a little later on.
The other avenue available to you is the Lihzahrd Temple, which you should now be able to unlock with the Temple Key you got from Plantera. While there, make sure you collect Solar Tablets and fragments thereof. The Golem should be pretty easy for you at this point, so kill him a few times and see if you can’t get a Picksaw, a Stynger, and a Sun Stone, and maybe a Possessed Hatchet, a Golem Fist, or an Eye of the Golem too. The Stynger in particular will be a very powerful weapon for you, and will be your primary weapon during the Pumpkin Moon. It works similarly to Crystal Bullets, splitting upon impact but not actually dealing piercing damage, so you can use it alongside any minions you want. With the Sun Stone, you should now be able to make a Celestial Stone and/or Celestial Shell, assuming you already got the other pieces from the Solar Eclipse and from Werewolves on a full moon.
Speaking of the Solar Eclipse, now is a great time to give it another go. Since you’ve beaten Plantera, a ton of new enemies have started spawning during the Solar Eclipse, each with its own loot. The thing you will most want to look out for, though, is the Deadly Sphere Staff that drops from the titular Deadly Spheres.
Deadly Sphere Staff
Base Damage: 50
Attack Speed: Fast
These guys are pretty okay in my book. They deal great damage, are pretty fast, and can fly, but their biggest downfall is that their AI is not very good and they’re big and bulky and get stuck in tight spaces. Because of this I wouldn’t recommend using them while spelunking, but they’re great against bosses and events. Just be aware that, unlike the Pygmies, these are piercing, so you won’t be able to use piercing weapons alongside them. Their attack is a basic ram attack, nothing too flashy, but it gets the job done. I’d recommend upgrading to these as soon as possible, since they’re the easiest summon weapon to obtain after you’ve got the Pygmy Staff, and they’re significantly more powerful.
After the Deadly Spheres, the next easiest summon weapon to get will be the one that drops during the Martian Madness, the Xeno Staff. To start the Martian Madness, after you’ve beaten the Golem, go stand around somewhere on the outer thirds of your map with a Water Candle, preferably somewhere in the sky if you’ve built a skybridge of any kind, and wait for a Martian Probe to spawn. If you have the Lifeform Analyzer or some derivative thereof, it’ll show up on it when it’s nearby. Let the Martian Probe get near you, and the light it gives off will turn from yellow to red, and then it’ll try to fly upward and despawn. If you don’t kill it before it does so, the Martian Madness invasion will then start. The Xeno Staff drops from the Martian Saucers, which can be pretty tough to fight head-on, but if you just make yourself a box and stand inside it while letting your minions do the fighting or just shooting through small holes, they’re a piece of cake.
Base Damage: 36
Attack Speed: Very Fast
Now, you’re probably looking at that and thinking, “What? Only 36? But the Deadly Spheres had 50!” and once more I’m here to tell you, dear strawman, that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. You’ll notice that where I rated the speed of the Deadly Spheres only “Fast”, the Xeno Staff is “Very Fast”, and while that is admittedly vague, when I say the Xeno Staff is very fast, I mean very fast. On top of that, unlike the Deadly Spheres, the Xeno Staff doesn’t pierce, which means its minions can damage an enemy much faster than the Deadly Spheres could. What the Xeno Staff does is summon tiny, adorable UFO minions, which will teleport to enemies to shoot lasers at them. These guys are awesome. Between their high DPS and great AI (I’ve never seen them get stuck), they’re probably the best minions you’re going to find until the Lunar Events. Their only weakness is that they can only attack enemies from above, and while they can pass through blocks (they won’t target enemies beyond them, though) they can’t actually attack from inside them, so if there isn’t enough space above your enemy for the UFO to fit, they won’t be able to attack. Because of this they’re a bit more useful in open areas than in cramped ones, but they don’t need too much space, so they can still perform pretty well even underground.
While you’re farming Martian Saucers, also make sure you pick up a Cosmic Car Key, which will prove pretty useful to you in battles to come. If you want, you could replace your wings with another accessory and just use the UFO mount during future fights, but personally I prefer the higher vertical speed of wings and I never felt a need to replace them with anything else. Either way, the Cosmic Car Key is still a huge asset. You may also want to grab the Xenopopper, which is a great shotgun-type weapon that drops from Martian Saucers, though it’s not imperative if you’ve already got the Stynger. If you don’t have the Stynger, though, you should definitely get the Xenopopper.
Even though I think the Xeno Staff is the best summon weapon available to you right now, I’ll still tell you about a couple other options that you can also go with if you want. One is the Tempest Staff, which drops from Duke Fishron. Technically, you could have gotten this weapon as far back as the moment you killed the Wall of Flesh, but the Duke is no joke and it’s only at this point that you’re probably reasonably prepared to fight him. I find him easier to beat than the Pumpkin or Frost Moon, but some people have a lot of trouble with him, so if you’re one of those people then you should come back after doing the Pumpkin Moon, which I’ll detail next.
If you don’t know how to summon the Duke, then all you need is a fishing pole – any kind – and a Truffle Worm. Truffle Worms are critters that spawn in underground mushroom biomes. Unlike other critters, though, they’re a bit tricky to catch, since if you get too close to them they’ll burrow away and despawn. You basically just have to be really fast. If you have the Golden Bug Net from doing Angler quests, then that will help you a lot. It may be useful for you to construct a Truffle Worm farm, which you can do by simply placing several rows of mud blocks, spanning at least a couple screens’ width, and then either planting Mushroom Grass Seeds or just spraying the whole thing with Dark Blue Solution. Then, just wander back and forth on your farm until you spot a Truffle Worm, and once you do swoop down on it swinging your net. Remember that it has to be an underground mushroom biome, so the home you made for the Truffle won’t work. Also, unlike other critters, the Truffle Worm spawns the same way enemies do, so Water Candles will increase its spawn rate, while nearby NPCs and Peace Candles will decrease it. If you have the Lifeform Analyzer, then it will tell you when a Truffle Worm is nearby, which will make your life a lot easier.
Once you have the Truffle Worm, you can summon Duke Fishron by heading to the ocean and using it as bait while fishing. You may want to make some kind of arena beforehand, but I never felt a need to, since at this point you should be mobile enough that you can maneuver freely in the sky anyway. You might want to build some platforms so you can attach Heart Lanterns and Campfires to them, though. On the note of mobility, it would be a good idea to get the Steampunk Wings from the Steampunker before facing Duke Fishron, since mobility will be important during this fight and those are the best wings available to you right now. I wouldn’t recommend using the UFO mount, since the Duke is very fast and the UFO just isn’t fast or agile enough to dodge his charges. In any case, although you’ve probably been beating most bosses up until now by dodging anyway, I want to emphasize here: Duke Fishron hits VERY hard, so you will have to dodge him, or else you will die. Even on normal mode, just grazing him or his tornadoes will rip through your fragile summoner armor like rice paper. Luckily, he’s fairly predictable, so while it might take you a few tries, once you figure out the way he moves he should prove pretty easy. I recommend the Xenopopper, Tactical Shotgun, or Megashark with Chlorophyte Bullets as your main weapon, since he will be moving around a lot and you’ll want to focus on dodging instead of aiming. Be aware that he has a second stage he will activate at half health, signified by his eyes lighting up yellow, which buffs his damage slightly and makes him a bit more aggressive. But since he pauses for a moment and hovers in place while transitioning into this second stage, it actually provides a great opportunity to whale on him (no pun intended) for a bit without any risk, so make sure you take advantage of it. If you’re in expert mode, he also has a third stage when he’s very low on health where he fills the screen with mist and starts teleporting around and ramming into you, but as scary as it might be, it’s still just as predictable as his other modes. He always teleports somewhere to the left or right of you before charging you, so if you just keep moving up and down, you should dodge him easily. The only other thing you should know is that he flips out if you leave the ocean biome, gaining drastically increased defense and damage (note that there is no visual indicator of this, unlike with his other mode changes), so make sure you take note of where the ocean biome ends beforehand and stay within it during the fight.
There are a few drops you’ll want from Duke Fishron: one is the Fishron Wings, which are even better than the Steampunk Wings and will greatly increase your mobility in future fights; another is the Flairon, which is a great weapon all-around and will help you a lot in the Pumpkin and Frost Moons and in the Lunar Events; yet another, if you’re in expert mode, is the Shrimpy Truffle, which you’ll want to hang on to for reasons I’ll explain shortly; and the last one to look out for is the Tempest Staff.
Base Damage: 50
Attack Speed: Fast
The Tempest Staff is good, but in my opinion it isn’t really worth it if you’ve already got the Xeno Staff. Still, it’s included here for completion’s sake and to let you know what your options are. Similarly to the Deadly Sphere Staff, it does more damage than the Xeno Staff but is slower, so overall they’re roughly equal in DPS. What it does is summons a Sharknado (yes, that is the actual name on the actual buff tooltip) that shoots purple kamikaze sharks at enemies. Why purple ones, I have no idea. These sharks technically do not pierce through enemies, but they still deal piercing damage for some reason, so just like the Deadly Spheres they will block other piercing weapons that hit an enemy at the same time. Like the Xeno Staff, they can pass through blocks, but will only target enemies they can see. The Sharknadoes themselves also deal damage on contact, not just the sharks they shoot, so be aware of that. Often I’ll have to disable them while trying to catch critters like, well, Truffle Worms, since they’ll kill them if they so much as graze them. The only weakness of the Sharknadoes is that the sharks fly pretty slowly compared to, say, the UFO minions’ laser attack, and they don’t home, so they can often miss small or fast-moving enemies. Because of this I generally consider the UFOs superior, but the Sharknadoes aren’t too shabby either.
By the way, about that Shrimpy Truffle the Duke drops if you’re in expert mode: not only is it an infinite-flight mount along the same lines as the UFO mount, but it’s an excellent addition to any summoner’s arsenal due to its unique mechanics. You see, normally, the Cute Fishron it summons (yes, that is the actual in-game name, though not an undeserved one I must admit) travels relatively slowly, about 5 mph less than the UFO mount according to the in-game stopwatch, but if you drop below half health or enter water while riding it, you will not only get a speed boost that makes it faster than any other mode of transportation in the game besides teleportation, but you’ll get a 15% damage boost as well. When you’re playing any other class but summoner, the benefits of this are debatable considering the conditions to activate it, but if you’ve been paying attention to this guide at all, you should immediately see how a summoner could take advantage of this. The next time you summon your minions, after you swap in your summoning accessories, just activate the Cute Fishron mount, lower your health to below half somehow – I recommend the Rod of Discord for doing this reliably, if you have it; if you don’t, you can jump into a pool of water for the same effect – and then summon your minions before the Cute Fishron’s boosted state wears off. You’ll get a free 15% extra damage to your minions, which will stay until the next time you have to re-summon them. In fact the Shrimpy Truffle is so useful for summoners that I’d say it’s worth it to try switching to an expert mode world and beating Fishron there for it, even if you’ve been playing normal mode up to this point.
So now that you’ve got your choice out of the Deadly Sphere Staff, Xeno Staff, and Tempest Staff, along with the Staff of the Frost Hydra, it’s time for the next big step in your summoner adventure: the Pumpkin Moon. Unlike the other four stops I’ve already detailed on this tier, which can be skipped if you like, the Pumpkin Moon is absolutely mandatory, since it grants you access to two great summoner accessories and a new armor set. It also gives access to a new minion, but that isn’t quite as exciting since this new minion is about the same tier as the Deadly Spheres, UFOs, and Sharknadoes, hence why it’s still listed under the same tier in this walkthrough. The accessories and armor, though, are definite must-haves.
If you made an arena for the mech bosses and you haven’t dismantled or repurposed or whatever it yet, then it should make for an effective arena for the Pumpkin Moon as well. However, I’d recommend carving out a space about 10 blocks tall underneath it and adding some lava and Spiky Ball Traps from the Lihzahrd Temple, to help take out ground-bound enemies faster. You should also, at this point, consider adding some Heart Statues and wiring them up to pressure plates or timers, if you haven’t already. Also make sure you build a small house near your arena and place a bed there to set your spawn point, so that if you die you don’t have to fight your way out of your house to get back to your arena. For your main weapon, you’d do best to use either the Stynger, the Flairon, or the Xenopopper with Ichor or Crystal Bullets, with Vampire Knives as a backup weapon if you have them. For your accessories, I’d recommend both the Celestial Shell and Celestial Stone, which will increase both your survivability and your damage by quite a bit, plus a Pygmy Necklace and any out of the Cross Necklace (Star Veil can also be used, but be aware that the stars pierce and therefore will block your piercing damage), Worm Scarf, Avenger Emblem, Frozen Turtle Shell, and Moon Stone. Keep a Hercules Beetle and Summoner Emblem in your vanity slots to switch in while you summon and then switch back out. Wings are optional if you have a mount, but I personally prefer them. Do NOT use the Ankh Shield or any other defense-boosting accessory, and use as many damage-boosting prefixes as you can get, since you’ll never get more than mediocre defense anyway and damage is important in this event. Aside from all that, the only other thing is to, as usual, make sure you use as many buffs as you can, including a Flask of Ichor if you’re using a melee weapon like the Flairon. Bring extra potions along with you in case your buffs time out or you die.
Once you think you’re prepared enough, just craft a Pumpkin Moon Medallion out of Ectoplasm, Hallowed Bars, and, well, Pumpkin, wait until dusk arrives, and then use it. As soon as you do, you’ll find yourself under siege by Halloween-themed horrors including Scarecrows, Poltergeists, and Christopher Walken Headless Horsemen. Now, if you’ve never done the Pumpkin Moon before, it’s similar in essence to a Blood Moon or Solar Eclipse, but with a twist: as you kill enemies, you’ll advance in “waves”, which will bring with them new enemies as well as increased drop chances for items. There are fifteen waves in total, so your job is to get as close to that as possible before the night ends. The enemies, however, have very high health and defense and hit quite hard, some of them being on the level of hardmode bosses, so it won’t be easy. Luckily, most of them also drop hearts when they die, so the more you kill, the easier it’ll be for you to survive. However, that alone won’t be enough to sustain you, so you have to make sure you dodge.
The enemy that will be your biggest worry will be the Pumpking, who is basically the “boss” of the event. He’s the only flying enemy besides the Poltergeists, which can only hover over the ground, and his attacks do a lot of damage even compared to other Pumpkin Moon enemies, with his strongest attack, his glowing scythes, dealing120 damage in normal mode and a whopping 240 in expert. Definitely do not get hit by those glowing scythes, even if you need to jump into something else to dodge. Besides the Pumpking, there is also an enemy called the Mourning Wood (no pun intended, I’m sure), which has a projectile attack with a pretty wide spread that can deal up to 150 damage. These projectiles are not as fast as the Pumpking’s scythes, but be aware that after they fall to the ground they’ll stay there and continue to burn for a few seconds, during which they’ll still damage you if you touch them. The attack has a relatively short range, though, and Mourning Woods can’t fly or jump, so just keep your distance from them and you should be relatively okay.
It’s the Mourning Woods that you’ll want to focus on killing once you get to the higher waves, since they’re the ones that drop the Necromantic Scroll, an accessory that grants +10% minion damage and +1 minion, and Spooky Wood, a material that you’ll use to craft your new armor set.
Summon Damage: +58%
Max Minions: 4
The first thing you’ll probably notice about your new armor is the defense, which at 27 is even lower than Tiki’s. The second thing you’ll probably notice, though, is the holy cow +58% summon damage, which is an ENORMOUS leap over what you’ve been working with so far. That’s almost twice as much as what Tiki gives. Unfortunately, it’s a bit dampened by the mere 4 minions, one lower than what Tiki provides. Because of this, although Spooky gives much more damage to each individual minion, it’s only more effective than Tiki when using piercing minions, which can’t all attack at the same time anyway. If you’re using the Xeno Staff or the Raven Staff, which will be covered up next, then Tiki and Spooky will both perform about the same damage-wise, making Tiki superior overall since it has more defense.
“So why did you encourage me to come all this way to get it, then?” you’re probably asking me now. Well, put that gel and that wood away, because while Spooky Armor might be a bit mediocre when worn, you aren’t going to be wearing it. At least, not for more than a few seconds at a time. Remember, minions keep their stats even when you switch equipment, and that applies to armor, too. What you should do with your Spooky Armor, then, is equip it whenever you go to summon your minions, summon as many as you can, then switch back over to your Tiki Armor and summon one more minion. This will give you four or more minions with +58% summon damage, one with +30% summon damage, and 35 defense. This way, you can have the benefits of both Spooky and Tiki Armor at the same time. It’s a very useful trick that will prove necessary as you continue on into the final stages of the game, especially if you’re playing in expert mode.
Now, I mentioned the Raven Staff earlier, which will be the final summon weapon available to you in this tier. It’s a drop from Pumpking, and while it’s good, you may prefer one of the other summon weapons you already have, such as the UFOs.
Base Damage: 37
Attack Speed: Very Fast
As the name implies, the Raven Staff summons a Raven, which flies around you and performs dive attacks on your enemies. Although it can hit multiple enemies per dive, it actually does not deal piercing damage, so you can feel free to use your Terra Blade or Holy Arrows alongside it. Overall it’s a great minion, dealing good DPS and having a pretty decent AI, but in my opinion it just isn’t really worth it if you’ve already got a Xeno or Tempest Staff, which are much easier to get. Still, try it out for yourself and see what you think. Its one advantage over the other summons in this tier is that, unlike them, it doesn’t have any real flaws; whereas the UFOs need room above enemies to attack, the Sharknadoes often miss their targets because their projectiles are a bit on the slow side, and the Deadly Spheres get stuck every time you turn around, the Ravens’ AI is much more straightforward and effective. However, their DPS feels just a tad lackluster compared to the others.
As a side note, make sure you get at least two Necromantic Scrolls from the Pumpkin Moon. This is because you can combine one of them with a Hercules Beetle to make a Papyrus Scarab, which grants +1 max minions, +15% summon damage, and +50% minion knockback. Now that you’ve got both accessories, you should now be able to reach a maximum of 10 minions, two more than your previous maximum. You will need these extra minions in the challenges to come.
Summoning items aside, there isn’t all that much else you’ll especially want from the Pumpkin Moon, since the Spooky and Tattered Fairy Wings you can get from it are statistically the same as Steampunk Wings, and most of the other weapons either pierce or cost mana. The Stynger should be a good enough weapon for what the near future has in store, anyway.
At this point you can choose to move on to the next tier by activating the Lunar Events, or you can attempt the Frost Moon, which is a harder version of the Pumpkin Moon with Christmas-themed enemies. There isn’t any summoner gear available there, but you can get your hands on a Chain Gun, which is the best gun you’ll be able to find before the Lunar Events. Its only weakness is that it’s pretty inaccurate, but just use Chlorophyte Bullets and you should tear through enemies. To summon the Frost Moon, just combine Ectoplasm, Souls of Fright, and Silk to make a Naughty Present, then use it once night falls just like you used the Pumpkin Moon Medallion. The enemies here are much harder than in the Pumpkin Moon, but the same basic strategies apply: keep moving around, use lots of buffs, and set your spawn next to your arena in case you die. Now that you have the Spooky Armor to beef up your minions a bit, you should be fairly well prepared for it, but still, don’t let your guard down. Consider doing the Pumpkin Moon a few more times beforehand to get enough money to reforge your weapons and accessories for better modifiers. The Chain Gun drops from Santa-NK1, a miniboss enemy that operates similarly to the Mourning Wood, being ground-bound but employing projectile attacks to shoot at you from a distance. The biggest thing to watch out for is the spiky balls it tosses, which linger on the ground and deal more damage than any other attack in the entire event. They can be easy to miss in all the confusion, so make sure you keep an eye out for them and avoid them at any cost.
Whether or not you decide to grab the Chain Gun, you should now have a full set of Spooky Armor on standby, a Necromantic Scroll and a Papyrus Scarab equipped to yourself (how does one “equip” a scroll, anyway?), some Fishron Wings strapped to your back, and an army of your choice of Deadly Spheres, Sharknadoes, UFOs, or Ravens behind you. Once you’ve got all of these things, you should be just about ready to move on to the final stages of the game, and the climax of your summoner adventure: the Lunar Events.
Tier 8: Stardust Gear
Before you do anything else, you should make four platform arenas spaced out across your map at roughly one-quarter intervals – make them a couple hundred platforms wide and about fifty blocks tall. These will be where you’ll fight the Pillars, and while you can probably do without an arena for most of the Pillars, you’ll really want one for the Solar Pillar. Unfortunately there’s no way of knowing where the Solar Pillar will spawn, so you’ll just have to make an arena at each possible location. It’ll come in handy for the other Pillars, too, but it just isn’t quite as important. As always, make sure to place Campfires, Heart Lanterns, honey, and Heart Statues in your arenas. You know the drill by now.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to head over to the dungeon, where you’ll find that some creepy dudes in robes have moved in and begun worshiping a piece of giant squid currency. Maybe you’ve noticed these guys before, since they spawn as soon as you kill the Golem, but hopefully you left them alone because the instant you kill them they spawn the Lunatic Cultist, a powerful endgame boss. Who, incidentally, is our next target. So, yeah. Kill them. No First Amendment rights in Terraria.
By this point the Lunatic Cultist shouldn’t be that hard, so not much prep work should be required. Just concentrate on strafing and dodging, and fire away at him with your Chain Gun, Stynger, or Flairon while your minions keep the pressure on. His trickiest attack is one where he makes several duplicates of himself, which, if attacked, will spawn a Phantasm Dragon, which is basically a resprited Wyvern. Shouldn’t be too much trouble for you at this point anyway, but if you want to avoid doing this then look closely at them and find the one with a slightly darker color scheme and smaller eyes, which will be the true Lunatic Cultist. Attack him to end the attack.
Once the Lunatic Cultist falls, two things will happen. First of all, he’ll drop an item called an Ancient Manipulator, which you will definitely want to collect because it will be very important for crafting the endgame weapons you’ll be getting from here on out. Second, you’ll get a message telling you that “Celestial creatures are invading!” Now, if you check your map, you’ll see four new sprites on your map, which should be roughly where you built your platform arenas. You’ll notice that one is colored orange, one blue, one green, and one purple; these are the Celestial Pillars. You’ll want to start at the blue one, so head on over to that part of your map.
By the way, a note on the Lunar Event: once the Cultist is defeated and the Pillars appear, they will not go away unless you defeat them. This means that even if you quit the game and log back in, they will still be there, which can be a good or a bad thing. For this reason, make sure you’re completely prepared before killing the Cultist. If you accidentally summon the Cultist and don’t want to start the Lunar Event, just run away from him or quit the game and he’ll despawn without summoning the Pillars.
Once you arrive at the blue Pillar, you’ll notice that the background has turned dark and there’s a big blue moon hanging in the sky, tinting everything a shade of blue. Do not panic. This is normal. The Pillar itself, called the Stardust Pillar, is floating above the ground, encased in a force field that protects it from all damage. You won’t be able to hurt it, and it won’t be able to hurt you – in fact, you can pass right through it without taking damage, which will help your maneuverability a lot in this fight. What will hurt you are the enemies that will start spawning while you’re near it, which are roughly equivalent in strength to Pumpkin Moon or Frost Moon enemies. You shouldn’t have too much trouble with them, but there is one enemy, called a Flow Invader, which will summon missiles around it that it’ll shoot at you on death, and these do a fair bit of damage, so be aware of these when you see them and make sure to dodge. Don’t forget to use your Frost Hydra and Queen Spider to give yourself a bit more cover. You’ll notice that, after you kill each enemy, a tiny laser beam shoots from that enemy into the Stardust Pillar; this is the key to defeating the Pillar, as the more beams shoot into it, the more its shield is weakened until, after you’ve killed either 100 or 150 enemies depending on if you’re in expert mode or not, it will fall. This will be heralded by a big transparent shockwave that shoots out from the Pillar, which is your cue to start whaling on it. Enemies will continue to attack you, so make sure you take it down as quickly as possible, though don’t get reckless.
Once the Stardust Pillar falls, you’ll get a message telling you “Your mind goes numb”, but don’t worry too much about this, as it doesn’t actually mean anything. What you should worry yourself about are the Stardust Fragments the Pillar dropped, which you will definitely want to collect. These will be used to craft your endgame summoner equipment, which is one of the reasons I advised you to start with the Stardust Pillar, the other being that it’s one of the easiest out of the four. Once you’ve collected all of the Fragments, head back to your home base (or a suitably safe location, if one of the other Pillars spawned in your base, which can happen) and slap down that Ancient Manipulator you got from the Lunatic Cultist. Check your crafting menu, and if you have enough Stardust Fragments, you should notice that you have a couple different choices as to what you can make. Ignore the Stardust Monolith, it’s just vanity furniture (albeit a very cool one).
Stardust Dragon Staff
Base Damage: 40 (actually varies between 67 and 251 before bonuses; see below for a full explanation)
Attack Speed: Very Fast
Additional Effect: Passes through walls
Welp, here it is. The best of the best. The peak of summoner potential. The golden goose of the summoner’s farm. The Stardust Dragon is, hands down, the best summon weapon in the game. That isn’t to say it doesn’t have its flaws, but the sheer power this thing packs is astounding. The way it works is that, when you summon it multiple times, rather than creating new minions, it adds another section to the tail of the original. This not only increases its size, but also provides a boost to its damage. Its damage is calculated using this formula:
d is the damage displayed on the weapon itself, which includes all damage boosts from your gear, while l is the number of segments you’ve summoned. In case you’re one of those people whose brain shuts down at the mere mention of algebra, this means that the Stardust Dragon’s true damage effectively increases by 46% of its displayed damage for each segment it has. If you are one of those people who’re good at math, you’ll also notice that even at one segment, its damage is still greater than d, so although its base damage is supposedly 40, it actually always does more than that. You’ll also notice that, if you stack up enough minion capacity and damage boosts, you can get this thing to do some insane damage. With boosts from Spooky and Tiki Armor, a Necromantic Scroll, a Papyrus Scarab, a Pygmy Necklace, a Summoning Potion, and a Bewitched buff, you can easily get over 3,000 DPS on your Dragon, and if you minmax even further and tack on a side weapon you can do even more. Not only that, but the Stardust Dragon can also pass through walls and target enemies on the other side of them, making it great for nearly all situations.
Of course, it’s not perfect, as that “nearly” in the above paragraph hinted. For one thing, it’s, well, one thing, which puts it at a disadvantage compared to other minions when faced with multiple enemies. It can take out clusters pretty well since it can damage an infinite number of enemies at once as long as they’re all touching it, but against enemies that are spread out or that are coming from multiple directions it doesn’t do nearly as well. On top of that, its wallhacking abilities are both a blessing and a curse, since it may leave you behind to go kill something offscreen while an enemy right next to you proceeds to claw your face off. It also, as mentioned above, deals piercing damage, so a lot of weapons don’t gel with it very well, though if you’re using guns like I’ve been recommending you should be okay. But because of these deficiencies, you may sometimes find yourself wanting a different summon for certain purposes, for which there is…
Stardust Cell Staff
Base Damage: 60
Attack Speed: Fast-Very Fast (depending on how quickly other attacks hit)
Additional Effect: Inflicts Mini-Cell debuff
Now here’s a much more traditional summon, and incidentally one that perfectly complements the Stardust Dragon’s weaknesses. Whereas the Dragon is a single entity which causes it problems when facing multiple enemies, the Cells work like other minions and summon new entities upon each use, making them good for taking on swarms of enemies. They also tend to stick closer to you and can’t go through walls, meaning they won’t get distracted by enemies that aren’t a direct threat to you, although it also means they won’t pre-emptively take out a threat if, say, you’re mining toward a cavern full of enemies but haven’t gotten there yet. Because of this, it’s actually often useful to use both the Cells and the Dragon, with the Dragon serving as the main damage-dealer while the Cells protect your person. The Cells also don’t block damage from piercing sources like the Dragon does, which not only makes them an even better complement to the Dragon, but makes them the better choice if you want to use piercing weapons, such as most endgame magic and melee weapons. The Dragon is more powerful overall, though, so I recommend sticking with the Dragon and guns with non-piercing bullets as your sidearm. It’s also better to use a full-length Stardust Dragon against bosses since it loses so much DPS with each missing section, so the Cells should mainly be relegated to spelunking and events. Another thing about the Cells, they actually have a unique mechanic in which they attack faster when you also attack with other weapons alongside them, so you should definitely be doing this in order to bring out their full potential. “Other weapons” includes sentry summons like the Frost Hydra and even other summons such as, yes, the Stardust Dragon, which is yet another reason these two make a great complement to one another.
Mention should also be given to the unique debuff the Cells inflict when they attack, which deals 40 DPS and can be stacked up to 10 times for 400 DPS total. At this point it’s not game-changing, but it’s still very nice and it makes them great against enemies with high defense, since the DoT is not reduced by defense. (The Dungeon Guardian is immune to it, though, so don’t get any ideas there.)
If you can make both of these summons, then you should, but if you can only make one then you should make the Stardust Dragon Staff first. If you can’t make either of them, which can happen if you get really unlucky with your Stardust Fragment drops, then I’d recommend using the Xeno Staff from here on out, but you’re going to have a pretty bad time. If that happens then you’ll probably want to beat the rest of the Pillars and then either die or quit out of the Moon Lord fight in order to start the Lunar Events over again, since you really need that Stardust Dragon to beat the Moon Lord.
So once you’ve got your trusty Stardust Dragon and possibly Stardust Cells (I’d recommend a mix of both for the rest of the Pillars, if you can manage it), it’s time to take on the rest of the Pillars. The deal is basically the same for them as it was for the Stardust Pillar: kill 100 enemies, then attack the Pillar. I recommend doing the Vortex Pillar (the green one) next, since not only is it the second easiest in my opinion but it will give you access to the best sidearm available to you at this point, the Vortex Beater. Load that Vortex Beater up with Chlorophyte or Crystal Bullets and you’ve got a much more powerful weapon than your Chain Gun ever was. With your Stardust Dragon and a Vortex Beater in hand, you should make quick work of the Nebula Pillar, though you should be wary of the purple homing balls fired by the Evolution Beasts, which will require you to keep moving in order to avoid them. There’s very little else to be concerned about with the Nebula Pillar, though.
The Solar Pillar, on the other hand, will pose a problem. There are two things you should know going into it: one, there is an enemy called a Crawltipede which is very fast and does tons of damage, but for some reason will only target you when you’re in the air, meaning you’ll be limited to either the ground or your platform arena during this fight; and two, there is another enemy called a Selenian which can reflect certain projectiles during a certain stage of its attack. The first one is not that big a deal as long as you don’t fly too much, but the latter will require you to rethink your loadout. The projectiles it can reflect include all bullets, arrows, Vampire Knives, Stynger Bolts, and the shots fired by the Frost Hydra, among others, so you won’t be able to use them during this fight unless you want to risk blowing your own head off. On the other hand, the Selenian does not reflect the Flairon or any rocket-firing weapon, so if you have either of those you’ll want to switch to it during this fight. The Razorblade Typhoon also works well if you have it, but I’d recommend the Flairon first and foremost. Besides those two enemies, you should also be aware of the Corites, which are an enemy that can pass through walls and behave much like Meteor Heads. Your Stardust Dragon will help with them, but don’t depend on it. Luckily Corites are pretty slow, so they should be fairly easy to dodge.
Once you’ve beaten the final Celestial Pillar, you’ll get a decidedly ominous message telling you that “Impending doom approaches.” Well, you’re going to prove that wrong. Here comes the final boss.
You’ll have a bit of time, about one minute, between when the last Pillar falls and when the Moon Lord actually spawns. Use this time to switch back to your Vortex Beater, switch out any Stardust Cells you’ve been using for a full-length Stardust Dragon, and chug any buff potions you might have brought. Don’t spare any expense, because this is the final challenge standing between you and the end of the game. I personally prefer not to use any kind of arena for the Moon Lord, since I’d rather be free to fly around, but some prefer using a long minecart track to help keep themselves away from him so they can focus on shooting. If you want you can also set down your Frost Hydra and Queen Spider Staff, but they won’t add much to the fight.
As soon as the Moon Lord spawns, start running. Preferably in the direction that gives you the most space before you have to turn around. Try not to go too fast, though, both so that your Stardust Dragon doesn’t lose aggro on the Moon Lord and so that the Moon Lord doesn’t teleport on top of you, which he will if you ever get too far away. This will be basically the whole fight: run, dodge, and never stop shooting. The only thing that will break this pattern is the huge beam the Moon Lord fires from the eye on his head, which will do a 180-degree sweep and hit you for either 150 or 300 damage, depending on whether you’re on normal or expert. The best way to deal with this attack is to use a Rod of Discord to teleport past the beam before it hits you, but if you don’t have one, then you’ll have to fly either over or under the Moon to dodge it. Either Fishron Wings or the UFO mount should be fast enough to do this, as long as you react in time. You can tell when he’s about to fire the beam because his top eye will open and begin glowing, and once the beam is fired it makes a very distinctive sound, which can alert you to it even if it’s off screen. It travels in a very predictable pattern, starting roughly horizontally from whichever side is closest to you, and then starting to sweep toward your vertical position relative to the Moon Lord. It will then continue sweeping until it reaches the opposite side. Here’s a rough diagram, in case you’re a visual learner:
M is the Moon Lord, specifically where his uppermost eye is located. If the player is in quadrant 1, the beam will start at a and then sweep through quadrants 1 and 2 until it reaches b. On the other hand, if the player is in quadrant 3, the beam will still start at a, but will sweep through quadrants 3 and 4 instead. Meanwhile if the player is in quadrant 2, the beam will instead start at b and sweep through quadrants 1 and 2 until it reaches a. And so on.
It should be noted that the beam does not pass through blocks, nor do some of the Moon Lord’s other attacks, so encasing yourself in blocks can make your life a bit easier, but as a summoner you’ll have so little defense that even the relatively few attacks that can hit you through blocks will still decimate you. Still, you can use pre-built structures as temporary shelters when he revs up his death laser, just be sure you get moving again the moment it passes you.
Anyway, your goal in this fight will be to damage the eyes on his hands and head (the latter being the one that shoots the laser) while they’re open. Your Stardust Dragon will target them automatically, and is smart enough to tell the difference between when they’re open or closed, so you shouldn’t worry too much about your own aim, as your Dragon will be doing the bulk of the damage in this fight and your only role is to support him and stay alive. As each eye dies, it will detach from the Moon Lord and transform into a True Eye of Cthulhu, an invincible enemy that will continue attacking you for the rest of the fight; and since the True Eyes are more dangerous than the eyes that are still attached to the Moon Lord, this means that you should generally try to whittle all of the eyes down equally and then take them all out one after the other as quickly as possible, to minimize the amount of time that the True Eyes are in the fight. Unfortunately, your Stardust Dragon may have other plans, so this might not be possible. Also be aware that the toothy mouths left behind after the eyes detach will damage you on contact, although they don’t deal nearly as much damage as any of the Moon Lord’s other attacks. Once you’ve taken out all of the eyes, the Moon Lord’s chest will open up and expose his Core, which will be your final target. He gains no new attacks during this phase, but having three of those True Eyes flying around will make this the hardest part of the fight. Focus on dodging while your Stardust Dragon takes care of the Core.
And then, with a flash of light that fills the screen, it’s over. Watch as the Moon Lord writhes in well-deserved pain before exploding, dropping your hard-earned endgame items. Rejoice in your victory, bathe in the blood of your conquered foe, and then pick up those drops to see what you got.
If you’re lucky, you got one of two summon weapons dropped by the Moon Lord, which are as follows:
Lunar Portal Staff
Base Damage: 50
Attack Speed: Average
Rainbow Crystal Staff
Base Damage: 150
Attack Speed: Slow
Both of these are stationary summons just like the Frost Hydra and Queen Spider, and like them they’re mainly designed to add a bit of supplementary damage rather than blow everything away by themselves. They are, however, pretty good at crowd control, which is where they really shine. The Lunar Portal Staff summons a portal that occasionally fires a laser at enemies that behaves much like the Moon Lord’s laser, only smaller, faster, and with less of an arc. It can pierce an infinite number of enemies and can hit each one several times per second as long as they remain in contact with its beam, making it great for hordes. It also inflicts a good amount of knockback and can hit enemies multiple times during its sweep to knock them even further back, making it a nice personal protection weapon. The Rainbow Crystal Staff, on the other hand, is a bit more unusual, as it summons a floating crystal that shoots rays of colored light at enemies, but the rays themselves do not do any damage. Instead, at the end of each ray, a rainbow colored sparkle will appear and grow over the course of about a second, then explode. This explosion is what deals damage, and quite a bit of it at that. Unfortunately, the delay between when the beam shoots out and when the explosion happens makes it very bad at hitting moving targets, so it does best against slow-moving bosses and clusters of enemies. Like the Lunar Portal, it can pierce an infinite number of enemies at once if they’re stacked on top of one another, though it only deals damage once per explosion. It also deals a pretty good amount of knockback, and since it can shoot multiple rays at once, this makes it arguably even better than the Lunar Portal at knocking back crowds of enemies. Basically, neither of these weapons is going to be game-changing, but they don’t cost anything except a bit of mana, so you might as well use them.
Besides these two, the other main drop you’ll want to look out for from the Moon Lord is the S.D.M.G., which is without question the best side weapon in the game to use alongside your Stardust Dragon. Even without any specialized boosts it can deal over 3,000 DPS, 5,000 if you use Crystal Bullets, which is absolutely insane. The other drops from the Moon Lord aren’t too exciting for you as a summoner, but the Meowmere and the Terrarian can make a decent companion while spelunking or farming, even if they do interfere with the Stardust Dragon due to piercing. You will, however, want to keep that Luminite Ore, since it will be an ingredient in your final summoner armor set. Before you can craft that, though, you’ll have to beat the Moon Lord at least one more time. It shouldn’t be too hard now that you know what you’re doing, especially if Moon Lord dropped something useful.
Once you have at least 144 Luminite Ore and 45 Stardust Fragment, pop over to that Ancient Manipulator and craft your final piece of summoner equipment: Stardust Armor.
Summon Damage: +66%
Max Minions: 6
Additional Effect: Summons a Stardust Guardian which you can place at your cursor by double-tapping down (or up, if you open the config file and set "ReverseUpDownForArmorSetBonuses" to true)
Now, before you get too excited about that set bonus, let me tell you: the Stardust Guardian sucks. He can’t be placed in the air (even though he’s visibly levitating), does pitiful damage, has a tiny attack range, has a slower attack speed than the Frost Hydra, and barely distracts enemies for more than half a second. On top of that, he does nothing if you don’t place him, so you have to divert your attention away from the fight just to get him to do anything at all. Most of the time I forget he’s even there, and so will you. On the plus side, though, he looks awesome, and… he can protect you while you summon other, better minions? And… you can dye him with your pet slot? That’s about it. Even in the few situations where he might be a tiny bit useful, most of the time your other minions are going to have the job done long before he has a chance to do anything. You’re better off just ignoring him and dreaming of the day when Re-Logic finally gets around to buffing him.
The Guardian aside, everything else about the Stardust Armor is pretty awesome. You’ll notice that all of its stats are better than both the Spooky and Tiki Armors, meaning you no longer have to deal with switching between them just to maximize your stats. That one additional minion slot also means a pretty big jump in damage for your Stardust Dragon, so the next time you go up against the Pillars and the Moon Lord they’ll be even easier. Against anything less, you’ll be practically invincible.
And, well… that’s it. Once you’ve gotten the Rainbow Crystal Staff, Lunar Portal Staff, S.D.M.G., and Stardust Armor, you’ll have reached the end of your summoner adventure. From here, you can collect stuff, farm stuff, build stuff, tweak your loadout, start over, go online and make overly wordy guides like this one… but there’s no more summoner gear for you to collect. You’ve come to the end of your summoner road. Hopefully, it was a fun one.
Thanks for reading! If you have any feedback, please leave it below. I hope you found this guide at least a little helpful!