Nate's PvE Handbook: The Summoning Class

(Abigail’s Flower and Houndius Shootius weren’t on here, but Abigail’s Flower belongs in S tier, right behind Morning Star, and Houndius Shootius belongs in C tier, above Optic Staff)

If any of you has not looked at my profile, my Youtube channel, my posts, or anything whatsoever here, you might not know that I am a summoner fanatic. For those who do know, you’re likely facepalming and trying not to have an aneurism, because sure enough, it’s time for me to talk even more about my favorite class ;D

The Basics of the Summoning Class

If you haven’t heard of the summoning class (I highly doubt it though) and/or simply don’t know much about it, read on!
The summoning class is one of the four Terraria classes that specializes in using other summonable entities to deal damage. Keep in mind that these entities cannot be damaged by friend or foe, but you can get rid of them by double tapping their buff icon (unless you’re using a sentry- you’ll have to wait for it to despawn).
These entities do not work independently, however- you can direct them and choose which enemies you want them to target by right-clicking the enemy with a summon weapon in hand or you can hit an enemy with a whip (more info on that later).
There are three different types of weapons in this class, all of which, unlike the other three classes, work in tandem to deal massive DPS. Here’s the breakdown;

Subclass Functionality Weapons Within This Subclass
Whips Used to direct summons, supplies extra DPS, all whips apply a special effect that boosts your summons’ damage, whip swing speed is affected by melee speed, flask effects apply to them Leather Whip, Snapthorn, Spinal Tap, Firecracker, Cool Whip, Durendal, Dark Harvest, Morning Star, Kaleidoscope
Minions The primary source of damage, each minion takes up one minion slot, some minions stay as one minion but upgrade per minion slot, receive boosts from whips, follow the player when idle Finch Staff, Slime Staff, Abigail’s Flower, Flinx Staff, Vampire Frog Staff, Hornet Staff, Imp Staff, Spider Staff, Sanguine Staff, Pirate Staff, Blade Staff, Optic Staff, Deadly Sphere Staff, Raven Staff, Desert Tiger Staff, Pygmy Staff, Tempest Staff, Terraprisma, Xeno Staff, Stardust Cell Staff, Stardust Dragon Staff
Sentries Literally just minions, but they stay in one place at all times and use sentry slots instead of minion slots Houndius Shootius, Lightning Aura Rod/Cane/Staff, Explosive Trap Rod/Cane/Staff, Flameburst Rod/Cane/Staff, Ballista Rod/Cane/Staff, Queen Spider Staff, Staff of the Frost Hydra, Rainbow Crystal Staff, Lunar Portal Staff

Why Even Consider Using The Summoning Class?

You might be wondering, “Why the heck should I even use this?” Well, there are a lot of reasons to use it, and then there a few reasons not to. Like all the other classes, the summoning class has its pros and its cons.

Pros Cons
Great DPS, good range, weapons are spread well throughout the game, great against both single targets and crowds, functions well while building or fishing Extremely low defense, can have a rough beginning if you have bad RNG

I’ll let you decide, but I like the glass cannon-type gameplay this class has. It’s also very suited to For the Worthy due to almost every enemy dealing massive damage, so dealing maximum damage to enemies is often a priority. It’s also great for no-hitting, as you need to aim a lot less, so you can focus much more on dodging. Anyway, onward to the weapons themselves!

S-Tier - Extremely Good

Sanguine Staff - Quite simply the best summon weapon in the game. It can be obtained within mere minutes of entering Hardmode. It’s also got great range, epic DPS, and performs remarkably well against bosses all the way up to Moon Lord. Its only flaw is crowds and tight spaces, both of which are negated by its amazing counterpart, the Blade Staff.

Blade Staff - The partner of the Sanguine Staff, Blade Staff is another remarkable weapon obtainable early into Hardmode. Don’t be fooled by its 6 damage, though- it has a whopping 20 armor penentration, meaning it deals its damage almost all the time. Like the Sanguine Staff, it has very consistent and high-DPS attacking. Unlike the Sanguine Staff, however, it performs just as well against crowds as it does against single targets! Also unlike the Sanguine Staff, it works extremely well in tight spaces due to being able to easily stunlock enemies. Its only flaw is its heavy reliance on tag damage from whips, but with whip stacking, one can maximize its DPS to surpass the Sanguine Staffs! It did get a major nerf in 1.4.4 (25% less tag damage effect), and now it deals much less DPS. Thus, it takes a spot just behind Sanguine Staff, where it once would have surpassed it.

Xeno Staff - If you haven’t ever used it before, I don’t blame you. It’s heavily underrated, and I barely used it at all… that is, until I tried it out on DG Survival. It simply blew my mind with the sheer massive DPS, great range, consistent and unmissable attacking, and awesome pairing with tag damage. It even got buffed in 1.4.4, now dealing much more damage while the player is moving and performing even better against crowds. Unfortunately, being a Post-Golem weapon that’s locked behind a rather difficult miniboss and invasion, I have to put it behind the easily obtainable Blade Staff.

Terraprisma - It may be overrated in my opinion, but I can’t say it’s bad in the slightest. It’s got insane DPS, great consistency, keeps up with the player and enemies really well, and with a lot of practice can be obtained right after Plantera. It does, however, have three major flaws. The main reason it’s after Xeno Staff is because of its crappy range, though it does have some weird targeting issues, not to mention the fact that it’s locked behind the most difficult fight in vanilla Terraria. It does slaughter everything past Plantera though, so I would definitely say it’s worth getting.

Lunar Portal Staff - Great damage per hit, great crowd control, great DPS, and great consistency. That was even before 1.4.4 buffed it, too! The reason I’m putting it that low is because it’s an endgame weapon, so it’s basically perfectly balanced for its tier anyway.

Cool Whip - Now, you may be scratching your head in confusion, but remember that massive 1.4.4 buff to it? Now it’s actually better than Firecracker (in my opinion). Not only is the snowflake it spawns much faster and more reliable for extra damage, but it now has 6 tag damage and inflicts Frostbite, which (for reference) is a massive 25 damage per second… and that’s inflicted on every single hit, by the way. Of course, it does have a slight penalty because it’s nothing compared to the Sanguine Staff and its partners, but I still consider it the best whip in the game, considering its tier.

Morning Star - Hits hard, hits pretty fast, long range, 8 tag damage, 12% tag crit, and all of that from something you can get only a few minutes after beating Plantera pretty easily. Quite simply a great whip.

Abigail’s Flower - This minion is… a special case. It’s actually specifically good at two main phases of the game, early prehardmode and early hardmode. Why? It receives a massive buff of around 2x damage once WoF is defeated! This summon is quite frankly one of my favorites. It’s available as soon as you can find a tombstone, and it’s actually surprisingly good against bosses all the way up to the mechs. Even then, it’s great against Destroyer. It’s simply awesome against invasions and enemies with multiple segments, and any slow boss is easy game for its high rate of damage attacks! The only reason it’s balanced at all is that it has to stop moving to attack, so it fails against fast moving single targets.

Firecracker - It’s another great whip, its effect applying an explosion that deals 2.95x the damage that activated it on every hit of the whip. Deals awesome DPS, and it’s dropped by Wall of Flesh. It’s only below Cool Whip because it supplies zero tag damage, so it’s basically useless for Blade Staff users.

Tempest Staff - Ah yes, this thing. Once the greatest summon weapon ever, its glory was revived in the 1.4.4 update, which massively increased its usability and consistency. It’s great DPS, and it can (in theory) be obtained at any point in Hardmode.

Lightning Aura Staves - With the addition of sentries benefiting from tag damage in 1.4.4, lightning aura suddenly got a massive buff. It may only take 50% tag damage (the devs were smart with that decision), but it still benefits quite a bit. It’s the Blade Staff of sentries, but the fact it’s a sentry by default make it worse.

Queen Spider Staff - Easily obtainable, inflicts Venom, deals with crowds and ground enemies incredibly well, and doesn’t do half bad against Destroyer, either. It’s not quite cream of the sentry crop, but it’s great for dealing with early Hardmode threats and invasions.

A-Tier - Pretty Good

Kaleidoscope - You’re probably surprised I put it this low! The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t really do anything special. It may be the best whip in the game by technicality, with a whopping 25 tag damage and great range, but it’s locked behind Empress of Light and it’s nothing in comparison to the S-Tier minions.

Stardust Dragon Staff - It does great DPS and deals with Moon Lord and the Lunar Events really well. It also has great range and keeps up with enemies pretty well. It gets really easily sidetracked and its DPS pales in comparison to the Terraprisma and sometimes even the Xeno Staff, though.

Spinal Tap - It’s a pretty powerful whip that can be obtained right after Skeletron, applies a good amount of tag damage, good range, and good damage. Its main usefulness is against crowds or multi-segment enemies, as it has unusually low damage loss when piercing. All things considered, it’s pretty good, especially against Wall of Flesh.

Vampire Frog Staff - I consider this thing to be the best prehardmode minion. It’s really good against ground enemies due to its high knockback, high speed, and pretty good damage per hit. It can be difficult to obtain for some, but with some luck and a box, the Blood Moon enemies that drop it are easy prey. It’s viable throughout the entirety of prehardmode, and can even be used against Wall of Flesh with pretty good results. Its only flaw is the simple fact that it’s a ground minion, so it’s a lot less consistent against enemies far off the ground.

Dark Harvest - It’s pretty easy to get, it does decent damage per hit, good range, super fast attack speed, and it’s quite simply insanely good against crowds and Golem. It is, however, outclassed by the Morning Star against single targets and in terms of availability.

Ballista Staves - This would have been S-tier had I made this prior to 1.4.4, but it received a massive nerf in 1.4.4 that even the increased attack rate and damage cannot account for. It does great damage per shot and pierces, but it (sadly) cannot be spammed anymore.

Flinx Staff - This thing is actually pretty good. It has decent damage per hit and good speed, but its main ability is the ability to bounce on top of enemies- including flying ones. Where Vampire Frog fails to hit bosses such as Skeletron and sometimes Brain of Cthulhu or Eye of Cthulhu, the Flinx Staff is there to bounce on enemies and provide consistent damage. It’s not as viable as Vampire Frog in any other instance, though.

Snapthorn - It’s the prehardmode whip staple. While it did receive a nerf in 1.4.4, it is still pretty good, and the increased whip speed, good damage per hit, and poison debuff are nothing to sneeze at. It is, however, not nearly as good as it once was.

Staff of the Frost Hydra - The projectile deals Frostbite, pierces, high velocity, good fire rate, great damage per shot, this weapon is pretty good. Sadly, it tends to miss fast moving targets, and it is by default less useful due to not being able to move.

Stardust Cell Staff - Some may call it the upgraded Xeno Staff, and I would agree! It has the same properties but improved, with extra DPS due to sticking onto enemies. Unlike the Xeno Staff, however, its only real utility is against Moon Lord, and Stardust Dragon does much better at that, which is even then surpassed by the Terraprisma.

B Tier - Good

Rainbow Crystal Staff - High damage per hit, decent range, and can attack at a pretty fast rate. Its only flaws are that it fails to hit fast moving targets, and cannot deal with crowds very effectively. I advise using Lunar Portal Staff instead.

Desert Tiger Staff - Pretty good, all things considered. It’s pretty fast, it’s consistent, like the Flinx Staff, it jumps on enemies, which makes it a ton more consistent against fast enemies and aerial enemies. It also had pretty good range and damage per hit. Sadly, it fails against crowds, and it doesn’t deal nearly as much DPS as even the Sanguine Staff or the Blade Staff.

Spider Staff - It’s not really meant for much, honestly. Its main use is for the Venom and killing early Hardmode enemies, and to defeat the Dreadnautilus for the Sanguine or Queen Slime for Blade Staff. It’s not really meant for anything past that stage, so it’s not terribly viable or anything.

Pygmy Staff - It used to be terrible, but with the massive 1.4.4, this minion actually got to be pretty good against single targets, even fast moving ones like Duke Fishron! It does sizeable DPS in groups, but sadly it is a lot less effective against crowds, and due to being a ground summon, it still misses occasionally or is outranged by aerial enemies.

Durendal - It’s a decent whip, all things considered. With solid range, damage, as well as good tag damage and the whip speed boost, it’s a good option overall. Unfortunately, even the Cool Whip outdoes it due to the debuff and the Snowflake. The speed buff isn’t enough to make it worth using, especially after the heavy nerf in 1.4.4. It’s a good option for whip stacking, though.

Slime Staff - The AI is actually good, especially against ground enemies. It’s a starter weapon and obviously not meant to face anything stronger than King Slime, but it deals pretty good DPS, especially against worms. The main killer here is the absurdly low drop rate, to the point where most players never even see this thing without farming for it.

Imp Staff - It’s a solid minion, and it’s good against crowds and decent against single targets. It’s got good damage per hit, has infinite piercing, good range, and it inflicts fire to boot. It does, however, miss frequently, and this actually significantly reduces its DPS. The main reason is actually the slow projectile speed.

Pirate Staff - It’s a good minion, and I highly recommend it against crowds or ground targets. Good AI, good damage, and good consistency against things it can reach. However, it has two main issues; one, it’s a ground minion, and two, similar to the Slime Staff, it’s locked behind a rather low drop rate of 1/1000 on normal Pirates and 1/100 on Flying Dutchmans (Dutchmen? Dutchmans? What’s the grammar for this?).

Raven Staff - Decent AI and good raw DPS, but the main reason it’s so low on the tier list is because of how slow it is. It’s barely useable against things like the Empress of Light and in some cases Duke Fishron.

C-Tier - Almost Bad

Optic Staff - Recently gaining a buff/nerf in 1.4.4, it now doesn’t have the iFrames it used to, but the lasers no longer pierce, sadly. Nonetheless, it’s half-decent if you have some weird aversion to literally everything better than it. It’s decent consistency and damage, but in swarms, it can actually deal good DPS against things like Destroyer or Plantera.

Deadly Sphere Staff - Recently gaining a massive buff in 1.4.4, this thing is finally actually decent. It may be heavily outdone by Sanguine/Blade Staff, but it now deals a ton more DPS, doesn’t randomly stop attacking its targets, and has much more accurate dashes to boot. It’s still not good enough to warrant using over other options, though.

Flameburst Staves - Doesn’t pierce or deal extraordinary damage, so it’s really more or less useless against crowds. Its projectile, however, does (small) AoE, is barely affected by gravity, sometimes double hits, and inflicts On Fire/Hellfire, so it’s decent against flying enemies like Ethernian Wyverns and worm enemies.

Leather Whip - Was buffed slightly in 1.4.4, but it still remains as a very simple, basic whip with low range and damage. It’s the starter whip though, so I won’t judge it too hard.

D-Tier - Bad

Hornet Staff - Misses frequently, bad damage per hit for its tier, doesn’t pierce, and is basically useless against Skeletron and Wall of Flesh, the two only things you’re using it for at this stage. However, Hive Pack does increase its firing rate by 30%, and its stingers do inflict Poison, which was buffed massively in 1.4.4, so I can’t say it’s absolute garbage.

Finch Staff - It has bad AI, bad speed, bad consistency, misses extremely frequently, and deals only 6 damage, as well as being entirely reliant on world gen to obtain. Of course, it’s not E-tier because that’s really only what can be expected from the first summon weapon in the game. That, and it has this weird quirky thing with Demon Eyes that puts them into an endless loop as they slowly rise into the air until the Demon Eye dies. It’s actually pretty funny.

E-Tier - Terrible

Explosive Trap Staves - They can only hit things above them, they don’t deal knockback, they have less damage and a crap ton less range than Ballista staves, they don’t double hit or inflict debuffs like Flameburst staves, and they don’t deal consistent damage in a large area like Lightning Aura staves. Explosive Traps are, simply put, nearly useless.

F-Tier - Absolute Garbage

Thankfully, nothing currently is so bad as to be put down here, but pre-1.4.4 Hornet Staff and Explosive Trap staves would have been down here.


Tbh I’m surprised hornet is not lower, I have genuinely never used it cause it is utterly useless. By the point I fight bee, normally the evil biome boss is dead already, meaning obsidian armor and imp staff (which I also never get because despite having worse damage frog staff is better by a long shot then imp) so by all accounts you can just skip B depending on your playstyle.


Nah i disagree when you say fire cracker is useless for blade staff bc fire cracker affect wont reset summon tag and also you could make pretty well whip conbo with


each time you whip the blade staff with firecracker, you only gain about 12 damage, and the blade staff only deals 6 damage, so you would only be gaining about 12 damage per hit, or the equivalent of 1 summon tag for 1 minion, 0.5 for two, so on.
Firecracker: 12+6(9)=66; Cool Whip: 12(10)=120; Spinal Tap: 13(10)=130
According to those calculations, you would have a way better time whipstacking cool whip and spinal tap than using a firecracker here.


Mr bee yoyo is completely correct.


it was once garbage, but it received a pretty big buff in tandem with the Hive Pack, as well as Poison now dealing a lot more damage to enemies. All things considered, it’s not the worst thing ever.


wait, the frick is that math

tag damage isn’t multiplactive, it’s additive, so 10 tag would be an extra 10 damage, not 10x damage

that would be so broken


spinal tap = 6 + 7
cool whip = 6 + 6


i finished it… yay