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Progression in Terraria is marked by the player gaining access to new weapons, accessories, and armors. While weapons are the main determinant of combat effectiveness, armor also plays an important role by mitigating damage taken and passively boosting damage output. Choosing the ideal armor sets to use at each stage of the game is sometimes straightforward, but not always. This guide will help you decide on which armor sets to use at various points in game progression.
The armor sets listed in this guide are optimized for overall damage and survivability, with consideration given to raw stats as well as set bonuses. As a result, the optimal sets will sometimes be hybrid sets that do not confer a set bonus. Several complete armor sets have a lackluster set bonus (for example, Frost armor and Adamantite armor) and are therefore not listed.
Listings are in rough order of decreasing viability.
Earlygame[edit | edit source]
At this point, armor serves little purpose other than to boost your defense. You may obtain up to 20 defense with metal armors such as Platinum armor, but the resources required are better spent elsewhere. Therefore, it's recommended to simply wear Ebonwood armor, Shadewood armor, or other basic, easy-to-craft armors until you can get your hands on a real armor set; whatever you wear at the start of the game will be replaced very quickly. More experienced players can save time by completely skipping armor in the early game, potentially even up to the Wall of Flesh battle.
|Mining Helmet||Gi||Obsidian Pants||Practical set for exploring. Obsidian Pants have 1 less defense than Platinum Greaves, but can be obtained cheaply by using Bombs.|
|Pumpkin Helmet||Pumpkin Breastplate||Pumpkin Leggings||10% damage boost, equating to about 1 damage. Only available during Halloween. Outside the Halloween season, it cannot be obtained before defeating a boss.|
|Wizard Hat||Gypsy Robe||Obsidian Pants||Requires some luck from Traveling Merchant. Use a Diamond Robe otherwise.|
Late pre-Hardmode[edit | edit source]
|Ninja Hood||Ninja Shirt||Ninja Pants||: +20% Movement speed can be valuable when running errands or dodging attacks, although it does require farming King Slime a few times.|
|Crimson Helmet||Crimson Scalemail||Crimson Greaves||Classless set used to regenerate health while exploring.|
|Bee Headgear||Gi||Ninja Pants||Hybrid summoner set. Ranged and magic users will prefer Necro Greaves and Jungle Pants, respectively.|
|Molten Helmet||Molten Breastplate||Molten Greaves||Maximizes defense and melee bonuses.|
|Shadow Helmet||Shadow Scalemail||Shadow Greaves||Maximizes melee speed.|
|Necro Helmet||Necro Breastplate||Necro Greaves||Maximizes ranged damage output.|
|Wizard Hat||Gypsy Robe||Meteor Leggings||Maximizes magic damage output.|
|Wizard Hat||Diamond Robe||Jungle Pants||More focused on mana economy; robe and legs are interchangeable with the above set.|
|Meteor Helmet||Meteor Suit||Meteor Leggings||Ideal for use with the Space Gun, Gray Zapinator and Orange Zapinator.|
|Bee Headgear||Bee Breastplate||Bee Greaves||Provides the highest bonuses to minion damage and capacity.|
Early Hardmode[edit | edit source]
To save resources, it is recommended that you choose one early Hardmode armor set and use it until you defeat your first mechanical boss. Palladium, Orichalcum, and Titanium sets are almost always preferred over Cobalt, Mythril, and Adamantite, but alternatives have been listed for players whose worlds contain Adamantite.
Forbidden Treads were nerfed in the transition to 1.4, but early Hardmode minions have been improved overall, meaning that hybridization remains viable.
|Titanium headpiece||Titanium Breastplate||Titanium Leggings||Damages and stunlocks enemies within close range.|
|Orichalcum headpiece||Orichalcum Breastplate||Orichalcum Leggings||Provides innate crowd control, even when using weak weapons.|
|Palladium headpiece||Palladium Breastplate||Palladium Leggings||Provides constant regeneration in combat.|
|Adamantite Helmet||Frost Breastplate||Spider Greaves||Compared to Adamantite armor, trades away melee speed for 1 extra minion and roughly equivalent melee bonuses.|
|Adamantite Mask||Frost Breastplate||Spider Greaves||Compared to Adamantite armor, trades away ammo conservation for 1 extra minion and roughly equivalent ranged bonuses.|
|Wizard Hat||Gypsy Robe||Forbidden Treads||Dangerously frail, but has higher magic bonuses than Adamantite armor along with 1 extra minion.|
|Spider Mask||Spider Breastplate||Spider Greaves||Standard option.|
|Forbidden Mask||Forbidden Robes||Forbidden Treads||Poor stats, but an excellent set bonus for crowd control and killing The Destroyer.|
Pre-Plantera[edit | edit source]
Aside from Hallowed and Chlorophyte Bars, you now have access to the second tier of the Old One's Army, the rewards of which provide welcome upgrades to every class. However, most players won't be aiming to purchase a full set, because with the exception of Squire armor, the set bonuses of the Tavernkeep's armor sets are lackluster.
|Chlorophyte Mask||Monk's Shirt||Squire's Greaves||Provides the highest melee bonuses available. Hallowed Mask can be used if you prefer more melee speed, which benefits broadswords, spears, and flails.|
|Hallowed Mask||Hallowed Plate Mail||Hallowed Greaves||Periodically dodges incoming attacks.|
|Turtle Helmet||Turtle Scale Mail||Turtle Leggings||Provides raw defense and some percentage-based damage reduction. Useful for those less confident in their dodging skills.|
|Hallowed Helmet||Hallowed Plate Mail||Hallowed Greaves||Periodically dodges incoming attacks.|
|Hallowed Helmet||Huntress's Jerkin||Spider Greaves||Loses Holy Protection, but gains 1 extra minion and slightly higher ranged bonuses.|
|Hallowed Helmet||Huntress's Jerkin||Chlorophyte Greaves||Loses Holy Protection, but maximizes ranged bonuses.|
|Hallowed Headgear||Hallowed Plate Mail||Hallowed Greaves||Periodically dodges incoming attacks.|
|Hallowed Headgear||Forbidden Robes||Apprentice's Trousers||Loses Holy Protection, but gains 1 extra minion and slightly higher magic bonuses.|
|Hallowed Headgear||Chlorophyte Plate Mail||Apprentice's Trousers||Loses Holy Protection, but maximizes magic bonuses.|
|Hallowed Hood||Hallowed Plate Mail||Hallowed Greaves||Periodically dodges incoming attacks.|
|Squire's Great Helm||Squire's Plating||Squire's Greaves||Decimates crowds of enemies when used with Ballistas. If not using Ballistas, switch to Queen Spider Staff and Spider Greaves.|
Pre-Betsy[edit | edit source]
While Plantera and Golem provide separate advancements to game progression when defeated, they are treated as one milestone by this guide due to their similar difficulty level. At this point, you would be expected to have defeated Duke Fishron, Martian Madness, and the Pumpkin Moon. The Xeno Staff and Spooky Breastplate in particular provide a noticeable power boost to hybrid summoners.
Those who have stockpiled a large supply of Defender Medals prior to defeating Golem can skip to the next section.
|Chlorophyte Mask||Monk's Shirt||Squire's Greaves||Highest raw melee bonuses available. Beetle Scale Mail provides more melee speed, but few melee weapons actually benefit from increased melee speed.|
|Chlorophyte Mask||Spooky Breastplate||Squire's Greaves||Provides decent melee bonuses and 2 extra minions. Excellent on Crimson worlds, where you can inflict Ichor and support your minions while healing with Vampire Knives. If using whips, Hallowed Mask is preferred.|
|Beetle Helmet||Beetle Shell||Beetle Leggings||The tankiest armor set for any class. Does not take repeated hits well, and has low offensive bonuses.|
|Shroomite headpiece||Shroomite Breastplate||Spooky Leggings||Shroomite armor's stealth bonus offers little benefit, so it is discarded in exchange for 1 extra minion. Huntress's Jerkin is also viable for this set.|
|Hallowed Helmet||Hallowed Plate Mail||Hallowed Greaves||For those who prefer a defensive effect.|
|Spectre Hood||Spectre Robe||Spectre Pants||This set reduces your magic damage, but grants near-immortality as long as you can properly manage your mana.|
|Spectre Mask||Spectre Robe||Spectre Pants||Set bonus compensates for this set's lackluster direct magic bonuses. Can be switched to/from Spectre Hood very quickly.|
|Hallowed Headgear||Spooky Breastplate||Apprentice's Trousers||A powerful, minion-based alternative to Spectre Mask. However, switching to the Spectre Hood is not possible without deleting minions.|
|Hallowed Headgear||Hallowed Plate Mail||Hallowed Greaves||For those who prefer a defensive effect, but don't wish to sacrifice too much offense by using the Spectre Hood.|
|Spooky Helmet||Spooky Breastplate||Spooky Leggings||Maximizes offensive capabilities.|
|Hallowed Hood||Hallowed Plate Mail||Hallowed Greaves||For those who prefer a defensive effect.|
|Squire's Great Helm||Squire's Plating||Squire's Greaves||Use for clearing the Old One's Army itself with Ballistas. Against the Old One's Army, this set is recommended for all classes.|
Pre-Lunar Events[edit | edit source]
With the Old One's Army vanquished and a good supply of Defender Medals in your pocket, you can now purchase the best armor available before challenging the Lunar Events. The most notable of these armor pieces is the Valhalla Knight's Breastplate, which noticeably increases the survivability of all classes.
|Chlorophyte Mask||Valhalla Knight's Breastplate||Valhalla Knight's Greaves||The best pre-Lunar melee set for offense and survivability.|
|Shinobi Infiltrator's Helmet||Valhalla Knight's Breastplate||Valhalla Knight's Greaves||Increases sentry capacity while providing comparable melee bonuses to the Chlorophyte Mask.|
|Chlorophyte Mask||Monk's Shirt||Valhalla Knight's Greaves||Forgoes regeneration to maximize melee bonuses.|
|Shinobi Infiltrator's Helmet||Spooky Breastplate||Valhalla Knight's Greaves||Forgoes regeneration to maximize minion- and sentry-based offense.|
|Beetle Helmet||Beetle Shell||Beetle Leggings||Improves tanking ability, but offensive bonuses are extremely poor.|
|Shroomite headpiece||Red Riding Dress||Spooky Leggings||Highest DPS available.|
|Shroomite headpiece||Valhalla Knight's Breastplate||Chlorophyte Greaves||Loses DPS but gains survivability.|
|Spectre Hood||Spectre Robe||Spectre Pants||A fallback option for rapidly healing yourself and your teammates.|
|Spectre Mask||Spectre Robe||Spectre Pants||Raw offense that can be quickly switched to Spectre Hood for lifesteal in a pinch. Also excellent at scouting for enemies.|
|Hallowed Headgear||Valhalla Knight's Breastplate||Dark Artist's Leggings||Nearly as much offense as the Spectre Mask, but has more survivability.|
|Hallowed Headgear||Spooky Breastplate||Dark Artist's Leggings||All-out offensive hybrid set with 2 extra minions.|
|Spooky Helmet||Spooky Breastplate||Spooky Leggings||Maximizes offensive capabilities.|
|Spooky Helmet||Valhalla Knight's Breastplate||Spooky Leggings||Sacrifices 2 minions for extra regeneration and higher whip damage.|
|Shinobi Infiltrator's Helmet||Valhalla Knight's Breastplate||Spooky Leggings||More sentry-based than the above set. Use with Frost Hydra/Queen Spider and melee weapons.|
|Squire's Great Helm||Valhalla Knight's Breastplate||Spooky Leggings||A passive set specialized entirely towards regeneration, healing 6 health per second instead of 4. Also grants 1 extra sentry. Could be considered a classless set.|
Endgame[edit | edit source]
All Luminite-tier armors are the best offensive armors for their respective classes (aside from Solar Flare armor, which offers a combination of offense and defense). However, the Valhalla Knight's Breastplate can still be worn by ranged users and summoners, who do not receive any defensive benefits from their respective endgame armors.
|Solar Flare Helmet||Solar Flare Breastplate||Solar Flare Leggings||Offers almost as much regeneration as the Valhalla Knight's Breastplate, and provides decent offensive bonuses and damage reduction on top of that.|
|Solar Flare Helmet||Valhalla Knight's Breastplate||Stardust Leggings||Compared to full Solar Flare: gains 2 health/sec, 2 minions, 52% summon damage. Loses 22% melee damage and Solar Shield bonus. Viable alternative for hybrid summoners.|
|Solar Flare Helmet||Solar Flare Breastplate||Valhalla Knight's Greaves||Specialized entirely towards dealing melee damage. Hallowed Mask may be used as an alternative if using Zenith, which benefits from melee speed.|
|Vortex Helmet||Vortex Breastplate||Vortex Leggings||Immense DPS when stealthed, but only reaches full potential in multiplayer with other players acting as decoys due to its aggro-decreasing effect.|
|Vortex Helmet||Valhalla Knight's Breastplate||Vortex Leggings||Emphasizes survivability. Useful for battles of endurance. If going damage specific use a shroomite helmet.|
|Vortex Helmet||Red Riding Dress||Vortex Leggings||Maximizes total DPS without relying on stealth. If going damage specific use a shroomite helmet.|
|Nebula Helmet||Nebula Breastplate||Nebula Leggings||Provides immense damage and regeneration bonuses to yourself and your teammates.|
|Hallowed Headgear||Valhalla Knight's Breastplate||Dark Artist's Leggings||For use in multiplayer if you already have a teammate using Nebula armor.|
|Hallowed Headgear||Stardust Plate||Dark Artist's Leggings||Similar to the above, but specialized entirely towards dealing damage.|
|Spectre Hood||Spectre Robe||Spectre Pants||Mildly useful for pinch healing, but mostly outclassed. Technically, it still carries the highest healing potential (36/30 health per second).|
|Stardust Helmet||Stardust Plate||Stardust Leggings||Maximizes offensive capabilities.|
|Shinobi Infiltrator's Helmet||Valhalla Knight's Breastplate||Stardust Leggings||Sacrifices most of the Stardust set's raw offense, but gains survivability and 2 extra sentries. The best set for post-Lunar sentry builds.|