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Guide:Skeletron strategies

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Skeletron Trophy.png "The cursed guardian of the dungeon..." Skeletron Trophy.png

Skeletron is a Pre-Hardmode Boss guarding the Dungeon. It's big, tough, hard to dodge, and can seriously ruin your evening many times over. Like any other daunting task in Terraria, defeating it is largely about smart preparation. Following are some hints, tips, and strategies to help you do so.

SkeletronSkeletron Head
Skeletron Head.png
Statistics
TypeBoss
EnvironmentSurface
AI TypeHead AI
Damage32 / 70
9999 (during day)
Max Life4400 / 8800
Defense10 / 100 (if hands aren't killed)
0 (while spinning)
9999 (during day)
KB Resist100%
Inflicts debuffBleedingBleeding
100% chance

Debuff duration3-5 seconds / 6-10 seconds
Debuff tooltipCannot regenerate life
Immune toPoisonedOn Fire!ConfusedCursed InfernoVenomShadowflamePenetratedCelledDaybroken
Drops
Coins 5 Gold Coin
Map Icon Skeletron.png
Map Icon
SkeletronSkeletron Hand
Skeletron Hand (NPC).png
Statistics
TypeBoss Part
EnvironmentSurface
AI TypeSkeletron Hand AI
Damage20 / 44
Max Life600 / 1560
Defense14
KB Resist100%
Inflicts debuffSlowSlow
50% chance

Debuff duration0.5-1 seconds
Debuff tooltipMovement speed is reduced
Immune toPoisonedOn Fire!ConfusedCursed InfernoVenomShadowflame

Spawn Condition[edit | edit source]

Skeletron can be spawned by fulfilling one of these conditions:

It must then be defeated before all the involved players die.

The Fight[edit | edit source]

Skeletron is a large skeleton, composed by a Skull and 2 Arms. In order to defeat it, you must kill the Skull.

It attacks the player mostly by swiping its hands. This attack is quite easy to predict, as it prepares them by lunging them backward, so you can prepare to dodge them. However, the main issue is their erratic trajectory. You can dodge them by either jumping or running around. It can use both hands to have different timings and trajectories, so you might get caught off-guard by trying to dodge its other hand.

Timing is key in order to defend from the hands: after dodging them, use your piercing weapons to deal damage to both arms (and Skeletron's skull, if it happens to align with them). The arms don't have much health, so they can be detached fairly easily.

After some time, Skeletron will use its signature spinning attack. It's slow, but it always homes at you. During this attack, which lasts for quite a bit, it is the most vulnerable; it increases the power of the attack but loses all its defense. As such, use the fastest weapon at your disposal to deal a lot of damage. However, make sure to constantly move; if you get hit by it, you take a lot of damage and you get BleedingBleeding debuff, which stops Health Regeneration.

During the spin attack, the hands will stay fixed in a uphanded position while Skeletron moves. You can also use this time to deal damage to them, but keep in mind that their defense isn't reduced.

Failing to defeat it till daybreak will make Skeletron permanently spin at you, just like Dungeon Guardian; it will gain extreme amounts of damage and defense, one-shotting players while only taking 1 or 2 damage from any attack.

Expert Mode[edit | edit source]

Skeletron's head has a massive 100 defense until one of its hands go down. This means that almost every weapon at that point will not do more than 1 damage without a critical hit. As such, you're forced to detach the arms from it in order to progress. Moreover, the hands can Slow you, and its spin attack is much faster than in Normal Mode. After one of the arms goes down, Skeletron gains the ability to shoot skulls with a small homing effect when it's not spinning. The frequency of this attack increases as its health goes down and when the other arm falls.

At the beginning of the fight, the arms must be prioritized first, as the Head will barely take any damage with its massive defense. Their attacks have a 50% chance to briefly apply the Slow debuff, which can greatly slow down a player, even if just for a second.

Because of the player's lack of knockback immunity, getting hit by the spin attack can result on a death even at full health due to its massive damage and speed, so the player needs high mobility to avoid it at all costs.

It is recommended to kill both hands at the same time, to minimize the amount of time Skeletron spends attacking with homing skulls alongside its remaining hand.

After a limb is defeated, the fight gets harder because of the skulls he fires. It's easier to dodge the skulls while Skeletron remains above the player, since they can be dodged like Queen Bee's stingers with a little curve. However, this could make the spin attack connect more easily if the player isn't careful, as the head will stand closer to them.

While Skeletron is spinning, running in a straight line with your Boots isn't recommended: it starts firing the skulls as soon as the attack is completed, so the player will most likely get hit by one of them. Because of this, moving in circles using the hover effect and/or double jumps is much safer.

General Strategies[edit | edit source]

General Tips[edit | edit source]

This content is transcluded from Guide:Practical Tips#Combat.

  • It is suggested to build houses for the DryadDryad and the NurseNurse NPCs in your arena. The former casts the Dryad's BlessingDryad's BlessingDesktop VersionConsole Version buff, which increases your defense and provides you with a thorns-like effect, while the latter can heal and remove debuffs instantly, at the cost of some coinscoins.
  • Bosses are displayed on the Minimap: Follow the boss's icon to track it when you're struggling to find it. You can identify the boss icons by checking their respective wiki pages.
  • Once you have freed the MechanicMechanic in the Dungeon, you can use WireWire to enhance your arena with TrapsTraps and helpful HeartHeart and Star StatuesStar Statues. The former help to damage the enemies, though be careful to set them up correctly in order not to hurt yourself during the battle. The latter will spawn heart and star pickups, respectively. Connect these devices to timerstimers.
  • It may be useful to summon and kill the Eye of Cthulhu before summoning any harder boss in order to spawn an extra one-use pool of hearts.
  • Remember to use the Sharpening StationSharpening StationDesktop VersionConsole Version, Ammo BoxAmmo BoxDesktop VersionConsole VersionOld-gen console versionMobile Version, Crystal BallCrystal Ball, and Bewitching TableBewitching TableDesktop VersionConsole Version before you go to explore or battle Bosses / Invasions. These will give class-specific boosts that are useful to take. They respectively give SharpenedSharpenedDesktop VersionConsole Version, Ammo BoxAmmo BoxDesktop VersionConsole VersionOld-gen console versionMobile Version, ClairvoyanceClairvoyance, and BewitchedBewitchedDesktop VersionConsole Version.

Terrain Preparation[edit | edit source]

The entrance to the Dungeon can be easily adapted into an arena.

Warning: Don't make significant edits to the dungeon floor. Doing so can stop the Endgame Cultists from spawning, potentially blocking progression. Plan your arena above the Dungeon roof instead.

The entrance area to most dungeons can often be modified into a more desirable arena if needed. Most important is that you have room to dodge the hands, as well as enough vertical space to avoid getting trapped when Skeletron's head begins to spin.

A simple, effective, but time-consuming approach is to build a Sky Bridge with Minecart Tracks. Then spawn Skeletron, hop in your Minecart, and speed away. Skeletron will chase after you but will not catch you, making it easy to kill with ranged attacks.

Gearing up[edit | edit source]

It's recommended to try to fight Skeletron with at least 300 Health, however on Expert mode 400 health is almost mandatory.

Armor[edit | edit source]

The best armor available before the fight is Shadow or Crimson armors, because of their high defense, great speed with the former or better regeneration with the latter. Molten Armor is available if the player chose to mine Hellstone before entering the Dungeon.

Magic users however, should use the Wizard set due to its massive offensive stats, surpassing both Jungle and Meteor armors. A summoner's only choice is the Bee armor.

Throwers should definitely use the Fossil armor.

Weapons[edit | edit source]

For Melee users:

  • Yo-yosYo-yosDesktop VersionConsole Version such as AmazonAmazonDesktop VersionConsole Versionare excellent against Skeletron, as they can be directed easily to the target and held there for rapid repeated damage. Eliminating the hands first can be done very rapidly with a yoyo as the hands tend to push them around, making additional contact with the weapon.
  • The ArkhalisArkhalisDesktop VersionConsole Version does very high damage against him provided the player has obtained it, however it isn't recommended on Expert mode.
  • BoomerangsBoomerangs like the Thorn ChakramThorn Chakram work well but they are more effective when throwing past the Skull.
    • The FlamarangFlamarang is also available if the player has mined Hellstone already.
  • Flails can work due to their long range and ability to hit both the arms and the head with a single attack. The only ones available at this point are the Ball O' HurtBall O' Hurt or The MeatballThe Meatball.

For Ranged users:

For Magic users:

  • Using a Space GunSpace Gun with Meteor Armor frees you from the constraints of Mana and deals reasonable damage.
  • If the player is lucky to get one, the Water BoltWater Bolt is an excellent choice.
  • The RubyRuby and Diamond StavesDiamond Staves can be effective, requiring very little mana while dealing decent damage.
  • The Crimson RodCrimson Rod is also a very effective method of damaging Skeletron, even allowing it to be used in combination with other weapons. If carefully placed, the cloud created by the rod can cause 100 damage per second. However it will only be available in a Crimson world.

For Throwing users:

  • Bone JavelinsBone JavelinsDesktop VersionConsole Version are some of the best weapons available, due to their high damage and firing speed.
  • Molotov CocktailsMolotov CocktailsDesktop VersionConsole VersionOld-gen console versionMobile Version can be used to devastating effect on Skeletron.
  • BeenadesBeenades are useful for the fight, thanks to the homing bees that it releases. This makes dealing damage almost automatic without much need to aim.
  • GrenadesGrenades can also be effective.

For Summoners:

  • The Hornet StaffHornet StaffDesktop VersionConsole VersionOld-gen console versionMobile Version is the only weapon available, unless the player has already gotten the Imp Staff from the Underworld. Fighting with Hornets alone is not recommended.

Accessories[edit | edit source]

  • Spectre or Lightning Boots are very useful for their hover effect and running speed.
  • The Cloud in a Bottle or in a Balloon and their counterparts are recommended, especially on Expert mode.
  • The Shield of Cthulhu is extremely useful for the Expert Mode fight, as the dash makes dodging the skulls and the spin attack much easier.
  • The Shark Tooth Necklace can significantly increase damage output, especially when using weapons with high attack speed.
  • The Hive Pack gives a boost to the damage and velocity of some of the bees spawned by Queen Bee's drops.
  • Worm Scarf reduces damage taken, making it invaluable for the Expert mode fight.

Potions[edit | edit source]

Others[edit | edit source]

  • The Slimy Saddle helps with dodging and it can also be used to escape the spin attack. The Honeyed GogglesHoneyed Goggles can be used for a similar purpose.
  • A good grappling hook is also useful for enabling sudden bursts of movement.

Specific Strategies[edit | edit source]

Minecart Strategy[edit | edit source]

Diamond Minecart Track

An alternative to high-maneuverability armor or accessories which can even work against Expert mode Skeletron is to craft a Minecart for the extra speed and build a large, diamond-shaped Minecart Track, such as one having in the middle on each side three Minecart Tracks with a Bumper on the outer end, and the inner end connects using a switch track to two diagonal tracks, with both connected and the preferred direction up on one side and down on the other, and with a total width of roughly 100-120 blocks. After the Skeletron battle begins, mount the Minecart and accelerate to maximum Minecart speed. While collisions can occasionally occur, they should be uncommon enough that healing will not be a problem. Using attacks at range is highly preferred, though unlike a Hoik system, a Minecart might not move fast enough to allow a boomerang to do all of the work as in some Dungeon Guardian strategies. If using pre-Hardmode weapons, the Molten Fury with Frostburn Arrows is highly recommended.

If using the Minecart strategy and for whatever reason the battle lasts until dawn, the Dungeon Guardian A.I. will actually cause the Skeletron head to follow you at such a slow and steady pace that it should never catch up. In such a case, however, you will take fatal damage from contact and deal 1 damage with every landed attack, or 2 from critical hits, causing fast attacks at range to become essential (such as the Space Gun with the full set of Meteor armor); thus, having a set of accessories with critical chance modifiers becomes far more important than damage, defense, or mobility, should it come to this.