Guide:Skeletron strategies

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SkeletronSkeletron Head
Skeletron Head.png
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
Coins 5 Gold Coin
Map Icon Skeletron.png
Map Icon

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.

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 skull, composed by a Skull and 2 Arms. In order to defeat it, you must kill the Skull.

He 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 trajectory, as it's very erratic. You can dodge them by either jumping or running around. He can use both hands to have different timings and trajectories, so you might get off-guard by trying to dodge his other hand.

Timing is key in order to defend from hands: after dodging them, use your piercing weapons to deal damage to both arms (and Skeletron's Skull, if he happens to align with them). The arms don't have much health, so they can be detached fairly easily. However, be mindful that, even if Skeletron has no time limit, when daytime comes, he permanently spins against you. As such, it's important to prioritize the Skull if you can consistently dodge the arm swipes, rather than detaching them.

After some time, Skeletron will use his trademarked spin attack. It's slow, but it always hones at you. During this attack, which lasts for quite a bit, he is the most vulnerable; he increases the power of the attack by sacrificing defense. As such, use your strongest 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 hands, but keep in mind that their defense aren't reduced.

Failing to defeat it till daybreak will make Skeletron permanently spin at you, just like Dungeon Guardian; it will increase defense and attack to the point where you get one-shot.

Expert Mode[edit | edit source]

The fight is separated in 2 phases:

  • During the First Phase, Skeletron can't be damaged. As such, you're forced to detach the Arms from it in order to progress. Moreover, hands can SlowSlow you;
  • During the Second Phase, Skeletron will get faster. It will start to shoot homing skulls at you. Moreover, the spin attack will be also much faster, to the point where it can outrun you. Skulls are very fast, but they turn very slowly. Make sure to dodge both the skulls and the spin attack by using enchanting your movement with, be that you use your Grappling HookGrappling Hook, or running as fast as possible, and remember that if you get hit, you lose your momentum; thus you get constantly hit for heavy damage.

General Strategies[edit | edit source]

General Tips[edit | edit source]

  • Starting the battle as soon as the sun sets (at 7:30 p.m.) will provide the maximum amount of time to defeat nocturnal bosses.
  • Prepare your Boss-fighting arena with adequate lighting, CampfiresCampfires and Heart LanternsHeart Lanterns for health regeneration, and Star in a BottlesStar in a Bottles for mana regeneration if you use magic.
  • Desktop VersionConsole Version SunflowersSunflowers provide the Happy! buff to players within a 50-tile radius, which grants a +10% movement speed bonus and 17% reduction in enemy spawn rate.
  • Always bring with you at least one stack of LesserLesser, NormalNormal, GreaterGreater or Super Healing PotionsSuper Healing PotionsDesktop VersionConsole Version before doing anything: relying only on natural Health Regeneration is not a good idea.
  • 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]

Warning: Don't make significant edits to the dungeon floor. Doing so will stop the Endgame Cultists to spawn, potentially blocking progression if the old man can spawn than the Endgame Cultists [1]can too.

The arena doesn't matter as much as it does in the other boss fights, but it can still be important. A large, flat surface with enough room to maneuver is key.

A fairly straightforward and common practice is to simply flatten out the roof of the dungeon and fight Skeletron there. A ceiling is mostly unnecessary and tends to get in the way of many attacks, especially if you are planning to use a BowBow.

Note: Ricocheting weapons, such as the Bee's KneesBee's Knees, can make use of the ceiling efficiently. Always suit your arena by making full use of your gear.

Platforms may be used with decent effect, but keep in mind that they take time to drop through when dodging and too many platforms can interfere with attacks depending on the weapons used. Having multiple rows of platforms whilst having any items which allow flight can, however, be useful for dodging Skeletron's homing skulls in Expert mode as it allows much greater maneuverability to dodge his attacks.

Gearing up[edit | edit source]

It's recommended to try to fight Skeletron with at least 300 Health.

Armor[edit | edit source]

The more Defense you have, the better. You should use the best armor available to you at the time, but if the best you have is Silver armor or lower then you should seriously consider holding off and continuing the fight later with better defenses. Gold/Platinum armor or better is highly preferred. If you are having trouble finding enough ore, a Spelunker Potion can help immensely. If your armor is far ahead of your weapons then you can sacrifice power in favor of survivability, however you still have a time limit to defeat Skeletron.

Weapons[edit | edit source]

All classes are equal against Skeletron, so use your most preferred gear as per below.

For Melee users:

  • FlailsFlails are reasonable weapons, however only the Ball O' HurtBall O' Hurt and The MeatballThe Meatball can be obtained at this point.
  • Yo-yosYo-yosDesktop VersionConsole Version are 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.
  • Many swords above 20 damage and at or above fast speed, such as PhasebladePhaseblade and Blade of GrassBlade of Grass, are useful as well.
  • BoomerangsBoomerangs works well but it's more effective when throwing past the Skull.
    • If you feel to challenge the Underground Jungle, you can use the Thorn ChakramThorn Chakram against Skeletron, however it cannot poison since Skeletron is immune to poison.

For Ranged users:

  • DemonDemon/Tendon BowTendon Bow are the most accessible Bows at this stage. Use them with Frostburn ArrowsFrostburn Arrows and Jester's ArrowsJester's Arrows.
  • The MinisharkMinishark is great, but it's expensive to get one.
  • The BoomstickBoomstick is an excellent weapon for defeating Skeletron. However, you might need to try to be within Melee range to consistently do full damage against it.

For Magic users:

  • Using a Space GunSpace Gun with Meteor Armor frees you from the constraints of Mana and deals decent damage.
  • Bee GunBee Gun, despite it's low damage, is extremely effective, due to its homing bees.
  • StavesStaves can also be very effective such as the Ruby and Diamond Staff, requiring very little mana, while dealing significant 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:

  • Spiky BallsSpiky Balls work great when spread around the Dungeon entrance, and when Skeletron spins.
  • ShurikensShurikens and Throwing KnivesThrowing Knives work well against Skeletron's head when it is spinning, but their low damage make them less useful against Skeletron's hands or Skeletron's head when it isn't spinning.
  • Molotov CocktailsMolotov CocktailsDesktop VersionConsole VersionOld-gen console versionMobile Version can be used to devastating effect on Skeletron.
  • BeenadeBeenade can be useful for the fight, thanks to the homing bees that it releases. This makes dealing damage almost automatic without much need to aim.
  • If you have Fossil armor, Bone JavelinBone JavelinDesktop VersionConsole Version are very effective. Use them when the head spins.

For Summoners:

  • At this point in the game, there is very little summoning equipment available. Because of this you may wish to play a different class.
  • Or, if you decided to brave the Underground Jungle first, you can use your first viable summoning weapon, which is the Hornet StaffHornet StaffDesktop VersionConsole VersionOld-gen console versionMobile Version.

Accessories[edit | edit source]

The Rocket Boots, Cloud in a Bottle, Sandstorm in a Bottle, and Shiny Red Balloon are excellent choices for your first fight, as they'll give you vertical mobility. Hermes Boots and/or the Anklet of the Wind are also good choices, giving you more horizontal maneuverability. If you still have free slots, Feral Claws (for melee users) and the Band of Regeneration are great choices too. In Expert mode, it is recommended to that all of your accessories are reforged with Warding for maximum defense. You should also use the Shield of Cthulhu to dodge his attacks and the Worm Scarf to absorb more damage.

Potions[edit | edit source]

Specific Strategies[edit | edit source]

Minecart Strategy[edit | edit source]

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 ranged 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.

Other Tips[edit | edit source]

  • If you can find a Water Bolt on a "shelf" around the entrance, it can be used very effectively inside the initial large room, due to the fact that it can bounce off of walls multiple times and deal decent damage.

Farming[edit | edit source]

Skeletron is much easier to beat once you've got access to Dungeon loot. If you must defeat it on a new world, all of the above strategies can still apply: It's simply easier the next time around. You can also summon Skeletron by killing the Clothier after you obtained the Clothier Voodoo Doll. Because the Clothier will simply respawn the next day, this is an easy way to obtain the rare items or get some additional money.