Guide:Skeletron strategies

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This is a Guide page.
This means the page will walk you through a specific task, strategy, or enemy/boss fight.
Status: Revised (This Guide got revised and is up to date!)
Skeletron Trophy.png"The cursed guardian of the dungeon."Skeletron Trophy.png

Skeletron is a Pre-Hardmode Boss protecting the Dungeon. It's typically the last boss players will fight before the Wall of Flesh. Like any other boss fight in Terraria, defeating it is helped by preparing armor, buffs, and an arena. After this are some hints, tips, and strategies to help other players to do so.

SkeletronSkeletron Head
Skeletron Head.png
Map Icon Skeletron.png
Map Icon
Classic mode icon.png Classic
Expert mode icon.png Expert
Master mode icon.png Master
AI TypeHead AI
68 (Skull)

102 (Skull)

1000 (during the day)
Max Life4400/8800/11220
Defense1010+25 per hand alive
00+25 per hand alive (while spinning)
9999 (during the day)
KB Resist100%
Immune toPoisonedConfusedPenetratedTentacle SpikeBlood Butchered
Debuff tooltipCannot regenerate life
Duration6–10 7.5–12.5 
Coins5 GC12 GC50 SC
  • Skull
SkeletronSkeletron Hand
Skeletron Hand (NPC).pngOld-gen console version and Nintendo 3DS version
Classic mode icon.png Classic
Expert mode icon.png Expert
Master mode icon.png Master
Boss Part
AI TypeSkeletron Hand AI
Max Life600/1560/1989
KB Resist100%
Immune toPoisonedConfused
Debuff tooltipMovement speed is reduced
Duration1−2 1.5–2.5 

Spawn Condition

Skeletron can be spawned by fulfilling one of these conditions:

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

The Fight

Skeletron is a large skeleton, composed of a head and 2 hands. In order to defeat it, you must kill the head.

It attacks the player by swiping its hands. This attack is quite easy to predict, as it prepares them by pulling them back, so you can prepare to dodge them. However, the main issue is their erratic trajectory. The player can dodge them by either jumping or running around. It can use both hands to have different timings and trajectories, so the player 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 spinning attack. Skeletron moves slowly, but they constantly follow the player. During this attack, Skeletron's defense is lowered to zero, but gains more attack. The player should use the fastest weapon at their disposal to deal a lot of damage. However, make sure to constantly move; if the player gets hit by it, they might get stunlocked and take a lot of damage.

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 before 4:30 AM in-game will cause Skeletron to enrage. When enraged Skeletron acts just like the Dungeon GuardianDungeon Guardian; gaining extreme amounts of damage and defense, instantly killing players while only taking 1 or 2 damage from all attacks.

Expert Mode

Target Priorities

Skeletron's head has 60 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 inflict the SlowSlow debuff on 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. Skeletron's head also inflicts the bleedingbleeding debuff, disabling Health Regeneration

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.

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.


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.

A Blue Horseshoe BalloonBlue Horseshoe Balloon or its equivalents together with Lightning Boots can provide that mobility, together with the Shield of Cthulhu, or a Featherfall Potion.

It's easier to dodge the skulls of the second stage 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. The most effective way to dodge the skull attacks while remaining under the head of Skeletron is to run/dash left and right in quick and alternating succession.

While Skeletron is spinning, running in a straight line with your Boots isn't recommended as 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. Featherfall potions will allow players to stay in the air for much longer, making the circling much easier. If you do have a straight line prepared and you can take a few hits, it is very easy to inflict a lot of damage with a medium-ranged weapon like a yoyo with a string boost or a bow, as the player can land many shots in succession without needing to aim.

General Strategies

General Tips

This content is transcluded from Guide:Practical tips § Combat.

  • For nocturnal bosses, starting the battle just after the sun sets (7:30 PM) will provide the maximum amount of time to defeat the boss. In Hardmode, the Moon CharmMoon Charm and/or Moon StoneMoon Stone and their upgrades are also useful at night.
  • Boss battles can be won or lost before the battle ever starts. Choose your equipment and have it ready; find and/or make potions and placed buffs; use the highest-tier food you have available; set up an arena appropriate to the boss; learn the strategies for the boss you're facing.
  • Prepare your Boss-fighting arena with adequate lighting, CampfireCampfires and Heart LanternHeart Lanterns for health regeneration, and Star in a BottleStars in Bottles for mana regeneration if you use magic. Bast StatueBast Statues(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) will provide a significant defensive boost. Garden GnomeGarden Gnomes(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) and (Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) (if underground) proper torch placement will reduce damage taken and increase damage dealt due to the luck. The Torch God's Favor(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) helps with this. HoneyHoney pools can also be used for extra health regeneration.
  • (Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) SunflowerSunflowers provide the Happy!Happy!(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) buff to nearby players, which grants a +10% movement speed bonus and 17% reduction in enemy spawn rate.
  • Always carry around a stack of the highest-tier healing potion available, as relying only on natural Health Regeneration is not a good idea. Depending on the game stage, this can include items such as Lesser Healing PotionLesser Healing Potions or HoneyfinHoneyfins. On the Desktop version Desktop, Console version Console, and Mobile version Mobile versions, Restoration PotionRestoration Potions are healing potions with a shorter cooldown.
  • It is suggested to build houses for the DryadDryad and the NurseNurse NPCs in your arena. The former casts the Dryad's BlessingDryad's Blessing(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) 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 Silver Coincoins.
  • 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.
  • In Hardmode, the Brand of the InfernoBrand of the Inferno(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) and Sergeant United ShieldSergeant United Shield(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) can be used to parry incoming contact damage.
  • It may be useful to summon and kill the Eye of Cthulhu or King Slime before summoning any harder boss in order to spawn an extra one-use pool of Hearts. Note that this will prevent any Heart Statues from spawning new Hearts.
  • Remember to use the Sharpening StationSharpening Station(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions), Ammo BoxAmmo Box(Desktop, Console, Old-gen console and Mobile versions), Crystal BallCrystal Ball, Bewitching TableBewitching Table(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions), War TableWar Table(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions), and Slice of CakeSlice of Cake(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) before you go to explore or battle bosses/invasions. These will give boosts that are useful to have, with the first five being class-specific. They give SharpenedSharpened(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions), Ammo Box (buff)Ammo Box(Desktop, Console, Old-gen console and Mobile versions), ClairvoyanceClairvoyance, BewitchedBewitched(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions), StrategistStrategist(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions), and Sugar RushSugar Rush(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions), respectively.

Terrain Preparation

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.

Gearing up

It's recommended not to try to fight Skeletron without at least 300 Health, however on Expert mode 400 health is almost mandatory.


  • A full set of at least Shadow HelmetShadow Armor or Crimson HelmetCrimson Armor should be acquired as the player should have killed their evil boss, but armor for the player's weapon class is always an option.
  • The Fossil HelmetFossil Armor(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) is the only armor set available for rangers before the dungeon.
  • The Wizard HatWizard Set, with magic-boosting or defense-boosting leg armor, provides the most damage for magic users. If defense is preferred, Jungle HatJungle Armor or Meteor HelmetMeteor Armor can be used.
  • Obsidian Outlaw HatObsidian Armor(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) is the best summoner armor set at this point in the game which focuses on whip bonuses.
    • Bee HeadgearBee Armor(Desktop, Console, Old-gen console and Mobile versions) is an alternative set if Queen Bee has been defeated that focuses on minion bonuses.
  • Molten HelmetMolten Armor is the best pre-hardmode armor set for melee classes, although it requires a visit to the Underworld and a pickaxe that can mine Hellstone.


For Melee users:

  • Yoyos such as AmazonAmazon(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) are excellent against Skeletron, as they can deal high damage from a distance. Eliminating the hands first can be done very rapidly as the hands tend to push yoyos around, making additional contact and dealing more damage.
    • The Hive-FiveHive-Five(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) far outperforms the Code 1 and Amazon, but requires killing Queen Bee.
  • The StarfuryStarfury does excellent damage with the star projectile, as well as regular melee damage vs the hands.
  • The TerragrimTerragrim(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) can deal very high damage, but its short range makes it risky.
  • The VolcanoVolcano is a strong choice if the player has mined Hellstone. It isn't as risky as other broadswords due to its greater reach, has great damage output, and inflicts a debuff that may increase visibility as well as damage.
  • The Blade of GrassBlade of Grass might not dish out as much damage as some of the other swords around this point in progression, but because of its projectiles it's somewhat safer to use.
  • Boomerangs like the Thorn ChakramThorn Chakram work well but they are more effective when thrown past the Skull.
    • The FlamarangFlamarang is also available if the player has mined Hellstone, and is one of the best boomerangs available before Hardmode.
  • Flails can work due to their long range and ability to hit both the arms and head with a single attack. The only viable flails available at this point are the Ball O' HurtBall O' Hurt and The MeatballThe Meatball.

For Ranged users:

  • The Bee's KneesThe Bee's Knees(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) is a great choice as the Bees can deal massive damage, especially during Skeletron's spinning attack.
  • The Pew-matic HornPew-matic Horn(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) is one of the strongest guns available in pre-Hardmode, and works well vs Skeletron.
  • The Demon BowDemon and Tendon BowTendon Bow are the most accessible Bows at this stage. Use them with Frostburn ArrowFrostburn Arrows and Jester's ArrowJester's Arrows.
  • The Blood Rain BowBlood Rain Bow(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) can be used in some arena setups to deal damage while protected from flying skulls in Expert Mode, but otherwise deals relatively low damage.
  • The MinisharkMinishark, the MusketMusket and the BoomstickBoomstick are very effective against Skeletron.
    • The MinisharkMinishark may prove ineffective without a Shark Tooth NecklaceShark Tooth Necklace(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) as Skeletron's defense when it isn't spinning renders the Minishark almost useless.
  • Bone JavelinBone Javelins(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) are very effective due to their high damage and firing speed.
  • Molotov CocktailMolotov Cocktails(Desktop, Console, Old-gen console and Mobile versions) can be used to deal large amounts of damage to Skeletron.
  • BeenadeBeenades can be used to deal damage without needing to aim.
  • The Star CannonStar Cannon is the most powerful weapon in pre-Hardmode, limited only by its scarce ammunition.

For Magic users:

  • Using a Space GunSpace Gun with Meteor Armor frees mages from the constraints of Mana and deals reasonable damage.
    • The Gray ZapinatorGray Zapinator(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) is stronger than the Space Gun, and benefits from the Meteor Armor's set bonus as well. Its only downside is its limited availability from the Traveling Merchant.
  • The Bee GunBee Gun, dropped by Queen Bee, does steady damage, especially with the Hive Pack equipped. Its main attraction is that it requires no aiming at all, allowing the player to focus on dodging.
  • If the player is lucky to get one in Old-gen console version Old-gen console version and Nintendo 3DSNintendo 3DS version version , the Water BoltWater Bolt is an excellent choice.
  • The Ruby StaffRuby and Diamond StaffDiamond Staves can be effective, requiring very little mana while dealing decent damage. The Thunder ZapperThunder Zapper(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) deals similar damage but is more difficult to obtain.
  • 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.
  • The Weather PainWeather Pain(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions), dropped by Deerclops, is a powerful homing magic weapon that can make short work of the hands in the first phase. Because it makes one lingering projectile at a time, it can be used in conjunction with other weapons.

For Summoners:

  • The SnapthornSnapthorn(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) is the best whip available.
  • The Vampire Frog StaffVampire Frog Staff(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions), from the Blood Moon, and Imp StaffImp Staff(Desktop, Console, Old-gen console and Mobile versions), from the Underworld, are the strongest minions available. The Frogs deal high damage but may require additional platforms to reach Skeletron, while the imps can fly and aim well but may occasionally interfere with each other due to i-frames.
  • The Hornet StaffHornet Staff(Desktop, Console, Old-gen console and Mobile versions), dropped by Queen Bee, can do well when paired with Whips and the Hive Pack, but have difficulty overcoming Skeletron's defense on their own.
  • The strongest sentry available is Houndius ShootiusHoundius Shootius(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions). The Ballista RodBallista Rod(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) or Flameburst RodFlameburst Rod(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) are also helpful alternatives.


  • Spectre BootsSpectre Boots, Lightning BootsLightning Boots, Frostspark BootsFrostspark Boots, or Terraspark BootsTerraspark Boots(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) are very useful for their hover effect and running speed.
  • The Cloud in a BottleCloud in a Bottle or any of its upgrades and their counterparts are recommended, especially on Expert mode. If you went fishing in the sky lake then you may have Fledgling Wings as a replacement.
  • The Amber Horseshoe BalloonAmber Horseshoe Balloon(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) behaves similarly to Fledgling Wings, (Desktop, Console and Mobile versions)with the added benefit of receiving the Honey buff whenever you are struck as well as helpful bees.
  • The Shield of CthulhuShield of Cthulhu(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) is extremely useful for the Expert Mode fight, as the dash makes dodging the skulls and the spin attack much easier.
  • The Shark Tooth NecklaceShark Tooth Necklace(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) and/or Stinger NecklaceStinger Necklace(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) can significantly increase damage output, especially when using weapons with high attack speed.
  • The Hive PackHive Pack(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) gives a boost to the damage and velocity of some of the bees spawned by Queen Bee's drops.
  • Worm ScarfWorm Scarf(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) and Brain of ConfusionBrain of Confusion(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) reduce damage taken, making them invaluable for Expert and Master Mode.



  • The Slimy SaddleSlimy Saddle(Desktop, Console, Old-gen console and Mobile versions) helps with dodging and it can also be used to escape the spin attack. The Honeyed GogglesHoneyed Goggles(Desktop, Console, Old-gen console and Mobile versions) can be used for a similar purpose with its flight.
  • A good Grappling HookGrappling Hook is also useful for enabling sudden bursts of movement.

Specific Strategies

Minecart Strategy

Diamond Minecart Track

An alternative to high-maneuverability armor or accessories which can even work against Expert mode Skeletron is to craft a MinecartMinecart for the extra speed and build a large, diamond-shaped Minecart TrackMinecart 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 90-100 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.

Circle Strategy (Expert/Master)

Mobility and damage matter the most in these modes.

Near the dungeon, make two or three long rows of platforms, about one screen high and two screens wide. Use a horseshoe balloon and Spectre Boots or Lightning Boots, a combination that is essentially like wings in pre-hardmode. Featherfall Potion is also a plus. The Shield of Cthulhu is the last essential accessory. An optional item is the Umbrella if you can obtain it.

During the fight, use your platforms to move in circles around Skeletron, flying over and around him and running underneath. The Shield of Cthulhu will allow you to dash away from the skull and accelerate instantly.

The Bee's Knees and Bee Gun with the Hive Pack are especially effective weapons, as accuracy is not as important with these weapons. The Space Gun is another effective alternative.

Using this method, just keep circling and attacking the hands; once the skulls start shooting, you will still be circling and dodging will still be easy.

  1. 1.0 1.1 Information taken from the Desktop version Desktop source code, AI() in Terraria.NPC.cs. The relevant part is the aiStyle == 11 block.