Skeletron is a Pre-Hardmode Boss protecting 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.
|AI Type||Head AI|
1000 (during the day)
|Defense||1010+25 per hand alive|
00+25 per hand alive (while spinning)
9999 (during the day)
|Debuff tooltip||Cannot regenerate life|
|Entering spinning phase|
|AI Type||Skeletron Hand AI|
|Debuff tooltip||Movement speed is reduced|
- 1 Spawn Condition
- 2 The Fight
- 3 General Strategies
- 4 Specific Strategies
Skeletron can be spawned by fulfilling one of these conditions:
- Talk with Old Man at night. He can be found at the Dungeon entrance;
- Kill Clothier at night, with Clothier Voodoo Doll.
It must then be defeated before all the involved players die.
Skeletron is a large skeleton, composed of 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 constantly homes towards 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 Bleeding 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 before daybreak will make Skeletron permanently spin at you, just like Dungeon Guardian; it will gain extreme amounts of damage and defense, one-shotting most players while only taking 1 or 2 damage from all attacks.
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 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.
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.
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: 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 you 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 you can land many shots in succession without needing to aim.
This content is transcluded from Guide:Practical tips § Combat.
- Starting the battle just after the sun sets (7:30 PM) will provide the maximum amount of time to defeat nocturnal bosses. In Hardmode, the Moon Charm and/or Moon Stone and their upgrades are also useful at night.
- Prepare your Boss-fighting arena with adequate lighting, Campfires and Heart Lanterns for health regeneration, and Stars in Bottles for mana regeneration if you use magic. Bast Statues will provide a significant defensive boost. Garden Gnomes and (if underground) proper torch placement will reduce damage taken and increase damage dealt due to the luck. Note Torch God's Favor helps with this. Honey pools can also be used for extra health regeneration.
- Sunflowers 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 carry around one stack of the highest-tier healing potion available (Lesser, Normal, Greater, or Super Healing Potions). Relying only on natural Health Regeneration is not a good idea.
- It is suggested to build houses for the Dryad and the Nurse NPCs in your arena. The former casts the Dryad's Blessing 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 coins.
- 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.
- 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 Station, Ammo Box, Crystal Ball, Bewitching Table, and Slice of Cake before you go to explore or battle bosses/invasions. These will give boosts that are useful to take, with the first four being class-specific. They give Sharpened, Ammo Box, Clairvoyance, Bewitched, and Sugar Rush, respectively.
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.
It's recommended not to try to fight Skeletron without at least 300 Health,(15 hearts) however on Expert mode 400 health is almost mandatory.
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.
Rangers on the version may want to use Necro armor, since skeletons drop bones.
For Melee users:
- Yo-yos such as Amazonare 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 Arkhalis/Terragrim does very high damage against him provided the player has obtained it, however it isn't recommended on Expert mode.
- Boomerangs like the Thorn Chakram work well but they are more effective when throwing past the Skull.
- The Flamarang 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' Hurt, The Meatball, Mace, or Flaming Mace.
For Ranged users:
- Demon/Tendon Bow are the most accessible Bows at this stage. Use them with Frostburn Arrows and Jester's Arrows.
- The Molten Fury is very strong if the player has already gotten Hellstone.
- The Bee's Knees is a great choice as the Bees can deal massive damage, especially during Skeletron's spinning attack.
- the Blood Rain Bow is also strong as it is pretty much an underpowered, pre hardmode daedalus stormbow. it may not be the best choice though.
- The Minishark and the Boomstick are very effective against Skeletron.
- Bone Javelins are some of the best weapons available, due to their high damage and firing speed.
- Molotov Cocktails can be used for a devastating effect on Skeletron.
- Beenades are useful for the fight, thanks to the homing bees that it releases. This makes dealing damage almost automatic without much need to aim.
- Grenades can also be effective.
- The Star Cannon is the most effective, the player must have obtained Meteorite though.
For Magic users:
- Using a Space Gun with Meteor Armor frees you from the constraints of Mana and deals reasonable damage.
- The Gray Zapinator 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 Travelling Merchant.
- If the player is lucky to get one in Console version, Old-gen console version, and version , the Water Bolt is an excellent choice.
- The Ruby and Diamond Staves can be effective, requiring very little mana while dealing decent damage.
- The Crimson 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 Hornet Staff and the Snapthorn are the only viable weapons available, unless the player has already gotten the Imp Staff from the Underworld. Fighting with Hornets alone is not recommended.
- Its also recommended in harder difficulties that you bring a backup items. like Grenades to maximize your chance of success.
- Spectre Boots, Lightning Boots, or Terraspark Boots are very useful for their hover effect and running speed.
- The Cloud 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 Balloon behaves similarly to Fledgling Wings, with the added benefit of receiving the Honey buff whenever you are struck as well as helpful bees.
- 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 and/or Stinger 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 and Brain of Confusion on the Desktop version and Mobile version reduce damage taken, making them invaluable for Expert and Master Mode.
- Ironskin Potions, Endurance Potions and Regeneration Potions will make the job easier for any player and are highly recommended. Two potions will last for the entire night, provided the player stays alive the entire time.
- The Swiftness Potion helps for outrunning the spinning attack.
- Mana Regeneration Potion is mandatory for magic users. Magic Power Potions is also helpful.
- If you're using a melee weapon, Ale/Sake provides a decent boost.
- Any food item that grants the Well Fed /Exquisitely Stuffed buff is very helpful, especially on Expert mode since it will bring regeneration back to normal.
- An Archery Potion gives a very good damage and velocity bonus to bows.
- Wrath Potions and Rage Potions also increase damage output.
- Featherfall Potions can aid your air mobility and give you basic flying abilities.
- Summoners should use Summoning Potions. If they will use re-summon strategy, Mana Regeneration Potion is also recommended.
- The Slimy Saddle helps with dodging and it can also be used to escape the spin attack. The Honeyed Goggles can be used for a similar purpose with its flight.
- A good Grappling Hook is also useful for enabling sudden bursts of movement.
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 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.
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.
Explosive Bunny Strategy (Any Difficulty) 
This strategy only works on the Desktop and Mobile versions of Terraria.
Although this is quite cheesy, this strategy will one-shot Skeletron the moment he spawns if done correctly.
First, trap the Old Man in a box with an inner area of 2x3 blocks so he can't move from his spot. Then, right on top of it, build a second box with an inner area of 2x3 tiles, but leave the top open. Finally, fill the top box with 50 Explosive Bunnies, then jump out of it and make a roof for the box to prevent mobs from killing the bunnies. The finished contraption should look like the image on the right.
When the setup is complete, simply speak to the Old Man and summon Skeletron. If done properly, he should spawn right on top of the explosive bunnies and die instantly, even on Master mode. This also works on multiplayer. (Master Mode requires over 64 Explosive Bunnies.)