1.4.1 - is summoner finally viable? (2024)

Wall of text warning. TL-DR Summoner is hard to play, but is powerful and viable.

One of the number 1 complaints I see on Terraria is summoner as a class. People have been complaining since late 1.2 that the class as a whole is underwhelming, unviable or useless. Since then, summoners have recieved buff after buff in attempt to pull the class up, in the forms of new weapons to buffs to existing items to complete overhauls. Most notably, 1.4 added 14 new weapons for Summoner including the Whip subclass, however even after this, summoner had been considered quite underdeveloped.

Terraria 1.4.1 has been out for slightly over a month, 1.4.1.2 being only slightly newer. These patches contained massive buffs to Summoner - from buffing whips, to adding new prehardmode gear, to reevaluating existing items. Most notably are an overhaul to whips and the addition of new essential prehardmode stuff.
So, with all these changes, is summoner finally viable?

I’m gonna define viability as a combination of two things: solid progression that can be followed well, and overall power relative to Melee, Ranged or Magic.

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Progression wise, summoner is much better off than it was in even 1.4.1. Summoners are given a solid line of weapons and armors that are available and effective at each stage of the game. Preboss summoners now have access to Flinx gear, Wall of Flesh can be countered with the Spinal Tap and Vampire Frogs, the Mech Bosses can be taken down with the Blade Staff and the Durendal. Summoners also finally have solid accessory progression with Feral Claws and upgrades for whips and the Pygmy Necklace being available earlier on.

Summoner still has a problem with item scarcity - although there are solid weapons at every stage of progression, and some subpar weapons, there’s really only so many weapons. Someone at world evil tier will be almost guaranteed to use three items: Vampire Frogs, Snapthorn and Flinx Armor. Someone fighting Plantera will almost always have Durendal, Sanguine Staff and Hallowed Armor. Summoner has much fewer weapons in total than any other class - which is understandable, as minions are difficult to create - but also hurts it as a class.

Overall, I would say that summoner’s progression strength is *decent*. It’s not as robust as the other classes, and has weak spots in progression particularly around Empress tier, but it’s solid enough to where the average player can do a full summoner run if they know what items to use without struggling too much at any particular stage of progression.

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The much more debatable issue, that I still see people arguing about is this: is summoner powerful?

Personally, I say yes. Yes, summoner is powerful. It’s efficient at taking down hordes of enemies, the right mimions are powerful in DPS to a single boss, and it’s more effective than other classes in farming and similar situations. One thing I noticed over the course of a playthrough I ran after 1.4.1 dropped is that, when combined with whips, most minions were able to take down Hardmode Jungle or Dungeon enemies quite a bit more quickly than other classes. Against bosses, Summoners are able to pull phenominal DPS if you play well and get whip strikes in regularly.

Let’s look at a good build for Plantera - a Durendal, a set of Sanguines, and Hallowed Armor. With a summoner potion, bewitching table, and a Pygmy Necklace, you can have 7 minions out. Assuming you have Hallowed Armor and a very generous 3 of your accessories are Warding, each Sanguine should hit for 45 odd damage every 1.1 seconds. Your Sanguines should be pulling about 200 DPS on their own. Doesn’t sound like much when compared to a Megashark, but that’s not all. Add 9 damage from your Durendal, and each Sanguine now hits for 54. Add another 7-8 damage for ichor, and each Sanguine now hits for upwards of 62. Add the ~75 damage that your durendal should be hitting about twice a second, which is 150 DPS on its own, and you should be pulling as much as 500 DPS and more at times. With just regular things that you should have as a summoner. Add more offensive accessories, a Wrath Potion, or switch out for Spider Armor, and this goes up farther.

The other thing is that summoner has another trait that a surprisingly small amount of players consider - hybridization. Summoner is practically built for hybridizing - minions remain out and in full power even when you’re using something else. If a whip’s short range is too much of a detriment, you can use a Megashark instead - and although the Megashark will be weaker than with a Ranged build and pull less DPS than the whip tag bonus, it will still pull respectable power. There are also certain class sets like Forbidden or the Old One’s Army that offer weaker summoner bonuses in exchange for encouraging hybridizing.

The complaint I see often is that summoner struggles with survivability. The low range of whips (which, mind you, isn’t even that much higher than it was in 1.4) combined with the fact that Summoner has screw all in defense makes it very easy to die as a summoner. HOWEVER, this is made up for with surprising DPS. Look back at my Plantera example, or consider using Flinxes on the Eye or Xeno+Kaleidoscope on Fishron. You’ll see what I mean.

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With all this in mind, as well as my personal experience, I will come to the conclusion that summoner is not an easy class to play, but is very much viable.

Summoner has a very high skill cap, forcing you to be able to survive scary situations with little defense and next to no range, and paying off with mountains of damage and swift enemy or boss kills. You have to know what weapons to get and when, and usually just won’t pick up your powerful summon weapons on accident. It’s in no way easy to play - I couldn’t play this way for the longest time until 1.4 dropped and I got glued to the game again - but if you are dedicated with mastering the class, it becomes one of the best playthrough choices.

It’s like the opposite of Melee. Melee is very safe to use, with good range on a lot of weapons for some reason and great defense, making it very hard to kill a melee player. However, it trades off for some mediocre damage output.

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In conclusion, the answer is yes.

Summoner is, finally, viable.

It’s difficult to play, yes, but it’s also incredibly powerful for much of the game as compromise.

If anyone wants to add something or disagree with my conclusion, go ahead and say it. I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks on the class.

1.4.1 - is summoner finally viable? (2024)
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