In the early stages of the game, your selection of gear is pretty limited. While many more armor sets and weapons will be unlocked later on, you’ll need to know what the best pre-hard mode gear is.
It’s important to note that the effectiveness of the gear is based on what type of build you’re going for. One weapon might not be the best until you pair it with class-related accessories.
Best Melee Weapons and Armor
Melee is an awesome class for dealing with most enemies in the game but becomes more difficult when it comes to bosses. In particular, the Wall of Flesh is difficult to defeat with melee due to the fact that he constantly is moving.
1. Molten Armor
|25||17% extra melee damage|
This set of melee armor is the set that will carry you into hardmode. It has the best defense of any early-game armor and is probably the most difficult to obtain.
It emits some cool-looking fire particles and is just a cool-looking armor set in general. You don’t end up using it for very long, as hardmode allows you to get many more sets that are better than this. If melee is your style, then you need this armor before hardmode.
How to get it: You can craft this armor by creating 45 Hellstone Bars at an anvil. In total, this set requires 135 Hellstone and 45 obsidian, which you then smelt into bars at a Hellforge.
The most difficult part is mining the Hellstone, which spawns lava when you mine it. Also, many Hellstone ore veins are under the lava, so you may need a lot of Obsidian Skin potions to protect you from the heat.
The Arkhalis is a very rare hardmode weapon that has a very small chance of spawning in your world. When you use it, it auto swings in continuous slashes, doing a large amount of damage to enemies that get caught in the swings.
The damage might not be as good as the Night’s Edge, but the auto-swing makes up for it. If you manage to get a hold of an Arkhalis, pre-hardmode will get even easier.
How to get it: You must locate a sword shrine underground. To locate these shrines, you’ll need to find a single block-wide shaft that descends straight down. At the bottom of the shaft is a hollow area with a breakable sword shrine in the middle.
Each sword shrine has a 33% chance of being a fake sword, which is indicated by the sword appearing wooden in the shrine. If the sword appears blue, then it’s a real sword. The only thing is, there’s only a 10% chance of getting an Arkhalis. 90% of the time you’ll get an Enchanted Sword, which shoots beams.
3. Night’s Edge
If you’re looking for a weapon that will carry you into hardmode, then this is the sword for you! It’s the best sword in all of pre-hardmode in terms of damage, so you definitely want to craft one of these.
How to get it: This sword has a very unique crafting requirement. What you’ll need is a Light’s Bane (Corruption) or Blood Butcherer (Crimson), Marumasa, Blade of Grass, and a Fiery Greatsword. Take all of these weapons and combine them at a Demon/Crimson Alter and you’ll have yourself a very powerful weapon.
Best Ranged Weapons and Armor
Ranged weapons are my personal favorites, as you can attack enemies without getting close to them. Not only is there a huge variety of weapons, but there are also a ton of bullets and accessories to modify your weapons.
There are many more weapons than the few I list here, but these are the weapons that many people in the Terraria community consider to be the best pre-hardmode ranged weapons.
1. Necro Armor
|16||20% chance not to consume ammo|
There is really only one ranged set of armor pre-hardmode, and that’s the Necro Armor. You are unable to craft one until you’ve beaten Skeletron, so it’s a set that you’ll get later on in pre-hardmode.
You absolutely need to have this armor for ranged weapons, as it’ll save a ton of your ammo. Each piece also increased your ranged damage, so don’t miss out on this awesome armor set.
How to get it: After you’ve beaten Skeletron, you’ll need to go farming for bones and cobwebs. You’ll need 135 cobwebs and 150 bones in total, so it’s not too hard to get.
Defeating skeletons in the dungeon is the only way to get bones, and the best place to get cobwebs is in spider caves underground. Finding a single spider cave will probably give you all the webs you need, so now you have to kill skeletons until you’re ready to craft your new armor.
2. Star Cannon
|55||No Knockback||Very Fast|
The Star Cannon has been greatly buffed since Journey’s End!
There’s no doubt from anyone that this is the most powerful ranged weapon pre-hardmode, and possibly the best weapon from any class before beating the Wall of Flesh.
The only downside of this awesome cannon is that you’ll need to farm a lot of stars to use as ammo. If you manage to get a large amount of stars, you’ll be able to shred any pre-hardmode boss with ease.
How to get it: Gather together a Minishark, 20 Meteorite bars, and 5 Fallen Stars, and you’ll be able to craft a Star Cannon at an anvil. After the weapon is created, you should craft a skybridge that will collect stars for you at night. Be sure to collect the stars before dawn, or else they’ll disappear.
3. Phoenix Blaster
|24||Very Weak||Very Fast|
While this definitely isn’t as powerful as the Star Cannon, it’s an awesome option due to readily available ammo. The best ammo to use with the Phoenix Blaster is Meteor Shot, as it’ll bounce after hitting a surface.
Besides doing a good amount of damage per second, you can use Meteor Shot to locate floating islands. Any ranged player should definitely have one of these awesome weapons in their arsenal.
How to get it: Purchase a handgun from the Arms Dealer, and then mine 10 Hellstone bars from the underworld. Craft it at an anvil, and you’re ready to go take on the Wall of Flesh! Due to the low cost, it will barely take you any time to farm the necessary items.
Best Magic Weapons and Armor
While I don’t play as a mage as much as other classes, magic weapons are some of the most diverse and interesting weapons in the game. There’s just such a huge variety to choose from, and many more options open up later in the game.
1. Jungle Armor
|17||16% reduced mana usage|
It provides the reduced mana cost, and each piece provides the player with 20 more mana. This is extremely useful when playing as a mage, since you’ll be able to use your weapon for longer.
This also reduced the number of mana potions you’ll need to craft. The cost of this armor is very low, but it may prove difficult to get in an Expert mode jungle.
How to get it: The total cost is 10 stingers, 2 vines, and 32 jungle spores. The stingers are actually the hardest to get since they require exterminating a few deadly hornets. Jungle spores are very easy to spot since they glow in the dark jungle. Since there is such a low cost to make this armor, a mage player definitely wants to make this armor.
2. Water Bolt
While the damage seems low, the projectiles can last for 30 seconds, 5 ricochets, or pierce 10 enemies. These make it awesome for crowd control, and you can create massive damage in confined spaces.
With the right arena, any boss pre-hardmode can easily fall to this spell. You can use this to great effect against the Wall of Flesh, so be sure to pick one of these up as soon as possible.
How to get it: You’ve probably noticed that the walls of the dungeon are lined with bookshelves. You can break these books with a hammer, and one of them happens to be a Water Bolt. Just look for a blue book with a gold bank around the bottom, and you’ll definitely find the book.
Several of these spawn in every dungeon, so you don’t have to worry about them not being there. I’ve been able to get these even before I beat Skeletron, so always be sure to check for these near the surface.
3. Book of Skulls
The Book of Skulls is an awesome weapon, but it isn’t guaranteed that you’ll get one. The skulls it fires can hit 3 enemies and potentially hit the same enemy multiple times before dissipating. While it’s not as good for crowd control as the Water Bolt, you’ll be able to destroy smaller amounts of enemies even easier due to its damage.
How to get it: In normal mode, the Book of Skulls has a 10% chance of dropping from Skeletron, instead of the 33% chance in Expert mode. It’s definitely worth farming it from Skeletron once the Clothier spawns, as it’s an awesome weapon that can easily destroy enemies.
Best Summoner Weapons and Armor
Why should you do all the dirty work when you’re minions can do it for you? A summoner is all about sending others to fight for you, and they have the potential to do some great damage.
In the early stages of the game, it’s very hard to play a pure summoner, so you should always have a backup melee weapon on hand. As you progress further into hardmode, you’ll finally be able to use purely summoner gear.
1. Bee armor
|13||Increases minion damage by 10%|
Since both the head and the chest pieces increase your maximum number of minions, a summoner will absolutely need this armor. You’ll be able to dispatch enemies much quicker with more allies to fight with you.
How to get it: The entire set requires 30 total Bee Wax, which drops from the Queen Bee. Since she doesn’t drop more than a maximum of 26, you’ll need to defeat her at least 2 times to craft this armor.
2. Imp Staff
|21||Very Weak||Very Slow|
The Imp Staff is an awesome weapon that you should get regardless of if you’re a summoner or not. It’s awesome to have a little imp follow you around and attack enemies for you, like a little deadly pet. Since it’s the best summoner weapon before hardmode, any summoner needs to craft this powerful staff.
How to get it: All you’ll need to craft an Imp Staff is 17 Hellstone Bars, which will cost you 85 Hellstone and 17 obsidian in total. Chug some Obsidian Skin potions and get to work on mining that Hellstone ore, and it won’t take you long to obtain the necessary materials.
While everyone has their own favorite weapons, these are the ones I find myself using through most of my playthroughs. A lot of players online also agree with these weapons, so you’ll have to try them out for yourselves and see which ones are your favorite!