If you are playing as a ranger in Terraria, it is important to know what type of arrows you have available to you. As a ranger you have the benefit of picking not just the best bow for the occasion, but also which arrow will fit your needs. While bows only offer a set amount of stats or perhaps one unique effect, the arrows you choose can change how you approach a difficult encounter. There are 17 different types of arrows to choose from, and it is not always as simple as picking the one that does the most damage.
This one may come as a surprise, but when you first begin as a ranger, the flaming arrows are about as good as they come. These arrows have the benefit of doing more damage than regular wooden arrows and can light your enemies on fire. Flaming arrows are a staple of any beginner ranger’s arsenal and it would be odd playing as a ranger and not using flaming arrows at least once in your world.
Flaming arrows are also cost effective as they only require wooden arrows and torches. Each bundle of 10 wooden arrows and 1 torch will get you 10 flaming arrows by hand. This upgrade gives you another 2 damage points for every arrow you shoot as well as providing the damage over time from the fire debuff which deals 4 damage a second.
If you have yet to reach Hardmode then the next best arrow for you to obtain would be the Jester’s arrows. These may lack the punch that hellfire arrows provide, but the area of effect of these arrows is hard to ignore. These star effects that come from Jester’s arrows are even piercing and have no limit to how many enemies they can pierce. Not only that, they are the only arrow in the entire game to not be affected by gravity. Jester’s arrows will shoot where you shot them.
Jester’s arrows do come with a downside of not being recoverable after shooting. Once they are gone, they are gone and you will have to replenish your stock of arrows. You can make these arrows by combining 20 wooden arrows with a fallen star by hand. To make a full stack of Jester’s arrows you will need 50 stars. It can be helpful to build a flat bridge across the sky to gather enough fallen stars to supply your Jester’s arrows.
Once you have reached hardmode you may be looking to upgrade your arrows. A really good candidate is the Holy arrow. This arrow is a bit difficult to work around, but in its best environment it is hard to beat its DPS. These arrows will spawn two falling stars to land at the point where the arrow lands. If there is a roof where you are shooting these arrows the stars could get stuck in the ceiling or land before they hit the target. This makes them relatively niche, but against most bosses you will be fighting them on the surface anyways.
The base damage of the Holy arrow is fairly low, especially for Hardmode, but the two stars that fall more than make up for it. You can make these arrows with a unicorn horn, 3 pixie dust, and 200 wooden arrows at a mythril/orichalcum anvil. As unicorn horns are a fairly rare drop, it can be difficult gathering enough for a full stack of arrows, but at least each horn can make 200 total Holy arrows.
If you do not have an easy hallow biome to farm unicorns in, look towards the cursed or ichor arrow. Depending on which evil spawned in your world, corruption will give you cursed flames, and crimson will give you ichor. Both of these arrows are solid choices and can increase your damage output by a lot. Cursed arrows have the benefit of not being put out by water like flaming arrows can be. Ichor arrows will inflict a debuff onto your enemies causing them to take more damage.
Both these arrows inflict their debuffs at a 100% chance so neither arrow is truly more powerful than the other. Ichor arrows win out against bosses with a high defense rating as your other arrows will begin to do more damage, whereas cursed arrows will do a consistent amount of damage each time. To make these arrows combine 150 wooden arrows with a cursed flame or an ichor at a mythril/orichalcum anvil to make their respective arrow.
The indisputable strongest arrow in the game has to be the Luminite arrows. While their base damage is nothing too impressive, their effect essentially doubles the damage you deal. Luminite arrows can pierce through their original target to three others before dissipating, and their phantom arrow effect does the same. With the Phantasm bow, you can triple the amount of damage you do if the doubling effect from the bow and the arrows connect to their target.
Luminite arrows are the hardest arrows to obtain as you have to defeat the Moon Lord in order to obtain luminite ore. Unfortunately for the ranger, you will have to defeat the Moon Lord a few times in order to obtain all the weapons, armor, and keep their arrow stocks filled. You can craft 333 Luminite arrows with one luminite bar at an ancient manipulator.