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Rarity is usually considered as a measure of how difficult to obtain or how valuable an item is. The color of the item name text indicates the rarity of an item, with White being the least rare and Cyan being the most rare. Any item with the rarity of White or Gray will be destroyed upon contact with lava (excepting only Obsidian, Clay Pots, Living Fire Blocks, Fireblossom, and Fireblossom Seeds).

It should be noted that the rarity of many items can change significantly depending on their modifiers.

Tier Color Description
- Gray This tier consists entirely of low-tier equipment with poor modifiers, such as a "Shameful Iron Broadsword", and the 'junk' items Tin Can, Old Shoe, and Seaweed which can be caught from fishing. This is the lowest possible tier.
0 White All basic items, such as the Copper Pickaxe, fall under this category. These are mostly building materials. Items that are white are not necessarily worthless, but could be a good source of income early on. Items from this tier will be destroyed in lava, unlike the higher tiers, with a few exceptions.
1 Blue Weapons and armor made of early game ores are tier one. Certain accessories such as Shackle and Lucky Horseshoe are also Blue. Certain non-craftable weapons, such as the Ball O' Hurt, and most accessories are Blue. Mid-game items with poor modifier, such as "Shoddy Fiery Greatsword are Blue rarity. Items in this tier and above cannot be destroyed by lava. Also includes Monster Banners.
2 Green These items are largely non-craftable, with the exception of Necro armor, Sandgun, Sunglasses, Obsidian Skull, and the Star Cannon. Muramasa and the Harpoon as well as spells like Water Bolt are Green. The Wizard Hat also falls under this category.
3 Orange Weapons and armor made of Hellstone, jungle-related equipment and items found in chests in Underground Jungle or Underworld are Orange. Certain non-craftable weapons and accessories are Orange, such as the Staff of Regrowth, Rocket Boots, Feral Claws, Flower of Fire, and the Dark Lance. Early Hardmode ores and materials also fall in this category.
4 Red This is the base rarity for many hardmode items, such as items forged from the hardmode ores.
5 Magenta Magenta is the base rarity of rare and powerful hardmode items, such as the Flamethrower or the Dao of Pow. Most of these items are crafted out of rare early Hardmode drops and mid-game materials. This is the approximate level of Mechanical Boss tiered items.
6 Purple The rarity of many very powerful hardmode items, such as the Nimbus Rod and Poison Staff.
7 Light Green Better than any hallowed weapon, pickaxe or high-tier 1.1 item reforged. Chlorophyte ores, bars, and items fall in this category.
8 Yellow Best items in the game, such as Spectre Pickaxe and Spectre Armor, Ectoplasm, the Terra Blade and many other end game items are this rarity. All Mounts, except for the Minecart, are of this quality.
9 Cyan/Turquoise This tier holds Light Green and Yellow items with high-level modifiers. Only some unobtainable items, such as developers' vanity armors and wings (such as Red's Armor, or Will's Wings) have this as base rarity.
- Amber This special tier contains only "quest items" to be turned over to quest-giving NPCs for rewards. Quest items can only be obtained while on a quest, and are worthless outside of those quests.
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