Guide:Surviving in the Desert

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The Desert is one of the main biomes of a Terraria world. The Surface isn't much harder than the Forest, but the Underground Desert contains unique hazards that can make it very dangerous for a new character.

It's optional to explore the Desert, but since it has more loot than regular Caverns, players prefer to explore it instead of regular biomes once they feel like their gear is good enough.

In Hardmode, the Desert will provide the materials for very good weapons that can be obtained at the very beginning of it.

Pre-Hardmode[edit | edit source]

The Underground Desert is extremely dangerous for a new character, since the enemies do much more damage and have higher defense than usual. Hence it is better to be very well prepared. It's recommended to explore it just before or after the Eye of Cthulhu is fought.

Recommended Gear[edit | edit source]

The Surface[edit | edit source]

There isn't too much to do in the Surface Desert, but at the start of a playthrough, the Cactus armorCactus armor and Cactus SwordCactus Sword are both very useful to begin with. However, if there is a Sandstorm the place should be left immediately, as the Angry TumblersAngry TumblersDesktop Version or other enemies can very easily kill a new character.

A Pyramid can also be found. This place contains one unique item like the Sandstorm in a BottleSandstorm in a Bottle or the Flying CarpetFlying Carpet, the vanity Pharaoh's setPharaoh's set, and many Gold Coins.

On the side of the world that is opposite to the Snow and Jungle biomes, the entrance to the Underground Desert will be found.

Underground Desert[edit | edit source]

A world view of an underground desert with a Pyramid.

Compared to the regular Caverns biome, the Underground Desert has more Underground Cabins, Ores, Life CrystalsLife Crystals and ExtractinatorsExtractinators than usual.

However, the enemies found are very dangerous:

  • The most common enemy, the Antlion ChargerAntlion ChargerDesktop VersionConsole VersionMobile Version, has massive defense, damage and knockback resistance and charges very fast at a player, so even with good weapons it is still better to avoid combat with them. Antlion SwarmersAntlion SwarmersDesktop VersionConsole VersionMobile Version are another enemy with lower stats but the ability to fly. Due to their big size, they can both be easily stopped by quickly covering their path with blocks.
  • The biggest threat are the Tomb CrawlersTomb CrawlersDesktop VersionConsole VersionMobile Version. They are fast, go through blocks and deal high damage on hit. They are also fairly common for a Worm enemy, so the player should always watch out for the sound of them digging. Due to their high stats they should be treated with caution even with weapons that can hit multiple segments.

Once the Eater of Worlds or the Brain of Cthulhu have been defeated, the player can use the NightmareNightmare or Deathbringer PickaxesDeathbringer Pickaxes to mine the Desert FossilsDesert FossilsDesktop VersionConsole VersionMobile Version, which are the only source of Sturdy FossilSturdy FossilDesktop VersionConsole VersionMobile Version when using the Extractinator. This new material is used for Fossil armorFossil armorDesktop VersionConsole VersionMobile Version and Bone Throwing Weapons, which are very helpful for the Thrower class.

Hardmode[edit | edit source]

Like every other biome in Hardmode, the Desert becomes a lot more dangerous once it is activated. It is also one of the biomes that can be affected by the spread of the Corruption/Crimson and the Hallow, which give special properties and drops to some of the new enemies spawned.

Recommended gear[edit | edit source]

The Desert can be very tough when starting Hardmode, so it is recommended to be very well equipped before going in.

Armor[edit | edit source]

For the three main classes, PalladiumPalladiumPalladiumPalladium, OrichalcumOrichalcumOrichalcumOrichalcum, AdamantiteAdamantiteAdamantiteAdamantite or Titanium armorTitanium armorTitanium armorTitanium armor are the best available.

A Summoner should use the Spider armorSpider armorDesktop VersionConsole VersionOld-gen console versionMobile Version instead, as the ore armors don't give any improvements to minions.

Weapons[edit | edit source]

For Melee users
For Ranger users
For Mages
For Summoners

Accessories[edit | edit source]

Exploring[edit | edit source]

Sand Elemental
Sand Elemental.png
Statistics
TypeEnemy
EnvironmentSandstorm
AI TypeSand Elemental AI
Damage40 / 80
Max Life5000 / 10000
Defense30
KB Resist95% / 96%
Immune toPoisonedConfusedFrostburnVenom
BannerSand Elemental BannerSand Elemental BannerDesktop Version
Drops
Coins 1 Gold Coin 50 Silver Coin

On the Surface, the only new enemy seen will be the MummiesMummies. They are slow and easy to avoid, however they get much faster at half health. If the surface Desert was infected by the Corruption/Crimson or Hallow biomes, Dark MummiesDark Mummies or Light MummiesLight Mummies will spawn instead. These variants are stronger and drop Dark or Light Shards, which can be used to make very strong weapons.

In the Underground Desert, many new enemies will be seen:

  • LamiasLamiasDesktop VersionConsole VersionMobile Version are grounded enemies, and they are much faster and stronger than Mummies. They rarely drop a piece of their Vanity set when killed.
  • Sand PoachersSand PoachersDesktop VersionConsole VersionMobile Version have the ability to climb walls, making it much faster than usual. Given that the entirety of the Underground Desert is covered with walls, the player should always be cautious. They inflict the VenomVenom debuff on contact.
  • BasilisksBasilisksDesktop VersionConsole VersionMobile Version are essentially a Hardmode version of Antlion Chargers, as they behave identically and have very high knockback resistance. They have a chance to drop the Ancient HornAncient HornDesktop Version when killed.
  • Dune SplicersDune SplicersDesktop VersionConsole VersionMobile Version are the Hardmode version of Tomb Crawlers. They are significantly bigger than other worm enemies, and they are much more aggressive as well. Despite their high stats, they can easily be killed with piercing or exploding weapons.

Additionally, during a Sandstorm, enemies from the underground and Sand Sharks will start spawning on the Surface, as well as a new miniboss: the Sand Elemental.

  • Sand SharksSand SharksDesktop Version have the ability to "Swim" through sand blocks, and will quickly lunge at nearby players. They are very common, aggressive and have very high stats, so they can easily kill a player. However they cannot jump very high, so a platform above ground will make them much easier to deal with.
    • They have different variants for HallowedHallowedDesktop Version, CorruptedCorruptedDesktop Version or CrimsonCrimsonDesktop Version Deserts. These have even higher stats and drop Light or Dark Shards as well.
  • The Sand Elemental is a miniboss enemy. It only attacks by summoning three Ancient Storms randomly around the general location of the player. When killed, it drops Forbidden Fragments used for Forbidden ArmorForbidden ArmorDesktop Version.

While the Sand Elemental's attacks can be easily predicted and dodged, they will limit movement, making the common Sand Sharks and Dune Splicers much harder to avoid. It is recommended to make a platform above ground, as then the Dune Splicers and Sand Sharks won't be able to jump high enough as to reach the player, so the Sand Elemental can be killed much more easily.