Guide:Surviving in the Desert

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This is a Guide page.
This is a Guide page.
This means the page will walk you through a specific task, strategy, or enemy/boss fight.
Status: Subject to revision (This Guide does not meet certain quality standards and may be heavily outdated.)
  • Issues:
     • Needs to be updated to 1.4
  • 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.


    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

    The Surface

    There isn't too much to do in the Surface Desert, but at the start of a playthrough, the Cactus HelmetCactus 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 TumblerAngry Tumblers(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) 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 MaskPharaoh's set, and many Gold Coins.

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

    Underground Desert

    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 CrystalLife Crystals and ExtractinatorExtractinators than usual.

    However, the enemies found are very dangerous:

    • The most common enemy, the Antlion ChargerAntlion Charger(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions), 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 SwarmerAntlion Swarmers(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) 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 CrawlerTomb Crawlers(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions). 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.
    • Watch for Antlion LarvaAntlion Larva(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions). They initially appear as clusters of pulsing eggs that spawn this mob when broken by a pickaxe or weapon. These can overwhelm new players if they break an egg cluster while already fighting something else, so you should kill them when you find them.
    • 1.4 introduces a new type of trap, the Rolling CactusRolling Cactus(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions), that will most likely kill you if it collided with. It sits stationary until activated, so try to get these out of the way as soon as you see them so you don't accidentally set one off during combat. Use a rope coil or hook to get above the cactus before setting it off, as it might roll in your direction. And keep in mind that rolling cacti can set off Antlion Larva.

    Console versionMobile versionOnce the Eater of Worlds or the Brain of Cthulhu have been defeated, the player can use the Nightmare PickaxeNightmare or Deathbringer PickaxeDeathbringer Pickaxes to mine the Desert FossilDesert Fossils(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions), which are the only source of Sturdy FossilSturdy Fossil(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) when using the Extractinator. This material is used for Fossil HelmetFossil armor(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) and Bone Throwing Weapons, which are very helpful for the Thrower class. On the Desktop version Desktop version,Desert FossilDesert Fossils(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) can be mined with any pickaxe and explosives, and are an effective weapon for the Ranged class.


    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

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


    For the three main classes, AdamantiteAdamantiteAdamantiteAdamantite, Titanium armorTitanium armorTitanium armorTitanium armor, or FrostFrostFrostFrost are the best available pre-Mechanical bosses.

    A Summoner should use the Spider MaskSpider armor(Desktop, Console, Old-gen console and Mobile versions) instead, as the ore armors don't give any improvements to minions.


    For Melee users
    • A Mythril SwordMythril or Orichalcum SwordOrichalcum Sword or Mythril HalberdOrichalcum HalberdHalberd is the bare minimum. The BladetongueBladetongue(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) or CutlassCutlass are stronger swords with much better stats.
    • The AmarokAmarok(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) or Ice SickleIce Sickle can be easily obtained by grinding in the Snow biome.
    • The Hel-FireHel-Fire(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) can be obtained from enemies in the Underworld.
    • The Shadowflame KnifeShadowflame Knife(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) is a very good weapon that is obtained from Goblin Warlocks in a Hardmode Goblin Army.
    • The Chain GuillotinesChain Guillotines(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) have decent range, damage and attack speed.
    • The Fetid BaghnakhsFetid Baghnakhs(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) are a riskier but extremely powerful weapon.
    For Ranger users
    For Mages
    • The Crystal SerpentCrystal Serpent(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) and Meteor StaffMeteor Staff(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) are very strong weapons that can be easily obtained as soon as Hardmode begins.
    • The Shadowflame Hex DollShadowflame Hex Doll(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) is a very strong weapon as well, dropped by the Goblin Warlock.
    • The Nimbus RodNimbus Rod can kill enemies from a safe distance, as well as being a good secondary weapon.
    • Cursed FlamesCursed Flames or Golden ShowerGolden Shower are decent for crowd control.
    For Summoners



    Sand ElementalHardmode exclusive
    Sand Elemental.gif
    Sand Elemental2.gif
    Attack state
    Classic mode icon.png Classic
    Expert mode icon.png Expert
    Master mode icon.png Master
    AI TypeSand Elemental AI
    Damage40/80/120 (contact)
    6088132 (Ancient Storm)
    Max Life5000/10000/15000
    KB Resist95%/96% (when >50% health)
    100% (when ≤50% health)
    BannerSand Elemental BannerSand Elemental Banner(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions)
    Immune toPoisonedConfused
    Coins1 GC50 SC3 GC75 SC
    • Ancient Storm (hostile)
      Ancient Storm (hostile)
    • Ancient Storm Mark
      Ancient Storm Mark

    When sandstorms are not present, the only new enemy seen on the surface will be the MummyMummies. 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 MummyDark Mummies, Blood MummyBlood Mummies(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) or Light MummyLight 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:

    • LamiaLamias(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) are grounded enemies, and they are much faster and stronger than Mummies. They rarely drop a piece of their Vanity set when killed.
    • Sand PoacherSand Poachers(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) 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(Old-gen console and 3DS versions) debuff on contact.
    • BasiliskBasilisks(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) 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 Horn(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) when killed.
    • Dune SplicerDune Splicers(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) 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.
    • Desert SpiritDesert Spirits(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) can appear in Crimson or Corrupted Desert. They will cast a slow projectile that attempts to home in to the player, and then explode after a short time. It rarely drops the Desert Spirit Lamp used for the Spirit Flame, as well as the Vanity Djinn's Curse.

    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 SharkSand Sharks(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) 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 Crystal ThresherHallowed(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions), Bone BiterCorrupted(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) or Flesh ReaverCrimson(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions) 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 MaskForbidden Armor(Desktop, Console and Mobile versions).

    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.