A comprehensive guide to using the Bundle of Balloons.
I love Balloons in Terraria. They’re quick, flexible, and overall just a very enjoyable movement item. So, whenever I see someone talk about how they just can’t wait until they get wings because they think other movement options are terrible, my blood starts to boil. Balloons are viable later on in the game and aren’t just something to tide you over until you get wings. And when I try to explain this to others, most of the opposition are only able to cite Balloons’ lack of fall damage immunity as the reason Balloons are “bad.
Then someone told me that nearly everyone already uses wings and they aren’t comfortable going cold turkey with Balloons. And that was a point I couldn’t refute. It made sense: they’ve already spent tens if not hundreds of hours playing with wings, so their explanation that this method of movement felt jarring and unnatural was perfectly logical. After this, I concluded that a beginner’s guide to using Balloons would help so many players understand the real benefits and downsides that come with this.
So in this guide, we’re going to go over the basics of Balloon movement, some bosses you need to watch out for and how to counter them, and some of the more advanced movement techniques that are specifically available to Balloons.
This guide isn’t going to go into how to get Balloons, just how to use them. This playstyle isn’t for the casual player: it’s a very challenging but very rewarding and entertaining way to play. We have a lot to talk about, so we’d better get started.
So, the first thing to note about Balloons is that they aren’t similar to wings in the slightest. Balloons are very different from wings, meaning how you need to play while wearing them is also going to be radically different. If you try to use them similarly to how you’d use wings, it’s not going to end well. In this section, we’ll go over the basics of Balloon Movement, its differences from wing movement, and how to make use of Balloons’ best strengths and how to mitigate Balloons’ biggest weaknesses.
Balloons’ actual main weaknesses are that they can’t stall in the air and that they have low total duration. Most of the time, these weaknesses can be circumvented by proper preparation, planning, or clever trickery.
Balloons may lack the duration and safety that wings possess, but more than make up for it in their quickness and depth. Their extreme agility and vertical acceleration are their pièce de résistance.
This agility is mostly provided by 2 accessories: The Bundle of Balloons and the Frog Leg.
This guide will assume that you already have both items available to you, as Balloons lack the aforementioned vertical acceleration without help from the Frog Leg. The Frog Leg also greatly reduces fall damage, which remember, you aren’t immune to anymore (we’ll fix that later, don’t worry).
Now, many would say that requiring the use of an extra accessory slot makes Balloons inefficient and impractical. This, however, is false. When properly mastered, movement with Balloons is so flashy and satisfying that this requisite is more than compensated for.
See, Balloons also don’t have the “hang” that wings have when starting to rise after a fall. Wings need to slow down, stop, and then slowly accelerate upwards after falling, but with Balloons, the upwards movement is instantaneous. This small difference radically changes how you move. Good movement with Balloons is much more efficient than good movement with wings. Circling a boss is no longer as easy or effective but dodging and weaving through a boss’s attacks becomes almost effortless.
Your game plan with Balloons is to stay low to the ground (or whatever surface is below you) and weave through enemies and their attacks. Balloons don’t have fall damage negation, so going too high is something you need to watch out for. Many players cite this as Balloons’ critical flaw, but trust me, it's not. It certainly is a drawback, but it’s not as big as people make it out to be, especially when a great many methods exist to circumvent this drawback (we’ll get to those later). If you’re good at dodging and weaving, almost all bosses can be fought at low altitudes and still be a tolerable experience. There are a few notable exceptions (and we’re also going to get to those later), but for now, let’s focus on the basics of balloon movement:
Let’s get something out of the way: Balloons are FAR more complex than wings. Wings, while very versatile, are a bit sluggish and lack depth or nuance. Balloons, on the other hand, are volatile, flashy, extremely quick, and very complex. The reason for this complexity is the Bundle’s 3 unique jumps: the Sandstorm, the Blizzard, and the Cloud.
The Sandstorm covers a huge distance, and its high acceleration and long duration make it your go-to for getting away from a projectile or a fast enemy.
The Blizzard covers a medium distance very quickly and is great for jumping over projectiles or gaining a large mid-air boost to dodge hazards.
The Cloud covers the shortest distance, but it does so almost instantly. This makes it great for quick dodges.
Another thing to remember is that you can cancel your jumps early. While this may sound incredibly basic, it’s important to keep in mind that, as tempting and satisfying as it is to perform the full jump, overshooting your jumps can land you in serious jeopardy.
The following movement techniques are Balloons’ most important movement options. You'll find that you use these techniques extremely often. These movement options will assume you have some sort of dash, Namely the Shield of Cthulhu or the Master Ninja Gear.
If you jump right at the beginning of your dash, you will quickly travel at a very shallow angle upwards; great for getting away from projectiles or fast flying enemies (like Duke Fishron).
Another technique is to dash while falling, then jump at the end of the dash. This action gives a shallow V-shaped path that is great for maneuvering under and around obstacles and hazards.
These techniques can also be chained together, which allows for incredibly dynamic and expressive movement. However, the depth and complexity involved in this movement means the player must be very focused and deliberate when playing. It can be draining to play like this, but in the end, it allows for some of the most fluid and entertaining movement in the game.
The previously mentioned frog leg isn’t the only item that can augment Balloon Movement. There are many other accessories and items that can help aid your movement when using Balloons. There are more than the ones I’m about to explain, but these are arguably the most helpful.
The first one of these items is the Feather Fall potion. With Wings, this potion is mostly redundant as Wings already have slow fall via gliding or midair stalling, but Balloons don’t have this ability. This makes holding your mid-air position with Balloons impossible. Enter, the Feather Fall potion. This potion not only gives Balloons the ability to glide, it makes this ability far more versatile than with Wings for many reasons. The first being that the slow fall is always at its greatest effect, instead of only being necessary when the player is out of flight time. Another advantage is that the Feather fall indirectly increases the height of your jumps by lessening gravity’s effect on your character, even more so when holding up. Do note, however, that constantly gliding makes you a sitting duck, and some players find that having to hold down for normal movement is annoying and uncomfortable. Balancing gliding with normal falling is important.
The second of these tools is the Slimy Saddle. This mount is special in the fact that it accelerates your character’s vertical movement to extreme levels. Mounting while rising or falling gives an enormous vertical boost in that direction. This functionality is extremely helpful when you need to quickly ascend or descend. Keep in mind, however, that the slime mount is not immune to fall damage. A well-timed grapple throw, a Feather Fall potion, or some other Falling Safety option is recommended if you’re planning on going high. Otherwise… Splatt.
The third item is the Bunny Mount. You’re probably only going to be using this item to fill one role, but this role is important and extremely helpful: Fall Damage negation. The Bunny Mount is naturally immune to fall damage, so mounting right just before you land will cancel all fall damage. It’s easy to forget to do this every time you land, but proper use of it will allow you to safely reach great heights, with no potion or accessory costs.
The last recommended item is a hook. As you no doubt know by now, latching onto a block or platform with a hook will not only pull you to the block in question, but it will also reset your jumps/flight time. Many are not aware, however, that if you cancel the pull with a jump, you will retain the momentum gained from the pull. Many skilled players place platforms vertically as well as horizontally and grapple to them for a burst of horizontal movement. Another way to do this is to use Minecart Rails instead of platforms, as the rail can be grappled onto when desired but will not affect player movement otherwise. Minecart Rails are preferable when used with Balloons, as the player can reach huge heights without worrying about taking fall damage on the platform.
Like I said earlier, almost all bosses in the game don’t require the player to be able to fly. The few exceptions will be analyzed and countered in this section.
Retinazer is still just a nuisance as always, but Spazmatism, like he normally is, is a problem. The first phase of the fight (where both have yet to transform) is not problematic in the slightest. Balloon movement can dodge all of the twins’ attacks without breaking a sweat. The trouble starts during the second phase, where Spazmatism begins to use his flamethrower attack. If you were wearing wings, you’d simply fly diagonally away from it and, as you may have guessed, we can’t do that. Instead, I recommend hopping on a fast mount like the Unicorn and “Fly, Fleance! Fly!”. The Unicorn’s charge is one of the fastest methods of travel in the game, and it can be activated instantly by mounting right after a dash.
Golem is… Well, almost entirely dependent on luck. Whether you get a sizable enough Temple Chamber is purely up to chance. If you get a reasonably-sized chamber, the battle will be cramped, but certainly manageable. If you get a small chamber, however, you’re going to have a problem. Balloons need a lot of space to move, and a small temple’s lack of space is simply a no-go. If you get a small chamber, I recommend building what many call “The Endless Runway.”
The Endless Runway is simple. All you need to do is place two teleporters on each end of your platform, link them together, and constantly run in one direction during the bossfight. If you decide to use this method, you’ll probably want to go the extra mile and bring Campfires and Heart Lanterns for the extra survivability, as you won’t be able to dodge very effectively without ruining the entire strategy.
And finally, we have the Highlight of the run...
You’d think that since I have done so many videos and challenges involving Duke Fishron with Balloons, providing tips for him shouldn’t be too big of a problem, should it? Well, Duke Fishron is probably not a boss that you’re going to beat on your first try with Balloons. Not only does it require proper execution, it requires a game plan. If you don’t have a strategy to avoid him, Duke is going to stay right on top of you the entire fight. Movement against Fishron requires practice, timing, and strategy. Unfortunately, I’ve done it so much that it has mostly become muscle memory at this point, but I’ll try to explain it as best I can.
The thing you have to keep in mind about the Duke is that, as aggressive and as fast as his attacks may look, he only moves a short distance in a straight line when he dashes. Use this linearity to your advantage: always move away from where the Duke will end up by measuring the distance he can cover with each charge. It sounds difficult to constantly read a fast boss’ movements, but trust me, after a few attempts this becomes instinctual.
This can become tricky however, due to the Sharkrons and the Sharknados that will constantly obstruct you during the fight. However, as usual, there are methods to avoid these problems: I highly recommend NOT making a dock over the water and instead using Water Walking Potions. They can be a pain to craft, but your options are either that or Water Walking Boots, and I don’t think you’ll want to sacrifice an accessory slot for those.
In his first form, Duke will create standard Sharknados. Balloons can easily clear these Sharknados, but the problem comes when he reaches his second form, in which he spawns the dreaded Cthulhunado. Balloons absolutely do not have the capacity to jump over a Cthulhunado, the tornado itself is extremely deadly, and since Balloons need all the room they can get in this fight, this tornado is especially problematic and very difficult to overcome.
Or well, it would be problematic if we hadn’t conveniently forgotten to build the dock from earlier. See, while Sharknados float on the water, Cthulhunados do not. Assuming your ocean is deep enough (dig it out and add water if it isn’t), most of the Tornado will be submerged, with only the very top of it sticking out. Instead of an impassable wall, the tornado is now just a low fence, which hardly the threat it used to be. Remember that the tornadoes will still fire Sharkrons at you, but these shouldn’t be very hard to avoid if you lead the Razorwheel (the projectile that spawns the Cthulhunadoes) to a good location.
And since the King of the Ocean is now sleeping with the fishes, we can finally move on to the final boss that’s problematic for us. You already know who it is...
The Moon Lord!
Welcome to Hell!
There is one thing that makes the Moon Lord distinct from any other boss in the game: he is constantly throwing an army of projectiles your way. The Moon Lord is the ultimate counter to Balloons. All his attacks require a method of dodging that Balloons simply aren’t able to pull off. The easiest way to avoid his nearly one-hit killing Deathray is to stay above it for a duration longer than Balloons can maintain. The hordes of other projectiles encourage you to stay airborne for a while, which is a task that Balloons are not able to accomplish. It’s very easy to see why wings are simply better for this fight: All the Moon Lord’s attacks directly exploit the critical weaknesses of Balloons. The task is nigh impossible.
So. Is that where the story ends? Have we reached the point where the challenges are stacked so high that we can’t even begin to climb them? Are we already so far underwater that it’ll be easier to just swim down? Is this the end for us?
No. Not a chance. We’ve gotten this far and we sure as hell aren’t going to give up now. So, I have to ask: Are you ready for the ultimate challenge?
The Moon Lord is… I don’t even have words at this point. Moon Lord is going to push you to the breaking point. But you’ve made it this far; how hard can it be to go just a bit further?
Well, darn hard, it turns out. Some serious preparation, concentration, and determination are required to best this Monster from the deepest reaches of Space. So, turn on your adrenaline playlist and prepare yourself for the most stressful 2 hours of your Terraria career.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Beating the Moon Lord will require every ounce of your strength and every teaspoon of your will. You must remember though: you CAN do it. It IS possible, but it will require every part of you to be functioning at its absolute best. With that out of the way, let’s dive in.
First, you’ll want to make an extremely long and flat plain.I recommend that it be almost 3 oceans long. Cover it with asphalt if you wish, but make sure it’s flat. You’ll need every inch of space you can get your hands on, and you don’t want random hills to get in your way. Place Peace Candles around the area and consider investing in calming potions. You don’t want to be in the Moon Lord’s final phase and get screwed over by a demon eye.
Place tall, thin towers throughout your dueling ground. Build a line of solid blocks at the top of each tower for protection from the Deathray. Try to make these towers look nice; You’re going to be in this arena for a while, so you may as well make it easy on the eyes.
The gear you’re going to want to use in this fight will mostly revolve around life regeneration and Damage output. For armor, wear the Valhalla Knight’s Breastplate for its insane regeneration and the Forbidden Treads for a reason we’ll get to later. Dodging in this fight can be very difficult, but if you think you can pull it off, wear the Shroomite Arrow Headgear for extra damage. If you don’t, wear the Squire’s Great Helm instead for even more regeneration.
For weapons, you’ll need to equip yourself with the strongest of the strong: The Phantasm and the Stardust Dragon Staff. The Phantasm’s DPS is simply unmatched at this stage of progression, and the quicker the fight, the shorter your journey through hell. I recommend using Ichor arrows (Use venom arrows if you’re in a corruption world) instead of holy, since Ichor arrows have great velocity and strangely, the Moon Lord isn’t immune to Ichor.
The Stardust Dragon, when paired with the Forbidden Treads, a Summoning Potion, and a Bewitching table, reaches 5 segments. This gives about the DPS of a Vortex Beater, which is incredible considering you’re only using a half-baked Summoner loadout. This extra damage really helps, especially during periods when you need to focus on dodging more than aiming.
For accessories, grab the essentials (Bundle, Master Ninja Gear, Frog leg) and fill the rest of your slots with damage and survivability accessories. I highly recommend both Celestial Stones, as each has an absurd combination of offense and defense for being just a single accessory. Wear a magic Quiver in your last slot. This will further increase your damage output as well as increase the velocity of your arrows for more reliable shots.
For Buffs, take anything you can get your hands on. Get at least Wrath or Rage, Regeneration, Ironskin, Endurance, Lifeforce, Archery, and Summoning potions. Ammo Conservation can be helpful over the long haul as this is going to take a lot of attempts, and the less time you have to spend making arrows, the less miserable you’ll be.
And for miscellaneous items, I Highly recommend a Rod of Discord and some sort of fall protection. The Rod of Discord is a Get-Out-of-Jail Free card that can save you from some very scary situations if timed properly. Feather Fall Potions, a thin layer of water and Water Walking Potions, or some other fall safety tactic is highly beneficial. There’s already a lot of painful stuff in this fight; no need to add fall damage to the list.
I personally recommend the Scutlix mount, if you manage to get one. The mount is super fast, jumps extremely high, and reduces all fall damage to 1, effectively negating it.
All prepared? Great! Let’s get into the hard stuff
The Moon Lord’s Deathray is one of the easier attacks to avoid in this fight. If the forehead eye is ever open, check to see whether the deathray is charging. If it is, get to the nearest tower as quickly as possible and grapple to the bottom of a Block Row. Keep your Rod of Discord handy in case you don’t make it to the tower. The Deathray is pretty much a round-ender: If you get hit by it, there’s almost no coming back. It’s not the hardest attack to avoid, but don’t let it catch you off-guard or it will end badly.
The Phantasmal Eyes are one of a few big problems in this fight. Whenever a hand’s eye opens, a cluster of these guys come out and hunt you down. These pesky little blighters are fast, powerful, and vicious, but they do have a weakness you can exploit. These projectiles are unable to move upwards. Getting higher than them means they are no longer a threat. It can be difficult to get above them with all of the Moon Lord’s other garbage on the screen, but with enough practice, you’ll have a strategy down in no time.
The Phantasmal Spheres are another large problem in this fight. When the Moon Lord moves his arms, his hands will leave behind a trail of large spheres. These Spheres linger for a second, then simultaneously move in the same direction towards the point where the player was when they were spawned. When they move, they act like an impassable line of doom. You do NOT want to get hit by this attack. The Spheres cover a large part of the screen and deal tons of damage, so you’ll need to properly plan your positioning or use the Rod of Discord to get out of the way and continue fighting.
The last attack in the Moon Lord’s first phase are the Phantasmal Bolts. These lasers, while deadly, are quite easy to avoid. Don’t worry about them too much, but always keep your eyes open for them.
And you thought all of that was hard? Pfft. We’re only getting Started. And get ready, because this part is ridiculous. This’ll sound basic, but whenever you kill an eye, it pops out of its socket and does each of the Moon Lord’s first phase attacks until the fight is over. For this reason, I recommend killing each eye at nearly the same time since each eye performs its own attacks, meaning there is 3 times as much trash on the screen that you’ll have to avoid. There’s no real pattern to these attacks, but each attack is still telegraphed, some more noticeable than before.
The Eyes will look directly at the player before shooting Phantasmal Bolts.
They loop around like Duke Fishron when they summon Phantasmal Eyes.
An aura of energy appears around their pupil when they are charging their mini-deathrays.
And that brings us to the Miniature Deathrays: each true eye fires its own Deathray, and they love to use it every chance they get. The deathrays’ purpose is to prevent the player from kiting the boss, but there are so many other projectiles that the only feasible way to avoid them all is to… well, kite the boss. And kite the boss you will. The Mini Deathrays have a surprisingly short range, so staying out of range will allow you to focus on dodging all of the other crap that the eyes throw at you.
Unless you have a comically huge monitor, this unfortunately means you’ll be firing blindly at the Moon Lord’s core. There are methods to circumvent this, however. I recommend configuring your map so that it overlays your screen. This way, you can see the boss’s general position and know in which direction you’ll need to aim. The Phantasm will also shoot a few homing Lunar Arrows after each successful hit, so you can use this to confirm that you are aiming in the right direction.
When the Core’s health drops to about 20,000, don’t focus on dodging anymore. Focus on dealing as much damage to the core as possible. It’s going to be close, especially if you haven’t been extremely diligent about keeping your health up, but you can make it. Concentrate all your fire and plead with every deity you can think of that you don’t die first.
And when the dust settles… You’ve done it. You’ve beaten what everyone else, including myself for a time, believed was impossible. Take a break and give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve earned it. Well done, Balloon Master.