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Viral Sprout Weapon Guide – tModLoader

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By Festive Tomato

The Viral Sprout is a new weapon added with the Draedon update that has a unique debuff that deals more damage the more minion slots the player has.

I thought this was interesting and decided to do a whole playthrough only using that item, to see the full potential of this debuff.

This is how Hardmode went:

[Prior Notes]

Welcome to the second part of the Viral Sprout run!

As discussed on the Pre-Hardmode page, as a brief catch-up we have now defeated every Pre-Hardmode boss and have moved onto Hardmode.

As discussed on said previous page I am now also allowed to lift the potion ban, allowing access to potions throughout the rest of the run.

And with that on we go to Hardmode!

Hardmode Pre-Boss

Summary:

At this point, there are a few things I need to do before heading into the next boss fight:

First of all, being allowed potions again grants me access to many useful ones, though most importantly the Summoning Potion that takes our minion cap to 8, and thus 288 Sage Poison damage.

I got the Ankh Shield, as normal, but couldn’t upgrade my armour since I assumed Spider Armour would still require a Mythril Anvil (now locked behind a mech boss) and the Palladium and Cobalt armours lack summoner variants.

I then went to the jungle to farm and scavenge for items, mainly Life Fruit. I got 2 Fruit immediately, as well as a Mechanical Skull and Dual Hook almost immediately. I stayed until I had all 3 mech summoners, which also got me ~2,000 summoner proficiency which sadly no longer grants minion slots.

Difficulty Increase:

★★

⏲ N/A

Aftermath:

-I decided to go after the mech bosses now, since they gatekeep a lot of progression due to the tier 2 and 3 Hardmode ores

–I went with Destroyer first for reasons I shall cover… now:

The Destroyer

Summary:

I decided to attempt the Destroyer first for two primary reasons: first of all, it is immune to Sage Poison, thus I’d have to rely on my minions’ raw damage so I figured having Destroyer at its weakest would be best. Second, due to my belief that Spider Armour is still made at the Hardmode anvil I figured the boosts from Spider Armour wouldn’t offset the health boost Destroyer would get from me waiting to fight it.

This fight turned out… honestly better than I expected. The Destroyer’s large hitbox allowed most of my spikes to hit it and my gear was tanky enough that I could withstand most of the Destroyer’s attacks, aside from consistent contact damage or being headbutted.

In the end, a very comparable fight to having normal summoner gear at this point, if maybe a bit longer.

Difficulty Increase:

★★

⏲ 3:48

Aftermath:

-Mythril and Orichalcum can now be obtained, granting me access to the Hardmode anvil

-I also now got Spider Armour… which in turn grants another minion slot for a max of 9 and a Sage Poison damage of 323

Skeletron Prime

Summary:

Skeletron Prime was my next target for no other reason than because it was the one I initially found the summon for.

Prime, despite being a robot like the Destroyer and despite being related to Skeletron, is actually vulnerable to Sage Poison. This factor meant that in only around 2 minutes were all 4 of his limbs defeated and his skull heavily damaged, as even when I wasn’t focusing a limb the Sage Poison inflicted from rogue spikes could still deal heavy damage, allowing the Viral Sprout to really shine here.

Aside from that there’s not much to note here, actually.

Difficulty Increase:

★★

⏲ 3:05

Aftermath:

-For this fight specifically you don’t unlock anything immediately useful. You do get tier 3 Hardmode ores but those aren’t helpful for summoner aside from crafting the Hardmode forge.

The Twins

Summary:

The Twins actually proved to be the simplest of the 3 mech bosses to kill. It was vulnerable to Sage Poison and had the least amount of overall health of any of the mechanical bosses, which combined may have been why.

Fight-wise nothing really changes, just focus on whichever you have trouble with first, and bear in mind that rogue spikes being released by the Sprouts may hit the other sometimes, which puts a few thousand damage on the other eye before you even start focusing it.

Difficulty Increase:

★★

⏲ 2:55

Aftermath:

-I can now get Hallowed Ore and have access to the three main Soul types, allowing me to get the Pickaxe Axe, Angel Treads and the Blood Orange as normal

–However, I will also craft the Hallowed Rune since I hit enemies frequently enough to consistently proc the effects.

Cryogen

Summary:

Cryogen was an alright fight overall, without anything too major of note. It was weak to the Sprouts and vulnerable to Sage Poison, yet still caused me an issue or two. Why was that? Well…

I forgot to bring my dash.

Considering Cryogen is, thus far, the boss that dashes at you the most aside from the Eye of Cthulhu you’d think I’d remember but, no, I forgot the dash of my own. Luckily, aside from making the final phase more reliant on careful movement and grappling, this didn’t impact the fight too heavily.

Difficulty Increase:

★★

⏲ 2:13

Aftermath:

-I can now get the Ornate Shield, which rather fittingly grants a dash

-I didn’t craft Daedulus Armour at this point, so I am assuming it maybe lost me a minion slot

Aquatic Scourge

Summary:

A boss that unfortunately lives forever in the Destroyer’s shadow in these challenge runs, and again ends up being quite a tame fight.

I did find out that, for some reason, my Sulphurous Sea wasn’t being recognised entirely as an ocean in some areas, perhaps due to the fact it was quite small and shallow due to worldgen, but I made do regardless.

Scourge itself was easy, having all of the Destroyer’s weaknesses due to its size and a vulnerability to Sage Poison my minions could exploit.

Difficulty Increase:

★★

⏲ 2:17

Aftermath:

-Aquatic Scourge’s direct drops aren’t entirely that helpful to me in this challenge run, since most are just weapons or fishing equipment.

-However, Acid Rain Tier 2 does provide one item that is helpful; the Nuclear Rod. This replaced my Jelly-Charged Battery due to the explosion having comparatively better DPS.

Brimstone Elemental

Summary:

Brimmy was, somehow, the fastest fight in Hardmode thus far. I assume that it may be because my usual Brimstone Elemental strategy of circling the boss was also highly beneficial for getting a lot of the Viral Sprout spikes to hit, or perhaps because it was generally just easier to manipulate Brimmy’s movements to take a lot of damage, but either way the fight was quite easy.

One other useful note is that, since Sage Poison deals set damage, I was even able to deal fairly decent damage to her even during her shell phases, which is always appreciated for speeding up the fight.

Difficulty Increase:

★★

⏲ 2:06

Aftermath:

-Once again, Abaddon is the only useful drop here for this run, since most of her other drops are weapons

Plantera

Summary:

Plantera was the gatekeeper for some of the largest strides in gear upgrades for the entire run, so I was quite eager to fight her.

Plantera’s first phase had many of the same weaknesses as Brimstone Elemental’s, so Phase 1 was a nonissue, though it was Phase 2 I was worried about anyways.

Fortunately, having a large number of Viral Sprouts proved good for crowd control so when the tentacles spawned I could inflict many with Sage Poison at the same time to deal massive damage to them all. In fact, the large number of projectiles also easily dealt with the flower-like spores Plantera released, meaning all I had to really do was dodge Plantera’s main body.

Difficulty Increase:

★★

⏲ 2:43

Aftermath:

-Now the player can actually get the Viral Sprout in a normal playthrough

-Plantera doesn’t drop anything directly useful, moreso just unlocking the useful things

–That being said, the Pumpkin Moon grants access to the Necromantic Scroll and Spooky Armour, with the former being combined with some Witch Doctor items to create the Statis’ Blessing

—With Spooky Armour and Statis’ Blessing I can reach a max of 10 minion slots, buffing Sage Poison damage to 359

Astrum Aureus

Summary:

Due to the challenge rules causing Aureus to gatekeep another potential permanent buff I was also eager to fight it not long after Plantera, which would in turn lead to a small issue later-on down the line.

Aureus itself proved to be highly susceptible to the Viral Sprouts. Being a large, comparatively immobile enemy made it an easy target despite its massive health pool, so I was easily able to overwhelm it with attacks.

Difficulty Increase:

★★

⏲ 2:39

Aftermath:

-I can get the Starbuster Core for later, but that is the only direct Astrum Aureus drop useful to me

-Due to the challenge rules, I am allowed +1 minion slot for defeating Aureus; bringing me to 11 max minions and 394 Sage Poison damage

Anahita & Leviathan

Summary:

Another fight that houses a boss with a large hitbox, but one that has consistently proven awkward to deal with in challenge runs due to being, as was spoken long ago by a friend, “too thicc for challenge runs”.

Anahita wasn’t a problem, as expected, as her mobility wasn’t enough to trouble the Viral Sprouts since it only takes 1-2 spikes for Sage Poison to start triggering, so the main point of concern was Leviathan.

Leviathan was… actually alright. Projectile spam and Sage Poison’s predetermined ~400 damage meant that I just had to focus on staying alive while my minions shot a bunch of spiky things at a giant fish for a couple of minutes. Aside from a close call near the end, the fight actually went swimmingly.

Difficulty Increase:

★★★

⏲ 3:51

Aftermath:

-Honestly, this fight doesn’t provide anything useful for this challenge, since most of their drops are weapons and because no significant events are locked behind this boss.

Golem

Summary:

Golem is still Golem and thus was a complete pushover in this challenge. The fists were stopped by sheer projectile spam and my damage against it was great, so really nothing to worry about.

However, it was about halfway through this fight where I felt something was wrong. After the fight I checked and… I’d… entirely forgotten to deal with Calamitas… oops.

Difficulty Increase:

⏲ 1:30

Aftermath:

-I can now get Scoria Ore because of the Picksaw, which by extension means I can get Bars of Life

–Bars of Life allow me to both increase my max health via the Miracle Fruit, and also craft the Star-Tainted Generator. I equipped the Generator because the explosion damage had better DPS than Statis’ Blessing could offer.

Calamitas

Summary:

Now I realise I am fighting it a little beyond where I was supposed to, but aside from a single minion slot and a Star-Tainted Generator not much about my loadout has changed since before fighting Aureus so I imagine not much would change.

Calamitas went much the same way as it normally does, with me using the usual strategies and dealing with aspects of the fight in much the same way.

The only thing to note was the fact that since Sage Poison can deal damage that bypasses defences, that I accidentally spawned the Soul Seekers while her brothers were still active, since a lot of rogue spikes had hit Calamitas and inflicted thousands of damage via Sage Poison and skipped part of the fight. Aside from that, however, it was an alright fight.

Difficulty Increase:

★★★

⏲ 2:43

Aftermath:

-I can now craft the Asgard’s Valor, ensuring I have a dash throughout the rest of the run

-I can now also fix my progression path… an issue that was entirely my own fault

Plaguebringer Goliath

Summary:

PBG was a fight I was a little worried about. While it was a similar story to Leviathan and Aureus in being a large enemy with a lot of health, it was also significantly more mobile than either of the other two. I farmed Plague Charger banners for its minions, though I never actually tested to make sure it actually affected them; simply assuming it would buff my damage since they shared a name with them.

PBG was… actually alright. Spike spam worked as well as it had done before and PBG was still vulnerable to the debuff, so I could focus on dodging for a few minutes and come out victorious.

Difficulty Increase:

★★★

⏲ 3:21

Aftermath:

-I was worried about Plaguebringer Armour, since I was unsure if I’d lose minion slots and unsure exactly how much of a difference the bees would make. Fortunately, I didn’t lose minion slots, and the bees actually made a huge difference to my raw DPS, so I crafted the armour ASAP.

Duke Fishron(s)

Summary:

The Feral Double Rod was once again used to summon this boss because I just happened to have it handy… which was exactly what I did last time I fought two of these guys at once.

And, like before, this fight actually went quite smoothly. Dashes and circling allowed me to evade both Fishrons, and focusing one Fishron down at a time minimised the risk of me accidentally taking them both to Phase 3 at the same time, which is the worst-case scenario anyways.

Difficulty Increase:

★★

⏲ 2:08

Aftermath:

-Aside from Fishron Wings the Duke doesn’t drop any useful items, since the majority of them are weapons

Ravager

Summary:

Ravager is a boss that I should’ve really fought earlier, considering it gatekeeps the other Hardmode minion slot buff laid out by the rules, yet I still postponed it until after PBG; a fight I was actually worried about.

Ravager was, frankly, decimated. It had all of the same weaknesses as some of the other bosses; being a large, immobile target, while also having Golem’s weakness of having several individual limbs that could all be affected with Sage Poison individually.

Phase 2 was a little more awkward, since it becomes a little more mobile and loses the multi-segment weakness, but it was still quite easy… maybe even the easiest I’ve seen Ravager in a challenge run for some time.

Difficulty Increase:

★★

⏲ 2:00

Aftermath:

-I get access to another bonus minion slot, bringing me to a max of 12 minions and thus 430 Sage Poison damage

-I also get my hands on some resources and materials, which are always appreciated

Lunatic Cultist

Summary:

Lunatic Cultist, meanwhile, was the opposite story to Ravager. While it did stay still when attacking its teleports gave it a lot of immunity time and decent mobility, and it had an immunity to Sage Poison and a small hitbox, so it was actually tougher than it normally is by a decent margin.

To make things worse, my minions’ projectile spam would consistently hit the clones during the summoning phases; causing Phantasm Dragons to spawn and allowing the Cultist to gain more attacks as the fight went on.

Overall, much tougher than I expected, but still entirely doable.

Difficulty Increase:

★★★

⏲ 2:14

Aftermath:

-The Ancient Manipulator and Lunar Events begin, primarily unlocking two items for me

–Firstly, the Absorber’s defensive utility is always appreciated

–After the Stardust Pillar, the player can also get Statis’ Curse for another minion slot. 13 minions grants me 466 Sage Poison damage; the final upgrade Pre-Moon Lord

Astrum Deus

Summary:

Once again we witness the boss I dislike fighting the most in these challenge runs, Destroyer II.

Astrum Deus is a painfully long fight for many reasons, but as a boss it almost seems designed to make life awkward for summoner or for players rocking either low damage or lacking piercing… and I fit all 3 of those.

Deus is immune to Sage Poison, which is always a great start for these fights, but the usual Calamity Worm Summoner Issue returns again as autotarget always tries to hit the tail… which doesn’t work since the Sprouts fire upwards and Deus is mobile enough to simply fly out of the way of the spikes before they fall down again. Manual target also doesn’t help much since AD can fly far enough away to dispel the manual target effect, which is especially problematic while it is enraged… which always happens in these challenge run fights.

Painful fight, would recommend you fight it Post-Moon Lord instead.

Difficulty Increase:

★★★★★

⏲ 15:45

Aftermath:

-You get Lunar Fragments. That is the only useful drop from Astrum Deus in these challenge runs.

-The Deific Amulet is nice, even though I do not have the accessory slot room for it so I made it and put it in a chest for later

Moon Lord

Summary:

The final part of Hardmode and the end of vanilla runs, though merely a gatekeeper for progression in Calamity. Moon Lord had two different issues emerge during the fight, one per phase, which are listed below.

Phase 1’s issue was as expected the central eye. Since it only stays open for a short time per cycle I was only able to get in about 4,000 damage before it closed again, and that’s including the damage dealt via Sage Poison.

Phase 2’s issue was because of the fact that the core was immune to Sage Poison; severely drawing out the length of the fight. Not great since Calamity allows Moon Lord’s attacks to also inflict Nightwither, making attacks that are already dangerous even moreso.

Not impossible, but a fittingly challenging end for the second third of the challenge.

Difficulty Increase:

★★★★

⏲ 11:41

Aftermath:

-Moon Lord’s defeat signals the end of the second part of the run and onto the third, final, and hardest part of the challenge.

-The Celestial Onion grants another accessory slot, allowing me to re-equip the Generator for a max of 15 minion slots and 537 Sage Poison damage.

-Seraph Tracers also free up another accessory slot for later, though I hadn’t yet decided what to equip yet.

[Final Notes]

And that is the second part of the Viral Sprout run, covering everything from the Mechs to Moon Lord.

Hopefully I will have the next part out soon, since I have a whole other one and a half challenge runs completed at this point that I need to draw art for and write up at some point that I don’t want to become outdated before being written like the P90 run.

Anyways, thanks for reading, and I hope to see you in the third and final part of the run once it’s uploaded.

See ya then 🙂

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