I'm on a world where Hardmode has not been activated, and I found a demon altar spawned over some sand. Here is a visual representation:


[*] = Altar
D = Dirt
S = Sand

I was clearing the path and by mistake I removed the bottom sand block, making the upper one fall, and then the altar wasn't over 3 blocks anymore. The game made a sound like when a zombie dies, and the altar dissapeared.

No message appeared. I didn't lose any HP. It may have any colateral effect in-game?

  • Interesting. I thought (clearly mistakenly) that even doing that wouldn't destroy a demon altar, the sand block would stay floating in air because the altar held it in place from above. Apparently not though
    – Joe
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 14:34
  • I wrote hardcore instead of hardmode xD Thanks for the edit ;) Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 11:46
  • This happened to me also. I came here to ask the same thing but see it is already answered :) I believe my altar fell into water after destroying the sand block
    – miva2
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 11:01

2 Answers 2


What you experienced was the correct result. The source code for the destruction of Demon Altars has this in it, near the start of the method:

if (!Main.hardMode)

This means that if the world is not in hardmode, then the rest of the code for spawning the hardmode ores will not execute, resulting in the Demon Altar just disappearing.


There is nothing on the wiki proper about it, but it is mentioned on the talk page:

If the blocks below the altar is sand and that you break the blocks below the sand blocks, it will destroy the altar.

There is no explicit mention of whether this will spawn hard mode ore or not, but the wording seems to imply that it will not. The only way to know for sure would be to check the decompiled game code.

EDIT: Brian Hansen has included code from the game in his answer which answers whether this spawns hard mode ore definitively.

  • 3
    I've done this a few times before now and I've not seen it spawn any hardmode ores, and no message is shown to suggest that anything has happened. Pretty sure it simply destroys the altar with no side effects.
    – JonK
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 15:26
  • I am inclined to agree, but I don't know for sure. Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 17:50
  • Do I lose anything by having an altar destroyed prematurely?
    – miva2
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 11:01
  • Strictly speaking, yes, as you no longer can get the ore that destroying that altar would have provided you in hardmode and can no longer use it as a crafting station. Practically, no, since there are far more altars in the world than you can possibly need. The only thing would be if it were in a convenient location. Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 19:32

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