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How to Survive in Minecraft: The Do's and Don'ts to Minecraft Survival (Survival Guide Blog Contest entry) (Very long sorry!)

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Lyronis's Avatar Lyronis
Level 39 : Artisan Skinner
How to Survive in Minecraft: the Do’s and don’ts to Minecraft Survival.

Hello, if you are reading this it means you are attempting survival in the world of Minecraft. There are many things you should and should not do if you wish to last longer than a night in Minecraft. The purpose of what you are reading is to help you as much as possible with survival. This is much more than just a guide; I want whoever reads this to not only survive, but to prosper in Minecraft. Let’s begin with the basics:


The first step to making a shelter is gathering materials. You don’t really need anything special to make a shelter worthy of lasting one night, so let’s start with getting wood. Wood is generally found in forests or, well, any wooded area really, so begin by looking for wood. If no wood is nearby, try to find something else for a shelter. I would suggest you either dig a hole or go somewhere unreachable by monsters, like a high cliff or other place that requires mild to moderate parkour skills to reach. You may have the thought occur to you to build a dirt hut for your first shelter, which would work, but I personally would not build one as a creeper can easily blow it to pieces, and, without wood, you would have to trap yourself in it, which would make it very dark, meaning monsters could easily spawn in it depending on the size of the hut. Once you find wood, it would be wise to build a wooden hut, but keep some logs for making into charcoal. Once you have everything you need (wood, torches, a crafting table, a door), build your shelter. I would recommend making a house on stilts, with ladders to get it because mobs cannot climb ladders. For spider protection if you decide to go with a house on stilts, you can build a deck around the house, leaving only a small space for the ladder. If you have enough stone, you can build a shelter with it, since cobblestone is more blast-resistant than wood. Once you manage to get enough building material, you can eventually build yourself a true home, and you can consider making the walls multiple blocks thick, so as to make it extremely blast-resistant. The next thing you should look for once you get a shelter is:


Food is probably the second-most, if not the most, important thing ever in a survival world. Without good food, you won’t last very long.  I suggest trying to find either pigs or cows for food, as their meat heals the most hunger points out of all the animals. I would also suggest you look for sheep, since they drop wool, which is necessary for making a bed. If you find chickens, you may want to keep them alive and lead them back to your house with seeds, as they can lay eggs, which are necessary for cake and can be used to get more chickens. If no animals are around, you may wish to try making a farm. You will need a hoe and some crops. I recommend growing wheat first, since it is easy to get. Once you get seeds, you will have to find somewhere near water to grow your wheat at, since farmland needs water to support the crops. Once planted, there is little you can do to speed the growth of your wheat, unless you have bonemeal, which can be used as a sort of fertilizer. If you are unlucky enough to be lost in a desert, your only choice of food will be the rotting flesh of zombies. Rotten flesh is a terrible food that gives you a small amount of hunger and has an extremely high chance of giving you the hunger effect, making you hungrier than you were before. Only eat rotten flesh as a last resort. I would only recommend eating spider eyes if you are extremely starving, but even then don’t, because if you do you will be poisoned for a good five seconds, and they only heal about a half-bar of hunger. Although, if you find spiders, you may be able to create a fishing pole, with which you could catch, cook, and eat fish. Just be careful not to eat a pufferfish, as they are extremely poisonous and will make you horribly sick. After acquiring food, you may want to find the next thing you will need:

Armor, tools, and weapons.

If you found cows, then you can kill them to get both their meat, which is a very good food, and their leather, which you will need for leather armor. Lather armor is a very basic armor that can be colored any color, and offers just enough protection to survive a zombie attack, but nowhere near enough to survive a point-blank creeper (Though not much will save you from that). After leather, you may want to go after iron armor, which is next best compared to diamond. I would not recommend making gold armor, unless you plan on displaying it on an armor stand, or if you only found enough iron to make an iron pickaxe. If you manage to find enough diamonds, make diamond armor AFTER you make a diamond pickaxe. Though diamond armor is the most protective armor in the game, and it could most likely save you, it is more important to have a diamond pickaxe instead, since they have many uses, are almost indestructible, and are the most efficient next to gold. Now, onto tools, which are very important to have.

Perhaps the most important tool to have in survival mode is a pickaxe. Without a pickaxe, you cannot advance easily, as you need one to get stone, iron, diamonds, and basically any ore. To make a pickaxe, it is simply three of the material you are using in a straight line on the top of the crafting table, and two sticks, one in the very middle, and one in the bottom middle of the crafting table. Obviously, the first pickaxe you will make is wood, but from there you can easily jump straight to stone, which you need to get iron. From iron, you can get all of the remaining ore and make any pickaxe you want or need. Diamond pickaxes, as I said earlier, are the best pickaxes, as they can mine anything and can break through the other ore very quickly. A golden pickaxe, though fast and though they can be enchanted very easily, are very soft, and only about wood-level of mining capabilities, so I would not recommend them unless you need to mine a small amount of stone very fast.

The next tool you may find useful is the axe. With an axe in hand, you can chop down tress much faster than with your hand, but they are not completely necessary for survival unless you need to chop down many trees quickly. Along with the axe in unnecessary tools is the shovel. A shovel is pretty much only useful for clearing out dirt, gravel, or sand. I would recommend you wait on the shovel till it would really come in handy, like If you need to clear out a large amount of gravel and you don’t have TNT, or if sand collapses on or near you and blocks your path. The one tool I would not recommend making unless you feel you just want it is a hoe. Hoes are pretty much the most useless tools in Minecraft, and I often hold out on making one until I decide to make a farm, then they are actually useful.

The next thing you will need is a sword. A sword is perhaps the most important tool, next to a pickaxe. Without a sword, it would be very difficult, though not impossible, to kill even a zombie. Attempting to kill an enderman, which I find to be the hardest mob in Minecraft, without a sword and at least an Iron Chestplate and helmet, is like trying to fight the Ender Dragon without at least five enchanted golden apples. While it can be done, it is very difficult. You will perhaps be using your sword almost as much as you will be using your pickaxe. To craft a sword, you put one stick in the bottom middle of the crafting table, and two materials in the top middle and the very middle of the crafting table, sort of in the shape of a sword. Like with the pickaxe, you can quickly go from a wooden sword to a stone sword. As I said with the pickaxe, after stone comes iron, and then you can make a diamond sword. I would not recommend making a golden sword unless it is for displaying, but even then don’t, as there are many uses for gold.

Another useful weapon is the bow. A bow is useful for taking out enemies from a range, and is necessary for earning an achievement called “Sniper Duel,” which to earn it you must kill a skeleton from fifty blocks away. Keep in mind that though bows are very useful, they cannot be used against an enderman, as they are very quick and will teleport away before being struck by the arrow. Now that I have cover armor, tools, and weapons, I shall cover one final important topic:


The word mob is a very general term meaning “Mobile Entity.” It is used for all of the living creatures in Minecraft. I will only be going over, though, the neutral mobs and the hostile mobs in Minecraft, as the passive ones are quite simple and you will never have to worry about them. The neutral mobs are mobs that will not attack unless provoked. These include the wolf, the zombie pigman, the enderman, and the Iron Golem.

The wolf is a neutral mob that can be tamed, but I will cover them later. All you need to know about the wolf right now is that, if untamed, if you hit one they will all turn aggressive and attempt to kill you.

The zombie pigman I will also cover later on in this guide, but for now I tell you this: They only spawn in the Nether or near an activated portal in the overworld. If attacked, they will call their brethren and all of them will try to kill you. They are fire-proof, carry golden swords, and are very quick, so I would recommend you either leave them in peace or, if you really want to kill them, you think up an alternate strategy that does not involve you directly attacking them.

Endermen, as I said earlier, are perhaps the most dangerous of all the mobs in Minecraft besides the Wither Boss and the Ender dragon. They have the ability to teleport and can pick up and place blocks. Unlike the others, they are aggravated when you look them in the eye or at their upper body, but they will also attack you if you hit one. My strategy for fighting them is to stare at their feet so as to not make them teleport, because if you look them in the eye whilst fighting, they will likely teleport away. Their weaknesses are water, and the fact that they are three blocks tall, making it hard for them to approach you and kill you if you hide under a two-block tall roof, but also making it difficult to, say, disguise as an enderman, though it is not possible to in Minecraft anyways.

Iron golems are the guardians of the villagers, and will only spawn rarely in large enough villages. They will forcefully swing their arms and smash and throw mobs that attempt to attack the village. They are extremely tough, taking fifty endermen to finish off one iron golem, and can hold their own against even the Wither Boss. They can be created, although they are incredibly expensive to do so, as they require four iron blocks and one pumpkin to create. An iron golem’s biggest weakness is probably the fact that they are so heavy that they sink in water, and cannot move.

The hostile mobs are very dangerous, though can be stopped. I will only go over the strictly overworld hostile mobs, as there are already many of them. First off, the zombie. Zombies are pretty weak, and can be stopped by anything that hurts. They, like all the other hostile mobs, will attack on sight, and will lumber over to you very slowly. Once hurt, however, all the others will slowly make their way towards you, so be careful. One thing you might not know about zombies is that as they get injured, their strength will go up. The easiest way to dispatch a zombie is with anything painful besides your fist. When it is daylight, they will slowly burn up and die.

Skeletons are the next mob I would like to cover. Much like zombies, they will burn up and perish in the sun, but they are smart enough to find shelter either under a tree or in the water. Skeletons are armed with bows, making them a slight challenge. My strategy is to hide behind a tree and wait for him to come over and then kill it.

Spiders are much like zombies, though they do not burn up in the daylight and are much quicker. They can also climb walls and are not affected by webs. A simple strategy for taking one down is to simply charge it and finish it off quickly. You might get hurt in the process, but you should be able to survive. When it is day time, or if it is bright enough, spiders will become neutral.

Next up, I would like to talk about the creeper. Although endermen are perhaps the most dangerous normal mob, the next most dangerous is perhaps the creeper. With the ability to explode when to close to the player, they are very difficult to kill with a sword, and I would recommend using a bow. If you have no bow, you can try a hit-and-run tactic: Charge into the creeper, hit it with your sword, and then turn tail and run before it can blow, and repeat until it is dead. If a creeper manages to blow you up, there is an extremely low chance you will survive, with that chance being almost zero with no armor. Another fact about creepers is that if they are blasted by lightning or if lightning strikes nearby a creeper, they will be charged, making them more powerful and giving them a bigger boom.

Silverfish are small insects that can infest any form of stone block, and can be quite the nuisance in swarms. Due to them being smaller than a chicken, they are hard to hit, and I would suggest maybe bringing either a splash potion of harming or a splash potion of poison, though the poison will not kill them. If possible, try to avoid large groups of silverfish, as they would be a major nuisance to deal with.

Guardians are fish-like creatures that spawn in the ocean, near ocean monuments. They spawn in large quantities and can fire a laser out of their eye that will deal damage. If their spikes are out, they will deal damage to you when you hit them, much like the thorns enchantment. There is no real efficient strategy to use whilst fighting guardians, so I would suggest maybe just ignoring them and heading either into or away from the ocean monument, though think carefully before going into the monument, because inside there are three giant elder guardians which I will cover later.

Cave Spiders are much like regular spiders, only they are smaller, weaker, and can poison you. They spawn in mineshafts, inside special rooms filled with cobwebs with one spawner. My strategy is to place as many lights up as you can, then use your sword to chop through the webs, placing more torches as you go, and placing one or two, maybe three or four torches around and on top of the spawn cage, so as to light it up enough so that they cannot spawn. Once you have lit the room up and cleared out some or most of the webs, you can kill any cave spiders that are already there. Be careful to not let them bite you, though, because as I said earlier they can poison you if they hit you.

Slimes are only a minor nuisance, since they only spawn either really low down or in swamp biomes. They come in three different sizes: small, medium, and big. The small ones are puny and cannot hurt you, though are a nuisance and get in your way. The medium ones are stronger and can hurt you, though they are still weak, and will go down easily. The big ones are a slight problem, but they are still quite easy, and can be easily killed. Once you kill a big one, it will split into multiple medium ones, and when they die, they will split into multiple small ones, so expect to earn a lot of exp whilst battling them.

Witches spawn randomly at night, and are minor problems. Their specialty is throwing potions at you, giving you random effects that can be harming, poison, slowness, and weakness. They can spawn, though surprisingly rarely, inside of a witch hut, which generates in swamp biomes. They also spawn when a villager gets blasted by lightning. They will, when damaged or when on fire, drink potions that you can get if you manage to kill them while they are drinking their potion. Witches are quite tough, but not impossible.

Endermites randomly spawn when either an enderpearl is thrown, or when an enderman teleports. They are basically silverfish, but they are purple, and slightly smaller. You will want to deal with them the same way you would a silverfish.

These are all or at least most of the hostile mobs that spawn strictly in the overworld, but there are still more mobs, and the overworld is not the only dimension that there is. There are many more. Next, I will discuss:


First, you have the overworld, which you probably already know about. There is also the Nether and the End. I will start with the Nether and the mobs that spawn there.

First, you will most likely be greeted by zombie pigmen. As I mentioned before, zombie pigmen are neutral, and will only attack if you provoke them first. My strategy for fighting them is don’t. Once provoked, they will all swarm you, and you will no longer be safe in the Nether for quite a while until they calm down, if they ever do. If you really feel the need to destroy one, I suggest doing so in such a way as to not provoke them, perhaps by shoving them off a cliff with a piston or suffocating them with sand or gravel. I would actually recommend you leave them alone, because they drop nothing useful unless you like gold nuggets or the extremely rare gold ingot or piece of armor or sword.

The next thing you are likely to see in the Nether is a ghast, though if you see one it is highly likely it has already seen you, because they can see you from about one hundred blocks away. Their only attack is to spit exploding fireballs at you, which can cause massive damage if not avoided. You may wish to use a bow, though it is possible to kill them by deflecting their fireballs back at them. Ghasts are easily recognized by their large white body and their many tentacles.

If you are lucky enough (or perhaps unlucky enough) to find a Nether fortress, which I will talk about later, you have a chance to encounter the following mobs: Wither skeletons and blazes. I will talk about blazes for now. Blazes are basically a head floating in the middle of a ring of rods, surrounded by smoke, and can shoot fireballs. The fireballs will light you on fire if you are hit by one of the three a blaze shoots. I recommend either range with a bow, or close-up with your sword. If you have them with you, you can throw snowballs at a blaze to deal damage and eventually kill one. Blazes drop items called blaze rods that can be used to craft brewing stands or turned into blaze powder that can be used for either brewing or making eyes of ender, which I will talk about later.

Wither Skeletons are another monster you will find roaming the halls of the Nether fortress. They are big black skeletons that wield stone swords and will give you the wither effect if they strike you. They are fire proof, so fire attacks will not hurt them. My suggestion is using a bow to defeat them from long range, though a sword works if they get close. You will need to kill at least three of them in order to create the Wither Boss, which requires soul sand and three wither skulls to make, though the skulls are an extremely rare drop, so you will most likely be spending many hours slaying wither skeletons trying to get their skulls.

The final mob the spawns in the nether is the magma cube. Magma cubes are much like slimes, though they are made of magma, jump higher, have a higher defense than slimes, and can actually hurt you when at their smallest. Due to the fact that they are difficult to kill with them practically flying through the air at you, you may wish to consider using a bow, though it is possible to kill them with a sword while they are on the ground, as they are slower to jump than slimes. Magma cubes drop magma cream, which is used in brewing.

Those are all of the mobs that spawn in the Nether dimension, but there is still the End, which I will now talk about. To reach the End, you will need at least eleven-to-twelve eyes of ender to reach the End. Once you find an End stronghold, you will have to find the portal room and use the eyes of ender you have to open the portal.

The first mob that you will see, if not the Ender Dragon, will be the Enderman. I have already mentioned these mobs before, but I will try to explain them better now. Endermen are tall monsters that start of neutral, though if you look one in the eye or attack one, it will become hostile. You will be warned if an enderman was provoked by an unearthly sound. When angry, an enderman will open its jaws wide and rush at you, teleporting if necessary, and attack you relentlessly. Next to the infamous creeper, endermen are perhaps the hardest non-boss mob in the world of Minecraft due to them having the most health and the hardest hit. They can teleport and pick up some blocks. I would suggest if you wish to make your house enderman-proof, making the roof less than three blocks tall, using slabs or even just making it two blocks tall, since endermen are three blocks tall. My strategy is to bring iron armor and an iron sword and fight whilst looking downward, since they hit hard and because if you look them in the eye they will most likely teleport away. An interesting fact about endermen is that they do not like water and will get hurt and teleport away if they come into contact with it, so you will not have to worry about endermen trying to kill you if you are out and about at night in the rain. Endermen also do not like the sunlight and will teleport around if they are caught out in the light, though they do not burn in it like undead, nor do they get hurt in it like with rain. Endermen have incredibly quick reflexes when it comes to projectiles, and will teleport out of the way if any sort of projectile is thrown or shot at them, making bows completely useless against them. If you kill an enderman without dying you will be rewarded with an enderpearl, which can either be thrown, which will teleport you to wherever it lands at the cost of a few of your hearts, or you can combine one with blaze powder to create an eye of ender, which is necessary for finding the End and opening the portal.

That is all I have to say about the regular monsters, but there are still the:

Boss Mobs.

There are currently two actual bosses and one mini-boss in Minecraft: The Ender Dragon and the Wither Boss being the actual bosses and the Elder Guardian being the mini-boss. First I will talk about the Ender Dragon.

The Ender Dragon is likely the first boss you will fight, and arguably the easiest boss in Minecraft, though I’m most certainly not saying it is easy. The Ender Dragon spawns in the End, and will simply fly around waiting for you. The Ender Dragon has a lot of health, and will almost constantly be getting healed by Ender Crystals that are on top of obsidian pillars. I would recommend bringing at least two stacks of ladders, though you may wish to bring lots more. First, you must break the Ender Crystals in order to prevent the Ender Dragon from healing, and then you can begin fighting. The Ender Dragon will continuously swoop around the End, flying around in the air and coming down only to hit you. When the Dragon comes to attack, you can counter by hitting it with your sword, causing it to fly away. If you are a good enough aim, you can try shooting it while it is still flying around. I suggest bringing full, enchanted diamond gear into the fight, as the Ender Dragon can kill you very easily. You may also find it wise to bring a few enchanted golden apples with you. Once you finally kill this creature, it will explode in a flash of bright lights, dropping the most experience points you’ve ever seen. Upon death, a portal will appear underneath where the dragon died, with the Ender Dragon’s egg on top. Though there is nothing you can do with the egg, it makes quite the trophy, signifying that you killed an Ender Dragon.

The next boss, and possibly the hardest boss in Minecraft currently, is the Wither Boss. Created by you yourself using four soul sand and three wither skulls, the Wither Boss is the only boss that you create. Upon being summoned, the Wither Boss will immediately begin healing itself to full health, and when it is fully healed it will explode in an explosion powerful enough to wipe out any under-armored players or mobs within a large radius. Once done healing and after the explosion, it will begin to rampage, killing everything in sight. As I said before, an Iron golem can go one-on-one with the Wither, though the Wither Boss will most likely hover just out of reach of the iron golem and kill it. The Wither Boss, unlike most Minecraft mobs, has two phases. The first phase begins when you first spawn it in. It will go on a rampage and hover just out of reach of your sword, forcing you to use a bow or get higher ground. Once you bring the Wither Boss down halfway, it will drop closer to the ground and use “Wither Armor,” a magical barrier that reflects arrows, forcing you finish it off with your sword. Once dead, The Wither Boss will drop a Nether Star, which can be used to create a beacon, though makes a good trophy by itself, signifying that you slew a Wither Boss and that you are a force to be reckoned with. The Wither Boss can also regenerate, making it harder to kill. Also, it can break clean through most blocks, meaning you are not safe at home.

The Elder Guardian, while not a true boss and definitely not the hardest mob in all of Minecraft, is still a force to be reckoned with, as they only spawn in Ocean Monuments, and there are three of them per monument, and because they give you mining fatigue. They are basically giant, pale guardians, with the same abilities as guardians. I would suggest you simply bring good armor and a strong sword and swing at it until it is dead. The elder Guardian drops prismarine shards and crystals, a wet sponge, and has a chance of dropping raw fish, raw salmon, clownfish, or pufferfish, making them not very necessary to kill, though they are the only way to get sponges.

Those are all the boss mobs in Minecraft, and as I have basically covered all of the important parts of Minecraft survival, I will wrap this up with a quick list of the Do’s and Don’ts to Minecraft Survival:


Build a raised shelter.______________________________________Build a roofless dirt home!

Look for animals for food.___________________________________Eat rotten flesh or pufferfish!

Try to get iron armor at least.________________________________Make golden armor!

Make a diamond pickaxe first._______________________________Keep your wooden pickaxe!

Try to get an iron sword at least._____________________________Make a useless golden sword!

Use a sword or bow to fight mobs.___________________________Use your fists to fight mobs!

Avoid endermen and creepers if you don’t have iron armor.________Fight them with no armor!

Tame wolves.___________________________________________Hit wolves!

Ignore zombie pigmen.____________________________________Provoke the pigmen!

Deflect a ghast’s fireballs.__________________________________Forget your bow to go fight ghasts!

Kill lots of wither skeletons._________________________________Give up hope after the first three!

Bring a pumpkin to the end._________________________________Hug the endermen!

Make an iron golem.______________________________________Attack a naturally spawned iron golem!

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12/12/2015 2:12 am
Level 5 : Apprentice Engineer
Phoeniq's Avatar
well i have to admit if there was a prize for longest story... you just won it!
other than that its very informative and quite helpful
12/12/2015 9:26 pm
Level 39 : Artisan Skinner
Lyronis's Avatar
Ha-ha, yeah I know :) and thanks! I wanted it to be helpful, like an actual survival guide, and not just give the very basics to surviving
12/11/2015 5:58 pm
Level 39 : Artisan Skinner
Lyronis's Avatar
Sorry this is very long, those of you who read every last bit of it! I had a lot to put down, and it kind of dragged out. But hey, if you liked it, leave a diamond!
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