In Minecraft, hostile mobs are constantly attacking you from all sides. On the hard difficulty or with specific settings like Hardcore, you can easily get overwhelmed if you aren’t properly equipped. Going into battle takes a lot of preparation, and knowing exactly what you plan on fighting and how will help you understand what to bring with you. We’ve got a short list of the various pros and cons of each weapon in Minecraft, and we have them ranked by their overall utility at the late-game stage where all enchantments and resources are available.
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TNT, while technically a weapon in Minecraft, really serves a lot more purposes as a utility item than strictly as a weapon. It can be used to blast open tunnels, build complicated contraptions like automatic mining machines, or in the context of a weapon, used in various kinds of traps. The pyramid-esque desert temples that sometimes spawn in the overworld will have an example of a pressure plate trap set up at the bottom of the treasure chamber. If you step on one of the plates, the entire chamber explodes along with you and any loot in it.
You can use them this way, or you can place lit candles in the way of an arrow firing to light the arrow on fire and use it to ignite the TNT. Placing TNT around a village when you have a bow with the flame enchantment can be an excellent way to defend from a pillager raid.
The crossbow is the mechanized, slower, but an easy-to-use version of the bow. It can be loaded ahead of time so you can quick-draw it and fire but takes longer between shots than the classic bow does. It also has lower maximum damage on account of not being able to hold as many enchantments as the bow does, but does do more damage as a base, dealing 5.5 entire hearts of damage.
However, where it can contend with the bow is if you start loading it with explosive fireworks. With the multi-shot enchantment applied, a crossbow will fire multiple projectiles, duplicating whatever is loaded into it. If you combine it with the quick charging enchantment, this means your crossbow can blow apart hordes of enemies. In PVP situations this can be a game-changer, wrecking your opponent’s positions and possibly their cover itself.
It can fire enchanted arrows if you’ve gotten to the point of being able to craft them. You can make a crossbow by combining three sticks, a piece of iron, a tripwire, and two strings. Or, you can pick them up off dead pillagers. Sometimes the looted crossbows will have enchantments already applied, giving you access to enchantments without needing an enchanting table.
The classic bow is a versatile weapon, with numerous enchantments you can apply to it, and magical arrows you can use to change its effects. With the flame enchantment and the highest level of the power enchantment applied, the bow does some of the highest single-target damage in the game. It’s invaluable for fighting the ghast mobs in the nether, or other players in PVP. A basic bow with no enchantments does three hearts of damage when it is fully charged, but can crit for 5.5 hearts.
Establishing a chicken farm is an important part of bow-centric play, as this will give you enough feathers to keep making arrows. You’ll also want to carry a shovel with you and dig up any gravel you encounter while mining since it has a small chance of dropping flint each time it is mined. Getting ahold of a good bow early in the game can be done by slaying mass numbers of skeletons, who will occasionally drop heavily damaged magical bows. You can merge these using an anvil, and sometimes even be able to upgrade the bows as you go that way.
With all of its advantages, you shouldn’t leave your safehouse without a bow, or travel anywhere hazardous without arrows ready to fire. It’s also arguably the best weapon to have when exploring dungeons in Minecraft, as you can safely wither away the number of enemies before proceeding deeper. However, it is worth noting the Endermen are always capable of dodging away from arrow attacks, but it is possible to light them on fire with the flame enchantment on your bow.
Swords are an easy go-to weapon in Minecraft. They do a lot of damage with each strike, more than almost any other handheld tool you can acquire, with a netherite sword putting out four hearts of damage with each swing. They also swing quickly, with an instant cooldown in the bedrock edition but a 1.6-second charge time in the java edition. The other huge difference between editions when it comes to swords is that java allows a sweep attack with your sword if you hold still long enough. This lets you clear out hordes of smaller mobs, like magma cubes, just by standing your ground and swinging. It can be improved with the sweeping edge enchantment as well. Unfortunately, the bedrock edition has no such sweeping mechanics as of yet, so console players will have to just swing faster for the same effect!
You can often find enchanted swords in chests, or from the weaponsmith villagers that can spawn in any village that has a grindstone. Eventually, you’ll have the two diamonds you need to make a diamond sword. Eventually, with much mining in the nether, you will acquire enough netherite ore to make a single netherite ingot, and this can be used to upgrade your diamond gear into netherite. We’d recommend touching up your armor before using any netherite on your weapons since a full suit of netherite armor does provide immunity to damage from lava.
The Trident is notable for being the only weapon in Minecraft that can be used both close up and at a distance. It’s also notable for being the only weapon that cannot be crafted, only looted. The only way to get ahold of a trident is to find a naturally-occurring drowned mob that is holding one. Only a small number of drowned spawn with a trident, and an even smaller number will drop one. When it does drop, you will likely find it to be in very bad condition, and only useful for a small amount of combat. This means you’ll need to use a grindstone to combine multiple tridents if you want a weapon that will last you a reasonable length of time. Tridents do quite a bit of damage, striking for 4.5 hearts up close and 4 when thrown from a distance.
Another great thing about the trident is the unique and unusual enchantments you can apply to one. Riptide only works underwater or out in the rain and activates when you throw your enchanted trident. It will propel you in the direction it is thrown, allowing very rapid transit when underwater. Using riptide on a hostile mob will deal heavy damage to the mob and put you right in their wet face. Another strange enchantment is the channeling enchantment, that only functions when a thunderstorm is actively happening around you. Throwing this at other players, mobs, or lightning rods will cause them to be struck by lightning, doing heavy damage and lighting them on fire. A creeper struck by lightning will cause a massive explosion, potentially being a helpful way to start a mine. While its effectiveness is dependent on your situation, the trident can easily be the best weapon in Minecraft under the right conditions.
The axe is a great weapon in Minecraft, but whether it can beat out a sword depends on the edition of the game you’re in. If you’re playing Bedrock edition, it does slightly less damage than a sword but does significantly more damage to armor and shields than any other weapon in the game. It also automatically disables enemy shields that they’re holding. This means for PVP, it may be the undisputed victor, allowing you to cut right through defenses.
But in the java edition, the axe still has these benefits, but on top of that also deals slightly more damage than a sword. The cost is that it has a higher cooldown until it can be used to maximum effectiveness again.
Beyond its combat capabilities, the axe is more versatile than the sword. Swords can be used to cut bamboo or cobwebs effectively, but these items are much rarer and have more niche uses than the wood you’ll be dealing with constantly in the game. With its unique advantages and utility usage, we consider this the best melee weapon in Minecraft.
Join the High Ground
With an axe and a bow, nothing will be able to stop you out there in the wide world of Minecraft. Differences between Minecraft editions may ultimately color the final decision you make about which weapon to wield, but remember these tips and you too can take the higher ground.
We hope you found our guide on the best weapons in Minecraft useful and have obtained the best weapon for yourself. If there’s anything else you think we should include or cover, then let us know in the comments below!
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