The Basics of Minecraft PvP (or How Not to Be a Noob)

So, maybe you’re playing Minecraft: Xbox One Edition, using your iron pickaxe to get some ore, and you think, “Hey, I sure would like to test out my nifty new sword and bow on another real person!” But you might be afraid that you haven’t got what it takes to avoid getting ganked. Well, don’t worry! Here are a few tips to help you go from noob to elite killer status (or, you know, halfway decent killer status) in Minecraft’s player-versus-player (PvP) combat.

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Now then, on to the PvP tips!

Bring a bow

As much as you might be tempted to bum rush the unsuspecting opponent(s) in your PvP match, a quality long-range weapon can be a lifesaver as either a standoff skirmishing tool – or a way to give a fleeing wuss a parting shot.

Tip: Either put an Infinity enchantment on your bow or carry a ton of good arrows, as it won’t be of any use without ammo. Infinity enchantment is, all things being equal, the better choice – as not only do you only need to carry one arrow in your inventory (inventory mismanagement is a huge noob mistake, as we’ll discuss), but you can gather the fired arrows after the fight, and magically add to your total ammo!

Move quickly (and unconventionally)

Don’t rush straight at your opponent. That should be obvious, as it’s a good way to get shot or stabbed. But don’t run away in a straight line, either. More importantly, vary your speed. A Speed Potion can make this much easier, but even letting up a little on the thumbstick when it’s not expected can make all the difference when it comes to throwing off a foe’s timing.

Tip: Bring Ender Pearls with you to the fight. These allow you to teleport quickly to where the Pearl is thrown, making you very difficult to predict – and possibly allowing you to bypass your opponent’s traps, or get the heck out of a tough fight if all looks lost. Remember, though, that Ender Pearls will damage you (this damage can be mitigated with the right armor), so don’t use them if you’re down to your last few hearts.

Keep backup weapons (and other equipment)

While we always want to keep inventory as streamlined as possible (see below), one thing you always have to keep track of in Minecraft is the durability of your stuff – particularly weapons – in a fight. Smacking someone in the helmet with your bronze sword might be fun… but if it breaks and leaves you barehanded, you’re in for a world of hurt. Moreover, some foes may have armor that’s particularly susceptible to a certain kind of attack, or particularly resistant. If you encounter this, make sure you have some key alternatives to rely on for maximum damage.

Tip: Inventory management is really important, so if you find that you have too many backup or alternative items, consider enchanting your weapons/armor with Unbreaking in order to reduce the likelihood that they’ll suffer wear-and-tear when you whack someone with them. Keep in mind, however, that every piece of equipment can only have a certain number of enchantments on it, and you may be sacrificing more damage or other advantages in order to keep Unbreaking.

Beware the circle strafe

Often, when two opponents square off (or “circle off” as the case may be) in Minecraft, it often devolves into a circular dance of death – with both spinning around each other, launching probing shots with swords, and blocking with shields, for long periods of time. First of all, this is boring. Second of all, it’s highly predictable. Skilled PvP players will try to get you into this cycle, lull you into a false sense of security, and then smack you with a Potion of Harming, Weakness, or Poison… or just change strafing direction and get behind you. So, don’t let yourself get locked into this cycle. If you end up circling and swinging swords for more than a few seconds, pick an alternate strategy: Back up and switch to your bow, or cut across the circle and wait for your opponent to walk into your sword. Just don’t be predictable!

Tip: Never underestimate the snowball as a weapon to throw your opponent off his game. Yeah, they don’t do any damage – but they interrupt movement, and can cause wear on armor and shields. If you’re excessively circle-strafing, or engaged in any kind of standoff, hurl a few snowballs to throw the bad guy off, then move in.

Keep your PvP inventory clean

This final tip is easier said than done. It’s tempting, in a game like Minecraft – which is all about discovery, creation, and having cool stuff – to bring everything except the kitchen sink with you to a fight. Don’t do this. Most of the stuff you think you’re going to need, you actually won’t. Most of the stuff you actually do need can be simplified or consolidated down by use of enchantments, potions, or other shortcuts. You’ve got to realize that you can’t be prepared for every situation, and you’re better prepared for all situations by having an inventory that’s easy to find things in, fast. When you’re under pressure, you don’t want to be sorting through items to find the right shield. Keep a few things for the most common PvP scenarios, play to your strengths, and improvise the rest.

Tip: Bring your best stuff to PvP. It’s often tempting to leave the very best equipment behind so it doesn’t get broken or lost… but in a PvP fight, there’s no room for secondary options. Take the best stuff you’ve got, and don’t be afraid to use it. Otherwise, what are you doing PvP for in the first place?

See? Nothing to it, right? Just follow these five easy tips, and you’ll be well on your way to winning fights in no time in Minecraft: Xbox One Edition.