How to kill mobs in Minecraft

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Zombies, spiders, and slime, oh my! Half the fun of survival and adventure mode in Minecraft lies in defeating monsters and crafting cool structures and weapons. In this tutorial, we’ll show how to kill those pesky mobs and survive challenging worlds!

But first, a quick guide to Minecraft terminology. What is a Minecraft mob, exactly?

In the vanilla (no customizations or modifications) Minecraft game, any living creature players encounter is a mob. For the purposes of this tutorial, however, mobs are only considered entities that are hostile to the player and extend the "EntityMob" class. 

(For more background on this and more, our breakdown of game modes in Minecraft is a useful starting point.)

Commonly encountered Minecraft mobs include Zombies, creepers, and spiders; talk about spooky! To survive and face these creatures, you’ll need a few helpful tools in your arsenal.

How to gather materials for Minecraft weapons

These don’t come from thin air, so first things first: gather and assemble what you’ll need to fend off Minecraft mobs.

Crafting Torches

If you want to protect a structure at night or mine deeper into the ground, you will need torches. Torches keep bad guys from approaching the area and are key to survival. To craft them, you’ll need to gather charcoal and place it above a stick.

First, open a furnace and burn a block of wood using either wood or wood planks. The output will be charcoal! Then, open the crafting table and place a charcoal above a stick—you’ve got your torch. Beware, mobs of Minecraft!

Crafting Tools

The materials used to create tools can be wood, stone, gold, iron, and diamonds. There are pros and cons to each of these materials; it all depends on what your ultimate goal is.

Wood is the easiest resource to get, but wooden tools also break the fastest. Diamonds are the best material to make tools, but until you find diamonds, look for iron! Keep in mind: gold isn’t good for anything with durability—tools, weapons, or armor

But of course, you’ll need to mine all of these materials first! The best tool for mining is a pickaxe, ideally made of stone.

About Mining for Materials:

-When digging into the ground, first make a staircase so you don’t get stuck...something sure to put a damper on your mining goals.

-Dig one block in front of the character, drop down, and then dig another block - again in front of the character - until they reach the desired depth.

-Make sure to bring lots of torches!

When mining, never dig straight down—just don't do it! If you dig down, you could fall straight into lava, die, and lose all of your stuff. Also, be careful when going into caves. There are lots of enemies in caves, and you will need to practice your combat skills!

Using these new tools, spend a night out fighting to test them. Make sure to put all of your important stuff in a chest so you won't lose anything valuable in the fight.

Minecraft Kill Command Guide: How to Fight Bad Guys

When the sun goes down, the monsters come out! If you’re above ground, get your weapons on hand. If you find yourself in a cave, make sure to have your weapons ready at all times, because the sun doesn't shine underground.

Here’s a list of common monsters you’ll encounter in the game and how to fight them:


These adversaries can be heard approaching with their moaning and gargling. Fortunately, zombies are the easiest to destroy.

  • Keep hitting until the zombie falls, or it’ll chase you.
  • Collect the loot! 
  • Remember, zombies will burst into fire when the sun comes out.


Sometimes spiders can be heard before being seen due to their hissing, but sometimes they just pounce! If you encounter a spider during the day, they won't attack unless you attack first. But if you meet one in the dark, they better prepare themselves for battle!

Keep in mind, spiders are tricky creatures in Minecraft!

And, spiders can see players through solid blocks, and can climb obstacles like fences.

  • The only defense against a spider (besides slaying it) is to get into a small space.
  • Spiders are two blocks wide; they don’t fit in one-block spaces, so that’s a great defense against them.


Skeletons attack with bows and arrows, meaning they will usually shoot from far away. They don't miss very often, but they may drop a bow and some arrows if killed.

  • The best way to kill skeletons is to rush them and swing a sword. 
  • If you want a bow and arrow for later use, hunt the skeletons to see if you can snag one.
  • Just like the zombie, they’ll also burst into flames during the day.


This mob can be the most difficult of all to defeat. They attack at night and when killed they explode, destroying all structures in the area and damaging all nearby players.

  • Kill creepers with an arrow to keep them at a distance.
  • They don’t destroy structures in Peaceful mode, so you may want to activate that to protect what you’ve built.
  • A good way to keep Creepers away from your buildings is to build a fence around the area you want to protect.

How to craft a bow and arrow

An essential weapon in your survival arsenal, crafting a bow and arrow is a surefire (no pun intended) way to defeat mobs galore.

Getting string in Minecraft

The easiest way to get string for your bow is to defeat spiders. Luckily, you’ve been practicing your fighting skills, so that should be no problem. Remember, the best strategy is to hide in a small space and hit the spider until it dies. When defeated, the spiders will drop string which can be used with sticks to craft a bow. 

How to get arrows in Minecraft

The easiest way to develop arrows is from skeletons. When skeletons shoot arrows, you can collect them!

To craft arrows yourself,  you will need: 

  • Feathers (found by killing chickens)
  • Sticks (from any wood planks)
  • Flint (mining in gravel—sometimes a gravel block drops flint)

Note: gravel is affected by gravity, so make sure you aren't standing underneath it or it will collapse!

How to shoot targets using a bow

To use a bow, press and hold right-click, and then release to shoot the arrow. To aim, move the mouse around. 

In creative mode, bows have unlimited arrows, so it is perfect for practicing, but in survival mode, you will either need to enchant their bows with infinity, or bring lots of arrows. May the odds be ever in your favor!

Ready for battle! 

Now you can defend yourself against enemies in Minecraft! Armed with all the weapons and skills you’ll need, you’re ready to face challenges of survival mode and more. 

Looking to level up your game? Unlock the secrets of the game with a Minecraft summer camp or 1-on-1 Minecraft modding tutoring!

A photo of Virginia

Virginia started with iD Tech at the University of Denver in 2015 and has loved every minute since then! A former teacher by trade, she has a master's in education and loves working to embolden the next generation through STEM. Outside the office, you can usually find her reading a good book, struggling on a yoga mat, or exploring the Rocky Mountains. 

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