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Weapons

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Weapons are used to kill mobs faster and may either be found as loot, or created via crafting. When you left-click a mob no more than 3 blocks away, you deal a level of damage based on what you are holding. There are currently only two items in Minecraft which are considered as proper weapons: Swords and Bows. Axes can also be wielded as weapons (as can some other tools), but they are considered tools, and therefore have detrimental side-effects when used as weapons.

Weapon materials and efficiency

Swords can be crafted of five different materials. The sword materials, from highest to lowest attack strength/durability, are as follows:

  1. ItemCSS
    Diamond
  2. ItemCSS
    Iron Ingot
  3. BlockCSS
    Cobblestone
  4. BlockCSS
    Wood
  5. ItemCSS
    Gold Ingot

Each material has a limited number of uses (referred to as the weapon's level of Durability) and will deal a specific number of hearts damage (attack power). Better materials mean both more damage and higher durability, with the exception of gold.

Critical Hits

Critical hits can be dealt by sprinting or Jumping and then landing a weapon strike.

Dealing damage

Mobs' health is measured in "hearts", just like the player's.

Mob Health
Slime Varies based on size - 0.5 to 8x Heart
Magma Cube Varies based on size - 1 to 8x Heart
Silverfish 1x Heart
Chicken 2x Heart
Bat 3x Heart
Snow Golem 3x Heart
Wolf 4x Heart
Sheep 4x Heart
Cat / Ocelot 5x Heart
Ocelot 5x Heart
Cow 5x Heart
Pig 5x Heart
Squid 5x Heart
Ghast 5x Heart
Sheep 4x Heart
Creeper 10x Heart
Zombie 10x Heart
Skeleton 10x Heart
Zombie Pigman 10x Heart
Blaze 10x Heart
Horse 15x Heart
Shulker 15x Heart
Enderman 20x Heart
Horse 20x Heart
Iron Golem 50x Heart
Ender Dragon 100x Heart
Wither 150x Heart

This is a chart cross-referencing weapons with materials to find the amount of damage dealt. Notice the pattern.

Wood Gold Stone Iron Diamond
Sword
Two Hearts
Two Hearts
Two and a Half Hearts
Three Hearts
Three and a Half Hearts
Axe
One and a Half Hearts
One and a Half Hearts
Two Hearts
Two and a Half Hearts
Three Hearts
Pick
Minecraft Health
Minecraft Health
One and a Half Hearts
Two Hearts
Two and a Half Hearts
Shovel
Half a Heart
Half a Heart
Minecraft Health
One and a Half Hearts
Two Hearts

As fists and arrows do not have a "material", their damage is constant. Although Hoes are tools, they are not counted as weapons and have the same effect as fists (no durability loss and same damage).

Bow/Arrows
Minecraft Health
Three Hearts
Four and a Half Hearts
Fist
Half a Heart

Before Beta 1.5, fist and non-tool attacks did Half a Heart damage. This was increased in Beta 1.5 to Heart damage, but was then reverted in 1.8 The Bountiful Update. However, this was balanced somewhat with the addition of critical hits.

Bows 

Main article: Bow

Arrows provide ammunition for a bow, and can either be crafted or found as a common drop from Skeletons. When fired, they will fly in a ballistic trajectory affected by Gravity and drag in air or Water traveling approximately 3 blocks when fired parallel to a flat plane with no charge, 15 blocks average with medium charge, and 24 blocks average with maximum charge.

Tools as weapons

Axes, Pickaxes and Shovels can be used as weapons. If the player is holding anything besides these three or a sword, a normal attack will deal 'fist' damage. However, the Durability of a tool will wear down at twice the rate if it is used as a weapon, with the rationale that it is not being used for its intended purpose.

Weapons as Tools

Swords will break many blocks faster than punching them by hand, but each broken block wears down the durability of the sword at twice the rate, similar to when tools are used as weapons, as it is not being used for its intended purpose.

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