- Burntcustard talking in 3rd person
*Update!* - As of the beta 1.2 update, stone and iron weapons and tools last twice as long! I will update this post when I upgrade my computer and can take a better quality video.
Part 1 of this guide covers strategies and items used to kill Aggressive mobs whilst up close. (Not including creatures from the Nether)Whilst playing Survival Single Player on Normal difficulty.
Monsters in Minecraft can be a nuisance, a tool for getting loot, or can be killed for fun*
*Killing for fun is not a good enough reason to kill any of your pets, siblings or associates in the real world.
Monsters all have 10hp (hit points) each, and objects which are not weapons or tools only do 0.5 damage. It is not a good idea to take on monsters, or even go outside during the night with only your fists as defense. Swords allow you to dispatch monsters quickly, and are nearly essential for survival.
This video and table shows attributes of the most commonly used close combat weapons in Minecraft. Other tools are not included because they do not kill monsters efficiently. Look at the table here if you want information about other tools. The "Stone/Iron Sword" values are for 4 stone and 1 iron sword.
I do not recommend the wooden sword for killing Monsters, whatsoever. A good tactic to use when equipped with it is to RUN FOR THE HILLS. On a more sensible note, you can easily skip the 'wooden' tech level sword and go straight to stone. The wooden sword, however, is 4 times better at killing monsters than your hands, so it is better than nothing.
The stone sword is okay at killing monsters, but in my opinion it is not good enough to go out at night and expect to survive long. A good use for the stone sword is just to clear spiders and creepers away from you settlement in the morning. The stone sword has the advantage of being able to kill pigs and cows just as quickly as the Iron sword. Another good point about this sword is how "cheap" it is to produce.
The iron sword is good enough to let you stay out all night safely if you are good with using it*. The iron sword is relatively costly to produce if you use a lot of iron for minecarts etc. An advantage of the iron sword is how good it is with the bow, although that will be saved for the next guide.
A combination of stone and iron swords will allow your iron sword to last up to 3 times longer, whilst still maintaining the same number of hits to kills ratio. 2 hits with the stone sword, and 1 with the iron are needed to kill a monster. This technique needs 4 stone swords for every iron, but because stone is so abundant, this should not a be a problem.
If you need wood**, have only found 3 iron, and don't have much stone, then you might want to make an iron axe for hitting badies with. The Iron axe however, is only as durable as the stone sword at killing monsters, so I only recommend it as a backup weapon or if you cannot get stone for some reason***.
Diamond Axe or Pickaxe
Again, these alternatives to a sword only do as much damage as the stone sword, but they last much longer. If you are low on iron and diamonds, and are concerned about the stone swords low durability, consider using one of these as a temporary close combat weapon.
*I take no responsibility for people being eaten by zombies, blown up by creepers, or anything else bad happening to them.
**I haven't got wood.
***I've got 4 double chests of stone, even though I built a huge castle.I don't know how you could have a shortage.
The diamond sword is the one you really want. If you cannot get it, the stone/iron combo is very efficient if you can cope with switching weapons quickly. If monster combat is not what floats your boat(or boosts your minecart?), and/or you have resource complications, consider using the iron axe or diamond pickaxe/axe as weapons.
In the next section of the guide i will cover:
The bow, and bow/sword tactics