The minecraft combat update is just about the scariest update yet. Between hordes of skeletal steeds, enemies flying at you from above, and even beetroot soup (good luck living through that one—blech!), you’ll need all the training you can get to survive. Ready? Well, then, let’s go prepare for Minecraft 1.9: The Combat Update.
Learning to Fight – Attack Mechanics, Shields, and the Off-hand
1.9 is called the Combat Update, so it’s probably a good idea to start teaching you the combat part, eh? Let’s begin with the offensive.
In 1.9, not all weapons are equal! Swords, shovels, pickaxes, and axes all do different amounts of damage, but in 1.9, each weapon also has a period of time that it takes for the weapon to charge up for maximum damage. The period of time is short, but it makes a difference! This means that you need to be strategic about which weapon you use. For example, axes do the most damage, but they are the slowest to charge, whereas swords are the fastest to charge and do the second most damage. Thus, for quick kills that will take a few hits, you might want to use an axe, but in a fight with a stronger enemy, you might choose a diamond sword, which does the most damage per second.
Though bows still act the same, there are many new arrows for you to use to make zombie shish kebabs! Enemies hiding from you? Shoot them with a spectral arrow (crafted with four glowstone dust around one arrow) to make their outline glow temporarily (see image), even behind blocks! Feeling like being extra mean? You can craft a tipped arrow (8 arrows around a lingering potion of your choice). Upon shooting it, the mob you hit will gain the potion effect you crafted the arrow with!
Swords no longer block as of 1.9, so you’ll need a new method of defense during combat. That’s what the shield is for! When you use a shield by pressing the place block/use button, any melee attacks are reduced to 33% damage and projectiles do no damage. Note that an attack by an axe may disable the shield for five seconds. Feel like decorating your shield? You can currently craft a shield with a banner to add a pattern!
Note that in this image (and in others) the player holds two items. This is because in the inventory GUI there is a new slot next to your player with a shield symbol that is for a secondary item, like a shield or block. Items in this off-hand can be used when the main hand is not able to use its item (meaning that it’s empty, holds an item without a use function, like a sword, or holds an item that cannot be used at the time). Shields are useful to hold in the off-hand while a sword, axe, or other weapon is in the main hand.
Setting Out for Adventure – New Challenges of 1.9
Now, you know how to fight with the new mechanics, but don’t let that fool you into thinking you’re ready for the challenges that 1.9 presents! Your enemies are everywhere, and they are very sneaky, so you should always be prepared to engage in combat…
If you plan on exploring, first off you’d better know how to travel. In 1.9, boats are a bit different. For one thing, you need to craft them with a single wood type as well as a wooden shovel, since there are now paddles for each boat and each boat is a unique wood type (the boat in the image to the right is a dark oak boat, for example). To move the boat, use your WASD keys. W is forward, A is left, S is backwards and D is right. The best part? Your boat can fit a passenger! Take that delicious—er, I mean, well-loved—cow with you and sail forth!
If feeling artsy, you’ll find that there is also a cool grass path block you can make by using a shovel on a grass block with air above it. Note that should you break the path block, it only drop dirt, even with Silk Touch. Grass paths are slightly shorter than a normal block, as shown by the beautiful sheep model in the image to the right (bottom).
A Place to Rest: The Igloo (Combat Not Included)
So, now you’ve travelled a long way and night is setting in. 1.9 has worn you down, and you don’t feel like fighting mobs all night. Nearby, you see an odd, snowy dome… that’s right, 1.9 adds igloos to the game! These little structures only generate in Ice Plains and Cold Taiga biomes and contain a bed, furnace, and crafting table. If you break a piece of the carpet, you may find a hidden trapdoor (exposed in middle image below) that leads to a dungeon with a villager and zombie villager within. As stated in the heading, combat is not included in the package, since the zombie is caged. If you want a fight, you have to make it yourself! However, if you choose to kill the zombie, you might be missing out on an opportunity. Using the materials of the dungeon, you are able to cure the undead foe and turn him into a villager again! That’s science at its finest.
New Dangers: The Elytra and the Skeleton Trap
Okay, you’re sick of exploring at this point. Where are all of these challenging mobs you’ve heard so much about—Gah! What’s that attacking you from above? A player has swooped in from the sky and is now slashing at you with his sword! Watch out, PVPers, because the Elytra (see left image below) is an item found in end ships (discussed later) that allows players to glide through the air. It does obey the laws of physics, meaning that you can’t fly for an infinite period of time and crashing into walls will hurt you, but any airborne player is sure to be a challenging opponent in combat! The best way to take care of them? Ready your bow!
To use the Elytra, just put it in your chestplate slot and tap space in mid-air. After that, just look to where you want to go to glide! The Elytra will take damage for every second you fly, but it will prevent itself from being destroyed, simply stopping flight when it is almost completely broken. It can be repaired with leather (four pieces to fully repair) or crafted with another Elytra in order to fix it.
A storm roles in overhead, and lightning flashes nearby, illuminating a skeletal figure on a hilltop. Is that a horse, you wonder? You grow closer to it. Yes, it IS a horse, and despite being skeletal, he’s pretty darn cute! You reach out to pet the cute little horsey.
Word of advice: Unless you came prepared to fight, do NOT pet the horsey.
When you draw within ten blocks, lightning will strike once more, and three more steeds shall appear. Even worse, each of the four steeds will have a powerful skeleton astride its back (see right image above), armed with enchanted helmets and bows. These traps spawn occasionally when lightning strikes during a thunderstorm, more often on higher difficulties. They’re fast and deadly, so if you plan on entering the trap, be prepared for some serious combat!
The Final Obstacle – The 1.9 End
You think you’re some sort of expert warrior now, huh? Well, think again. Perhaps the greatest addition of the Combat Update was an expansion of the End, including changes to the ender dragon boss battle. Gear up, soldier… you have quite the fight ahead.
Finding the End will be easy; 1.9 upped the number of strongholds per world from 3 to 128. Once you’re in the portal, the first thing you’ll notice is that the obsidian pillars with the healing crystals on top are now in a circle rather than a disorderly jumble; some, you might see, have cages on top, preventing you from just shooting the crystals.
Oh, you thought I was going to tell you how to get up there and bust those crystals? Bah, you’ve had enough training; you can do that yourself. No, I’m only here to warn you: not only some crystals are caged, but the ender dragon forgot to brush its teeth and has, well, real dragon breath. Occasionally it will hover above the exit platform and spray purple particles at you which do damage if they hit you. However, if you’re the resourceful type, you might pull out a bottle and fill it with the stuff. This Dragon’s Breath item is the ingredient that you brew into a potion to turn it into the Lingering Potion mentioned earlier (though brewing now requires fuel, blaze powder), which, when thrown, leaves a stationary cloud of its effect for a certain time period on impact.
Wonders of the End: Chorus Plants, End Cities, and Ships
Hey, where are you going? Don’t jump through that exit portal yet! No, the fun’s not over. Grab an ender pearl from a nearby enderman (I’m sure they’ll be happy to let you bother one, if you ask nicely, or maybe if you just decapitate them) and throw it into the structure that has appeared with a beacon shooting from the top and bottom. This, you’ll see, is the portal to a whole second world, a world of infinite end islands, filled with beautiful trees and fortresses, as shown to the left.
Those purple plants you see (top image)? Chorus plants. Their flowers (the large blocks on the end of each stem) can be taken and planted to create new plants; the plant itself drops chorus fruit and is broken like a cactus (from bottom up), which can be eaten. Note that eating the fruit will teleport you a short distance! The fruit can also be smelted into popped chorus fruit, a crafting ingredient in Purpur blocks.
Speaking of Purpur blocks, that’s what those purple blocks in that tiny bit of an end city you see there (center image). That endstone-colored block is ender brick, of course. Delightful, isn’t it? And that’s just a small section! End cities like that spawn very rarely, but they can be huge. Just take a look at the whole picture of it (bottom image)! Within the end city, you’ll find chests containing loot and even the occasional ender chest, all guarded by- well, we’ll get to that later.
Just a couple more things before you get to go off on your own. That there is an end ship (top left). Notice the dragon head on the bow? Like the Elytra, those heads are only found on these rare ships, so treasure them when you find them! The Elytra, by the way, is found in a treasure area below deck (bottom left). That white rod is an end rod. They serve as a common light source in end ships and end cities and can be crafted by combining a popped chorus fruit with a blaze rod.
The ships are even rarer than the end cities because they only sometimes spawn around a spawned city. The ships always spawn high in the air, slightly away from the island and the end city which it spawns next to. Sometimes there is a long purple path with an arch at the end that represents a pier; the ship often will spawn toward the end of this pier, should it exist.
Now, with all these delightful treasures and blocks, you probably want to know who is guarding them, right? That’s the job of the shulker. Shulkers disguise themselves as purple blocks; when they are inside their shell like this (top left), they take little melee damage and no projectile damage. When they pop out of their shell, however (bottom left), they can be fully attacked, but they will also attack you! Shulkers fire projectiles that can turn but only move in straight lines, along the x-, y-, and z-axis. When one of their projectiles hits you, you be damaged, gain the levitation effect, and float straight up! Feather Falling is greatly advised for shulker combat as result, since the levitation will likely cause you to take a lot of fall damage. One last note on these guys is that they sometimes teleport upon being damaged at low health, so watch your back at all times!
Well, friend, you’ve fought through just about every beastie 1.9 has to throw at you, and survived every instance of combat. Very impressive! Now, a few things were left out, but those are all the main features. You might find the occasional item such as beetroot stew which didn’t make it in (and for good reason! Once again: Blech!), but these features are uncommon and less important than those mentioned above. However, one thing I would advise checking out are updates to End Crystals (click link to go to wiki page). 1.9 plans for them to be craftable as well as a method of respawning the ender dragon!
If you want to learn more about any of the features listed on this page (as well as any current feature of Minecraft) I highly suggest that you go to minecraftwiki.net for information on all things Minecraft! Two particularly useful pages in viewing 1.9 features are the Combat Update page and the Version History page. Use them to learn all about what’s in development for the game.
Anyway, that’s all from me. You’ve done well, soldier, and are now a formidable warrior in any version of Minecraft, 1.9 included. Good luck in Minecraft 1.9: The Combat Update.