The Minecraft dual wielding feature is often confusing to casual gamers, while beginner gamers sometimes avoid the feature entirely. However, once you acquire some knowledge of how it works and key combinations to use, you can become even more efficient when conquering the world of Minecraft.
This post will teach you about three categories of usage: fighting, mining, and building. Dual wielding tremendously improves all of those gameplay aspects while holding on to the same Minecraft play-style that we know and love. After all, two hands are better than one!
The Fundamentals of Minecraft Dual Wielding
Since the 1.9 update (the “Combat Update”), there is a shield icon in everyone’s inventory, which is the ‘off-hand’ slot. Equip anything into the slot in your inventory by left-clicking the item, and then dragging it into the slot. When you close the inventory you will see your off-hand carrying the item. The hot-bar will also have a new slot (on the left-hand side) for the off-hand item. These changes are shown in the image below.
For an easier shortcut, you can press the F key (if you haven’t changed this in your settings) to equip an item that is in your hot-bar to your off-hand. This will also swap the items if there is already an item in the off-hand slot.
This is a direct quote from Dinnerbone, a Minecraft developer:
“The way I want dual wielding to work is that it uses the right click action of your off-hand item if your main-hand doesn’t have its own.”
What Dinnerbone outlines here is an underlying rule for dual wielding. So, for example, if you have a bow, food, or ender-pearls in the main-hand, anything in the off-hand will be ignored. This is because those main-hand items have mechanics that occur when you right-click (firing, eating and throwing).
If the usage of an item in the main-hand is limited briefly, then the off-hand item is used instead. For example, once fired, the use of ender-pearls has a short cool-down timer, which allows the off-hand item to be used during that period.
Fighting Uses for Minecraft Dual Wielding
Shield and Weapon
One of the most basic dual wielding combinations used by fighters includes the shield (in your off-hand) and a sword or axe (in your main-hand). This combination opens up both defensive and offensive opportunities during combat. If a shield is in your off-hand, right clicking your mouse can block projectiles and ensure you are dealt less damage. Left clicking your mouse can allow you to immediately attack right after with a sword or axe. A combination such as this is essential with the new combat mechanics.
Another combination allows you to use different types of arrows with one bow. Let’s say that you want to shoot a Cupid’s Arrow (a special Empire Minecraft custom item) out of a bow. However, you also have a regular arrow in your inventory. Not wanting to dispose of the regular arrow, how can you choose to shoot the special, EMC exclusive arrow? By dual wielding, of course! Hold the bow in your main hand, while equipping one of Cupid’s Arrows into your off-hand. Lock onto your target and fire! Any arrow in your off-hand will override any other arrow.
An additional trick is used when fighting; and particularly useful during Ultra Hardcore (UHC). This involves holding and consuming golden apples (or any food) while slaying with a sword. For quick emergencies in combat, simply right click and eat away. Of course, the lack of defense can hurt more, so know when to use which combination. Either of them will help you gain the advantage in PvP or combat encounters.
Mining Uses for Minecraft Dual Wielding
Do you ever find yourself juggling with items in your hot-bar? From torches, to ores, stone blocks, and extra food, your inventory is probably a mess.It causes a lot of chaos and wastes a lot of precious mining time too. The Minecraft dual wielding mechanic helps solve this issue. For example, torches and tools work great together in mines or caves.
With torches in your off-hand and a pickaxe in your main-hand, you can left-click to mine without interruption while right-clicking to place torches. This will mark the area and stop mobs from spawning as you go. Rather than searching your inventory for torches every second, you are using the ease of your off-hand.
This can also be used to diffuse mob spawners alongside regular mining. Remember being intimidated of that spooky block? No more! With a sword or pickaxe in one hand and torches in the off hand, quickly place torches and defend yourself against any hostile mobs.
The fortune and silk touch enchanted pickaxes can also benefit from dual wielding. This is because it becomes easier to switch to the most suitable pickaxe when you’re mining.
While mining, simply place the silk touch pickaxe in any main-hand slots and equip the fortune pickaxe in the offhand. I suggest using the silk touch pickaxe to gather blocks which would change state when they are mined. However, if you encounter coal, diamond, or lapis ore, make sure to switch from your silk touch pickaxe to a fortune one.
You could use other shortcuts to switch between regular hotbar slots containing the pickaxes. However, if you keep the alternative pickaxe in your off-hand and use that shortcut, you can switch between both tools more efficiently.
Building Uses for Minecraft Dual Wielding
101: Blocks and Tools
The most basic Minecraft duel wielding combination for building involves placing your tool in the main-hand and your blocks in the off-hand. This way, when you’re destroying a block with a left-click, you can replace it instantly with a right-click to place the block you are keeping in the off-hand.
However, there are alternative combinations to make building easier; one of which is the block and ladder combination. While holding the tower-material block in the off-hand and ladders in the main-hand, easily create a ladder tower in one climb without having to jump back down and place the ladders afterwards.
How does this work? Simply place a block down, and then attach a ladder to it while walking forwards and climbing. As you hold down right-click, the blocks you place will alternate between the main block and the ladder. This means that to build the tower in one go you can just hold W and right-click with your sights pointed slightly down to place the next block up, followed by the second ladder, the next block, and so on. This works – despite Dinnerbone’s rule – because a ladder cannot be placed without something to attach to, so the off-hand block is placed to expand the tower, with the ladder than taking over priority because it is in the main-hand.
Soon enough, the tower will be sky-high. A 20 block tower created in less than 10 seconds. These tricks can save so much time with any tall creation!
Easy Redstone Torch Staircases
Another trick involves redstone torch staircases, as shown below. Do you ever find yourself falling off blocks when you’re trying to make one quickly? By dual wielding while using the sneak key, redstone torches, and your regular blocks, staircases are no longer a challenge.
First, place the torches in your main hand and the block of your choice in your off hand. You need to press K to swap the items and place one regular block to begin with. This is where the staircase will start from. Then press K again. When you right-click, the blocks you place will now alternate between the torch and the building material, to make building the staircase a smooth process.
Place the block now. Next, hold down the Shift key, walk backwards, and right click to place down the torch.
Finally, jump and right click your mouse at the same time, placing a regular block down on top of the torch. Slide over to the other end of the block and repeat the same process. It’s relatively easy after you get the hang of it!
Minecraft dual wielding offers so much potential. With more practice and experiments, even beginner Minecraft players can better their experience. Have fun with these features and I hope to see you on Empire Minecraft!