Guide: PVP

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Getting Equipped

To stand a good chance in any PvP encounter, you'll need to be well-equipped. This means you will need diamond gear with high-level enchantments suitable for combat. You will also need a surplus of food and a variety of potions.

Full Diamond

Once you are fairly established, you will want to upgrade your iron armour and sword to diamond. It is highly recommended that you get five diamonds initially to make a pickaxe and enchantment table. Enchant the pickaxe at level 30 for a chance to get the fortune III enchantment. You will need at least fifteen bookshelves to have the capability to enchant at level 30. If you do not get fortune III on your diamond pickaxe in your first attempt you will have to make another pick and try again.

Once you have a fortune III diamond pickaxe, find some diamond ore and mine it with the enchanted pickaxe. The best way to find diamonds is via a stripmine. Information on efficient mines can be found at the Minecraft Wiki. It takes 24 diamonds to make a full suit of diamond armour and another 2 diamonds to make a sword. If you have a silk touch pickaxe, you can use it to mine diamond ore in its raw form and store it away until you get a fortune III pickaxe.

Leveling Up

While a suit of full diamond armour and a sword will serve you well against mobs and poorly equipped new players, it will be nearly useless in a fight against a serious PvPer. To have a chance, you will need weapon and armor enchantments. The easiest way to get experience is through the use of an experience grinder for which you need to find a mob spawner, or preferably several mob spawners close together. The best way to find a mob spawner is through a lot of cave and abandoned mineshaft exploration. Follow large cave systems and leave no passage untouched and you should find one soon enough. Once you find your spawner you should set up an experience grinder around it. There are many styles and methods of creating an experience grinder. If you aren't sure how to make a grinder for your spawner, you can find tutorials for most types by searching online.

Sword Enchantments

The best swords for PvP have a high sharpness level and fire aspect on them. Knockback can be useful too, but it depends on your style of fighting and the type of fight you're in. High knockback levels tend to be more useful during battles where you are outnumbered by powerful opponents or are in mountainous terrain. Knockback swords are used well in combination with bows and throwable debuff/harming potions. Some players bring two or even three swords of different knockback levels with them.

Armour Enchantments

The best sets of pvp armour should have protection enchants on them. You should also try to add unbreaking III via enchanted books to all of your diamond armor because armor tends to degrade rapidly during high-level PvP.

The basics

The Protection enchantment protects you from all types and sources of damage, whereas the individual ones such as fire protection only protect you from specific damage sources slightly more effectively. Always aim for protection instead of the others, and always enchant diamond armor at level 30. Ideally, you should always wear a set of full protection IV unbreaking III diamond armor with minimal durability damage and keep a backup set in your inventory in case parts of your armor break mid-combat. The helmet has the lowest maximum durability of all armor pieces and boots also have a relatively low durability so you may want to carry additional helmets and boots. Try to avoid having the thorns enchantment on any of your diamond armor because it causes your armor to deteriorate much faster in combat and deals an insignificant amount of damage to the opponent.

Specific Enchantments

A good guide to choosing the best enchantment levels to enchant items at can be found here. This is useful for maximising the probability of getting the enchantment that you want.

PvP Potions

Potions are necessary in PvP. Even if your enchantments are inferior to those of your opponent, good use of potions may still see you win the fight. Finding Nether Wart and Blaze rods to start your potion kits can be difficult, especially late in the month, but there are usually players who are willing to trade their Nether Wart or Blaze rods for diamonds. When an opportunity arises to make a safe trade or to raid an untouched Nether Fortress, you should take it.

Note that for strength, speed, poison, and regeneration potions, there are two useful tiers. The base potion is tier I, which can either be made into tier II or an extended version of tier I. The extended type has the same effect as the base potion, hence why it is often referred to as tier I, but has a longer-lasting effect. This is done by adding redstone to the base potion. The other is tier II, which is a more potent version of the potion that lasts half as long as the base potion. This is created by adding glowstone to the base potion.

Potions besides those listed above either cannot be raised to the second tier but can be extended, or alternatively, cannot be extended but can be raised to the second tier. An example of this is fire resistance. The base potion lasts for three minutes and gives immunity to fire and lava, so naturally its effect cannot be intensified into a second tier, but the effect can be prolonged with the addition of redstone. Instant health on the other hand, obviously cannot be extended. However, adding glowstone will double the amount of health it replenishes.

For more information on brewing potions, go here.

The potions that help most in PvP are as follows:

Strength

A strength II potion will increase your base melee damage dealt per hit by 3 hearts and triples the durability damage that you do per hit on your opponent's armor. An extended strength potion is also very handy for grindouts because it provides eight minutes of slightly increased damage and it doubles durability damage per hit.

Fire resistance

This potion gives you 8 minutes of fire immunity. This makes enemy lava bucket and fire aspect attacks useless for the duration of most fights.

Speed II

This potion increases your speed for 1 minute 30 seconds. It's useful if your opponent tries to run from battle or if you need to get away long enough to drink another potion or flee the fight. It can also be used as an agility boost to help you dodge melee attacks and arrows more effectively. Some players choose to make this a splash potion so that they can throw it on themselves on a whim in battle.

Healing II

This potion will heal 6 hearts of damage when used, useful if you are close to dying or have been hit by an enemy poison potion. Splash healing is sometimes preferred by players due to the speed at which you can use it.

Splash Poison

Poison II splash potions are good to quickly bring down your opponent's health. Use these when you have the strength II effect and your opponent is getting low on health to quickly finish them. Extended splash poison potions are used to keep your opponent's health down or at least to slow down their regeneration. It also impedes their movements because of the damage it causes them to take every second. The poison effect's damage is reduced by armor protection.

Splash Harming II

Against unarmoured opponents this potion is deadly, dealing 6 hearts of damage on a direct hit. While armour and protection enchantments reduce the power of it it can still be useful, especially if caught in a small area where it is hard for opponents to dodge.

Regeneration

Regeneration potions are perhaps the hardest to brew potions, requiring the difficult to get Ghast Tear, yet they are considered one of the best potions. Regeneration I is great to use throughout most of the battle to keep your health up while Regeneration II is great to use when you need to have near-immune status to your enemy's attacks, although generally not recommended due to its short duration.

Other useful items

Steak/Porkchops

When fighting, you will want to use a food that not only replenishes as many food points as possible, but also saturates you for a long time. Steak, cooked porkchops, and pumpkin pie all restore four hunger points each. However, pumpkin pie does not have a very high saturation, so you won't be "full" for as long. Conversely, golden carrots have the highest saturation of any food. However, they are slightly less effective as a food source than steak or porkchops because they only restore three hunger points.

Pickaxe

If your opponent decides to flee and stop you from following him you'll kick yourself if you aren't able to break through his blocks to get to him because you left your pickaxe at home.

Ender pearls

Useful for escaping an enemy who would otherwise kill you, or catching up with an escaping enemy. They can also be used to disorient the opponent and dodge their attacks.

Lava/Water buckets

Water buckets are also useful for slowing down your opponent. Lava buckets are a good move if your opponent is trapped in a hole, or if you don't have a fire aspect sword. Note that these are nearly useless during high-level PvP, and are recommended only if you are in iron or less.

Golden Apples

As soon as you have gold, you should craft golden apples. The normal type are useful when fighting mobs and in low-level PvP. Later on, you will want enchanted golden apples which cannot be crafted but are found in chests in spawners, nether fortresses, etc. Enchanted golden apples provide thirty seconds of regeneration IV, as well as five minutes of fire resistance and resistance.

Warning: Although it is tempting to use enchanted golden apples as a way to become invincible during high-level PvP, the regeneration IV they provide for the first thirty seconds allows you to be hit significantly more rapidly by your opponent which takes a huge toll on your armor. Thus, it is advised that you limit how many you use, especially if you don't have several backup sets of armor on you.

Ender Chests

Whether you use them as an extension of your inventory during long grindouts or simply for restocking after a battle, it is recommended that you always pack a few ender chests loaded with extra PvP armor, ender pearls, and potions with you. This will put you at a great advantage over your opponent as long as you take from it when they are not attacking you. Although your ender kit depends on your playstyle and inventory loadout, it is recommended that the potions in your ender kit be of the extended tier. This is to prepare you for grindouts; prolonged wars of attrition that usually end when one player depletes their potions or breaks their gear.

Strategy

It is difficult to be successful in a PvP situation if you have no conception of strategy. It is recommended that you read up on basic maneuvers and tactics, practice PvP in an arena setting with experienced fighters, and develop a playstyle that suits your skills and exploits the weaknesses of your opponents.

Maneuvers

There are a few basic skills you should master before learning advanced tactics and coming up with a strategy for PvP. Some are as follows:


Sprint-Hitting:

When you hit someone while running towards them, you knock them back farther than with a normal swing. Use this against your enemies to knock them down from high places or to create space between you and them for an escape or to manage your inventory during combat. This effect is magnified with knockback swords.

Critical Hits:

If you hit your opponent while you are falling, you deal extra damage to health and armor durability which adds up with the strength of your weapon and your strength-related status effects. Be careful not to jump too often to get crits when your opponent is facing you and hitting you. Being airborne makes it easier to get knocked far back which will potentially prevent you from getting more hits for a period of time. Nonetheless, this trick is great when your opponents have their back towards you or are in the middle of managing their inventory.

Strafing:

As your opponent swings their sword at you, try moving from side to side or around them to land hits on them as they miss hits on you. This is best done with the speed effect and is useful almost anytime you are fighting in an open area. In general, make your movements unpredictable. Don't always run straight at your opponent, or if you do, abruptly turn and run to the side occasionally. This will make splashing debuffs, shooting, and hitting you with a sword much more difficult for your opponent.

Block-Hitting:

This is a technique where you attack your opponent and effectively block at the same time by left clicking and right clicking in rapid succession. This is best done in tight spaces when you are starting to get low on health and need to buy some time by letting regeneration heal you back up while still keeping your opponent's health down. Note that blocking reduces your turning speed and prevents you from sprinting, so it may be difficult executing this on a strafing opponent and is not recommended for most PvP.

Splash Buffing:

If you make your buff potions into the splashed form by adding gunpowder, it is important to know how to throw them to get their full effect. A common mistake is to throw them at the ground. The best way to get the full effect of a splash potion is to throw it directly up, useful before entering combat, or to throw it horizontally while sprinting, useful most of the time to quickly buff yourself up or heal in the middle of a fight. For this reason, you should not throw debuff/harming potions while continuing to sprint unless you want to get hit in the face with them. It is also recommended that you turn away from your opponent before healing yourself with a splash potion, otherwise you may be inadvertently healing your enemy.

Tactics

You need to have a goal when you are in PvP with someone. That goal might be to escape or to continue fighting to kill your enemy. Whatever it is, you will need an understanding of some PvP mechanics to develop tactics which will help you achieve your goal. First, you will need to survey the surroundings to see if you can use any part of the terrain to your advantage and to check for potential hazards. You will also need to compare your opponent's gear to yours judging by the information you have. This will help you decide whether to flee or to fight and will help you figure out how to do so.

Listing all tactics in all potential situations is impossible, but here are some that are practical in frequently-occuring situations:

Use the Element of Surprise:

If you spot someone outside spawn or in the wild, drink your buffs and quickly move towards them stealthily and then attack as much as possible, especially in a place from which they cannot escape. Make sure to stay on them, you don't want to risk them retreating to drink their potions or running away entirely. As long as you do this, you're likely to kill them because you will have attacked them so much and they will be most likely be unprepared to retaliate. However, make sure they aren't equipped much more than you, because this can backfire. This tactic is also useful after stalling (information on that below) in a long battle when your opponent's buff effects wear off and you catch them off guard.

Take advantage of bottlenecks:

If you are outnumbered by your enemies, consider using a choke point such as a mineshaft, bridge, or other very narrow passage to decrease the "strength in numbers" of your opponents. Bottlenecks can also provide a predictable path for your enemy where you can set a trap or fire projectiles with perfect accuracy. If you use this effectively, you can withhold or even defeat your enemies by forcing them to fight you one at a time instead of all at once. However, use this tactic with caution. Always make sure you have a very quick way out and better gear than any of your opponents. Remember, even if you kill one, you will need to face the others and generally this will make running a better option.

Feign Weakness:

If you are certain that you are defeating your opponent but do not want them to flee, try to find a dead-end location where you can lead them into unescapable death. This can be a ravine, narrow cave, or deep valley surrounded by mountains. Pretend that you are low on health or even take off your helmet to lure them in with your vulnerability. Whatever you do, make sure you have a regeneration II potion /regeneration IV golden apple effect on and make sure you aren't actually threatened. Once you bait your enemy, put on your helmet or heal yourself and kill them.

Stall:

Stalling an opponent is a good idea after they drink or splash themselves with buff potions and you are low on health and/or have deleterious potion effects. To stall an opponent, it is best to use your surroundings. Running is often ineffective if they have pearls, but if you have pearls you can try to throw several pearls in opposite directions quickly and randomly to confuse them. Also, try to take cover in a forest or cave, or behind a wall/mountain. Pearl into a deep body of water as battles in water tend to be very slow-paced grindouts. Running on large chunks of ice is also useful because it will be difficult for your opponent to keep up with you due to the skidding. If you are fighting in an enclosed space such as a base and you have building blocks, wall yourself in and go through a mineshaft or nether portal to lose them. When you are back up to health and think that their buffs have worn off, you can resume the fight. You can drink an invisibility potion to make your nameplate invisible through walls, or if you want to be completely invisible you will need to take off your armor. This is a very risky move, however.