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This is a guide for Hardcore Mode written by a man who was still in the middle of his second game of Hardcore and edited by those who shared his vision. The following is what he wished to share with those of us who feel the need to beat video games on their hardest setting.

First, thank Notch we now actually have something to work towards, not that you minded aimlessly wandering the wilderness in search of... of.... an even more epic mountain than that last one; and the endless hunt for more diamonds is still a core part of the average Minecrafters psyche. But now, with the addition of this horrific terror, new challenges have been laid out before you. The last of which being to slay that beast you lovingly know as the Enderdragon, and all the while the slightest slip, burp, or Explosion; the slightest lapse in judgement or one too many careless impressions of the jump key, could dash your dreams and aspirations to bloody pieces.

Welcome to Hardcore Mode!

Secondly, this might be one of the hardest games ever to beat on its hardest setting that has ever been made. So beware travelers, this may end up driving you to a deep state insanity. Even now, the author of this guide teeters on the brink of such a state.


Here is a list of guiding Principles/Standards/Commandments/HardLearedLessons, that should always be practiced while Hardcoring.

In no specific order:
  • Always Kill Chickens! Feathers > Diamonds
  • Break Gravel Blocks Often! Flint > Diamonds
  • Live every moment like there is a creeper behind you, chances are there is.
  • Keep your Hunger meter full at all times, regenerating health is salvation.
  • Always sprint out of doors and cave openings.
  • Assume there is Lava behind that block you are breaking.
  • Assume your next seemingly safe step will drop you into an ocean of Lava, oftentimes in caves, what looks like a safe step may be a 20 level drop into the said sea of Lava.
  • Listen for Lava. It makes a popping sound similar to the sound a Slime makes.
  • By now I hope you get that Lava is probably going to be what kills you.
  • Iron Armor is the difference between life and death.
  • If you want experience, go to a desert at night, because the geography is easy and the sand color makes it easier to spot a lot of mobs.
  • NEVER take large risks (jumping over a hole that is very deep, working with lava in an uncontrolled enviroment) unless absolutely necessary. There are big rewards available, but also big failures available.
  • Play in Survival Mode first, to strengthen your confidence and experience. This is a big help to newcomers as you don't re-spawn in Hardcore.
  • It can be unsafe to go out at night, unless you have good equipment or enough knowledge and abilities.
  • Don't worry about storing your items away. You won't be returning once you die...


  • Sword. The best one you have. Don't waste your time, finishing off the stone/iron sword, before switching to the new one. Assign your most easily accesible thumb button to it and learn to block every Creeper explosion and Skeleton arrow.
  • Water Bucket. Second most important item in the game. It can be save you when falling down the ravine or in case of sudden lava spill. If you don't have second thumb button to have it assigned to, keep right below the sword to be able to quickly scroll down.
  • Bow. In most situations, it is your best weapon. Unfortunately, it is very limited by number of arrows you have, so always make sure that firing is not a waste of arrow. Keep it below your sword (or above, if the spot is reserved for the water bucket).
  • Torches. You will find them very useful while in caves or in the Nether.
  • Pickaxe. You will find it useful in caves and the Nether especially.
  • Solid block. Can help to prevent lava spill or allow to quickly climb up.
  • Shovel/Axe. They are not usually necessary at the same time.
  • Food. You might find it convienient to have food constantly on your hotbar.

Step by Step Guide to Hardcore

Now that the basics have been established, let's move on to the more nitty gritty details, shall we say. At the time of writing this guide, the author was in the middle of a game of Hardcore. Using the following strategies he was at least able to reach level 38 and have endless stacks of iron, 4 Enderpearls, 37 Diamonds, and of course a pack of wolves which was ever growing. He was proud of his accomplishments, but also very aware of how much of the challenge was left to complete. The looming and ever closer threat of the Nether is most likely what prompted him to pause and write down this "guide". No one can be sure...

Step #1 - Above-ground preparations

Duration: 5-20 minutes

  1. Find the closest tree and punch it. Get 4 pieces of wood.
  2. Craft a Crafting Table.
  3. Craft a Wooden Pickaxe.
  4. Find the nearest Stone and mine 9 blocks to start. If there is no stone nearby, just dig several meters downward.
  5. Craft a Stone Axe, Stone Pickaxe, Stone Shovel and Stone Sword
  6. Get about half a stack to one stack of wood.
  7. Kill pigs, cows and chickens to get at least 12 pieces of meat. Grab mushrooms if you see any.
  8. Start looking for a cave system. They are best visible on the plains.
  9. Don't make any stops. It would best not to wander around in night without iron armor and your daytime is limited. You might find it overmuch careful but do not forget, that one little accident, and you have to start all over again.

Step #2 - Firm footing

Duration: 15-60 minutes When you descend to the depths, remember, not to be so risky. After all, you are playing hardcore mode. At first, it may be very dark (if you are afraid of darkness, you can raise your brightness. It is more fun to stick to moody, though) so be very attentive to the monsters and ores you pass by. Once you mine your vein of coal be sure to light your way to the exit. Otherwise, on your way back, you might just forget about it, thinking that it was not explored branch of a cave.

Mining coal might be boring, so it is best to mine four blocks, each time you pass by an easily accesible vein. Try to keep your number of coal as close to 64 as possible, but not above it. The same goes for torches You might find yourself with 3 stacks of torches that you have to throw away if your mining trip ends quickly.

The next important resource is iron. Your ultimate goal is 64. Once your sword/pickaxe breaks or you feel like you have enough iron, find a safe area and set up a few furnaces to smelt/cook your items quickly. Make, in order, iron sword, bucket (and fill it with water), iron armor, iron pickaxe, iron shovel. Also, throw away all the old tools.

Once you are fully equiped, go further down. Your next goal will be diamonds. You will need 7 gems (2 for sword, 3 for pickaxe and 2 for enchanting table). Now, with your new diamond pickaxe, you can mine 14 pieces of obsidian (10 for portal and 4 for enchanting table). You can also gather few pieces of redstone for your potions.

This sums up all mining you will need to do in the hardcore mode. If you gathered, at any point, enough string to make a bow, do not hestitate to craft it and use it. If you come across an abandoned mineshaft, be careful. Watch out, when conquering cave spider spawner (or avoid it altogether, if you want to be extra safe). The next step is going to involves going to Nether.

Step #3 - Nether

Duration: 0.5-2 hours Adventure in Nether might be very dangerous so make sure you have:

You can be killed by a lot of things in the Nether, but most notable of them are:

  • Falling down huge distance/in lava. It may caused by ghasts, your carelesness or tricky holes in a fortress.
  • Zombie Pigman. If you hit one and don't perform a fight profesionally, you might find yourself surrounded and/or pushed into lava or fire.
  • Blazes. They are not very challenging alone and in controlled circumstances, but if three or four spawn at once, or they catch you unaware, things might turn really bad.

Nether contains five things that might be crucial for your adventure:

  • Blaze Rod - it is necessary to craft Eyes of Ender. It also used to craft a brewing stand and strength potions. To obtain them you will need to kill blazes. It can be done most easily by finding enclosed spawner and killing them in melee. Do not try to fight blazes in the open. Even if you were masterful enough to manage both blazes and ghasts at a time, your arrow supply wouldn't. Anyways, most of the loot would land out of your range. 12 blaze rods should be more than enough.
  • Nether Wart - they are necessary to brew any useful potion. They are found quite often in Nether fortresses. 5 will be more than enough, although you will find much more than that.
  • Ghast tear - they make you almost immune to damage. In a trouble, regeneration potion might save your life.

Nether Survival. If you can't find any fortress nearby, you may be forced to spend a lot of time in the Nether. Food supplies can be easily replenished, using very abundant mushrooms. Remeber though to mark your way with torch and some other more visible, non flammable blocks, like cobblestone, dirt or crafting tables. After you gathered all the supplies that interest you, go back to the regular world.

Step #4 - Surface world exploration

Duration: 1-10 hours By now you have almost all the supplies you need to get out there in the world. Now pick a direction and go. If you find Wolves feed them Bones and they will join you. Even though they might seem more irritating than helpful, they might save you from a pinch.

At this point you will have two main goals: Ender Pearls and Experience. On your way, kill all the chicken you encounter and gather a lot of flint. If you find that boring, you can decide to gather, for example 8 flints a day. Also, make sure to stay high on food and wood. In the night, be constantly on the move. Kill the enemies in your path and be on a lookout for Endermen. Once you accumulate enough bookshelves from either villages or sugar cane you can spend your skill points on either:

  • Bow (20 skill points). Even though you have only 1 in 10 chance of getting Infinity, if you do, Enderdragon fight just became extremally easy (if you do, remember that you need at least 1 arrow for it to work). Punch will also help.
  • Sword (30 skill points). As opposed to bow, you can't just make a new diamond sword, so you should spend more points on it. The most useful enchantment is Sharpness.

At some point collect few dozens of blocks of sand to make bottles.

Plan to collect Enderpearls until you have about 16. Turn them into Eyes of Ender. Remember to be conservative while using them. Once you find the spot of the portal, begin to descend down. Don't dig right below your feet, because you might end up falling to the End portal. Once you are in the stronghold, break Silverfish spawner and pillage the place. Set up your last base before fulfilng your destiny (or not). Brew all the potions you will need and enter the portal.

Step #5 The End

Duration:10-40 minutes At the risk of ruining their feeling of accomplishment (and the spirit of a "hardcore" setting,) some players decide to make a world backup at this point. Since there are benefits and drawbacks to this method, consider it carefully.

To make sure that it won't be your end, prepare yourself properly. You will need:

  • Diamond sword, pickaxe, bow and iron armor. All non-enchanted tools, enchant with level 1 enchantments.
  • At least 16 pieces of food, preferably steak or porkchops.
  • Anywhere between 128 and 256 arrows. 1 arrow if you have an Infinity bow
  • 64 blocks, 2 buckets of water.
  • Potions of regeneration. They should come in two variations (about 4 items each):
    • Extended potions of regeneration. Should be active each time you take damage or are at big risk of severly wounding yourself.
    • Splash potion of regeneration II. They can be used to save yourself from death.
  • Potion of Strength. If inventory space is not a problem make them all tier two potions. Take two extended potions or 6 tier II ones.
  • Splash potion of healing II. If you have melon available, fill all remaining inventory space with them. Before fighting the Enderdragon, learn to differ them from regeneration potions.