Swords are weapons that are primarily used to kill mobs or other players quicker than punching them with bare hands. They also remove some blocks faster than using a player's bare hands (such as leaves, vines, melons, and cobwebs). Each broken block counts as two uses on the sword's durability when used in this way.
The sword is a short-range weapon. Despite its appearance, it grants no range advantage over any other tool since Beta 1.9, including bare hands. Swords were previously used to block attacks up until 1.9, where shields replaced sword-blocking. The durability and damage dealt depends on what material the sword was crafted with: gold being the lowest in damage and durability, Netherite being the highest. A player cannot break/mine anything with this weapon in creative mode. Swords used to inflict more damage than bows, often significantly more, depending on material. Even a wooden sword was on par with an arrow. However, since Beta 1.8 update, there are no (non-enchanted) swords that can match a full-charged arrow (with a non-critical hit).
A way to use swords without being hit, thus closing the gap between swords and bows, is to dig a trench such that a player's head is the same level as the mob's feet. A player must of course have blocks over his head so that mobs do not come into the trench. It is then possible to hit mobs without them seeing a player: this prevents mobs from retaliating. This method is efficient when defending a fortified building, but is nearly useless when exploring except for whenever a player encounters the 2-block wide Spider.
|Type of Sword||Damage||Durability|
|Gold Sword||4 ()||33|
|Wooden Sword||4 ()||60|
|Stone Sword||5 ()||132|
|Iron Sword||6 ()||251|
|Diamond Sword||7 ()||1562|
|Netherite Sword||8 ()||2031|
High-damage swords are primarily advantageous because they kill mobs in fewer hits, defeating them faster and thereby reducing the chance of the player being damaged in return. For the same reason, a player will swing these swords fewer times in the long run, reducing the rate at which durability is expended. Unless a player engages in combat very frequently, swords, in general, will see a far longer useful life. A diamond sword's damage of 7HP over the iron sword's 6HP is also a much bigger difference than the difference between the numbers may imply as it guarantees a kill of any mortal thing in fewer hits and any passive mob in one. The ability to kill rapidly is of greatest benefit against creepers and ghasts when the time to act may be very short. These factors combined make a diamond sword a compelling investment.
The weaker swords are not recommended for creeper combat (especially on normal or hard), and there are strong arguments for using a bow, owing to its range (provided the bow is at full charge). If a player approaches a creeper with a sword, a recommended strategy is to use hit-and-run tactics. Hit the creeper and run away until the hissing stops, then run forward and hit it again, as many times as necessary. With a diamond sword, however, one may simply charge at the creeper whilst swinging it, as the 2-hit-kill allows a player to kill the creeper prior to their "fuse" running out. Be wary, as this is a risky tactic that could go horribly wrong if failed, often ultimately leading to the demise of a player or items and terrain around them.
With the ability to sprint added in Beta 1.8, swords became a more effective tool in combat. When a mob is hit by a player when sprinting, they are sent flying several blocks back because the momentum is added to the mob's momentum. This is quite useful when fighting creepers, especially when a player has little to no armour. Charge at them in a sprint and hit them. They get knocked back to a safe distance before they could even initiate their self-destruct countdown. Simply repeat until the creeper dies. Just make sure there is room behind the creeper and that it does not get knocked back into an obstacle for maximum effectiveness. This tactic basically eliminates the need to run back before going for another hit. This tactic is not recommended for tight areas such as caverns and other tight spaces. Only do this when encountering a creeper in the open.
A sword with the knockback enchantment is also viable for the hit-and-run tactic, as it sends any mob flying back a few blocks when hit. This can replace sprinting, or even complement it, resulting in a greater effect. If a diamond sword is being used, this can make creeper disposal very easy. Along with the sprint tactic, this is not recommended for use against Skeletons, Blazes, or any ranged mob, as it grants them a free shot while being approached.
Players are advised to make use of the critical hit ability of the sword to dispatch mobs, especially creepers, quickly. These hits add 50% of the sword's base damage but strength but do not affect enchantments. Note that while sprinting, critical hits cannot be performed.
As of Beta 1.8, swords are able to block attacks by holding the right-click button. This will block arrows as well as other projectiles but will reduce a player to a speed slower than sneaking. Swords and all other player-dealt damage were also reduced by half a heart in the Beta 1.8 update (like before Beta 1.5) but was increased by 1 HP in release 1.6.
Iron swords appear in some Strongholds and Village blacksmith Chests; gold swords appear in some Nether Fortress chests, and enchanted iron and diamond swords can be found in End City chests. Weaponsmith Villagers sell enchanted iron and diamond swords for about 10 to 14 Emeralds (Cheaper in the Bedrock Edition), respectively. Pillagers, Vindicators, and Vexes have a chance to drop an iron sword upon death. Alternatively, wooden, stone, iron, gold, and diamond swords can be crafted. Zombie Pigmen will sometimes drop a golden sword upon death. Wither Skeletons will sometimes drop a stone sword upon death.
A sword is a melee weapon - a weapon that can only be used in close combat. Because of this, they aren't recommended for fighting creepers, skeletons, or ghasts. A player can swing a sword by left-clicking while holding it. One good way to deal with these or any other hostile mobs is to run to them, strike them with the sword, then run back and repeat until they are defeated. A player could also hit critical strikes on the mobs by jumping and striking it with the sword on the way down. As of Beta 1.8, a player could block an attack with a sword by right-clicking while holding it. While doing this, a player will take half the damage of the attack. They could also be enchanted using an enchantment table to increase their advantage and can have abilities added to them by using an anvil and an Enchanted Book.
Here is a list of possible sword enchantments:
- Sharpness (I-V) - Increases the damage dealt by the enchanted sword.
- Smite (I-V) - Increases the damage dealt by the enchanted sword more than that of sharpness, but it only applies to undead mobs.
- Bane of Arthropods (I-V) - Increases the damage dealt by the enchanted sword more than that of sharpness, but it only applies to insect and arthropod mobs, hence the name.
- Knockback (I-II) - Increases the knockback dealt with by the enchanted sword.
- Fire Aspect (I-II) - Ignites any mob afflicted by the enchanted sword. When killed by the fire aspect damage, a mob, such as a cow, will drop cooked meat instead of raw.
- Looting (I-III) - Increases the loot dropped by a mob killed by the enchanted sword.
- Unbreaking (I-III) - Increases the durability of the enchanted sword.
- Mending (I) - Restores the durability of the enchanted sword if it is held whilst collecting experience, which will then no longer be added to the player.
- A piglin usually wields a golden sword, while the wither skeleton wields a stone sword.
- A diamond sword with sharpness V is powerful enough to kill most mobs with just a single critical hit (though this can be difficult to do, as it takes only two regular hits to kill a mob with that enchantment).
- Zombies occasionally spawn holding iron or diamond swords.
- In previous versions, right-clicking while a sword is equipped allowed a player to block 1/2 of the incoming damage.
- The blocking feature was removed in the Combat Update (1.9.) and was replaced by shields in that update.
- Rarely, wither skeletons, Zombies and Zombie Pigmen may drop the sword they are holding (stone, iron or golden swords, respectively).
- Rarely, a zombie or skeleton can pick up and use dropped swords and use them on a player. Skeletons will discard their bow, however, and a player cannot pick it up as it will be destroyed.
- Stone swords are not crafted of stone, but of cobblestone. This, however, cannot be seen in its texture.
- A player can break wooden blocks faster with a sword, but not as fast as with an axe.
- A sword can break Soul Sand quicker than any other tool. However, these costs double the durability.
- Although golden swords appear to be useless because they deal only as much damage as a wooden sword and have the lowest durability of all swords, they are cheaper to enchant than any other sword, making it worthwhile to craft. This is only the case if unbreaking II-III is used on the sword. However, it is not recommended for player combat, since killing an enemy player (who probably even has enchanted iron or even diamond armour) requires several dozen hits with the sword. Golden swords would undoubtedly break quickly and almost always get the user killed. In a PVP server, use of them is discouraged even if you have enchantments due to their weaknesses.
- In Creative mode, players can't break blocks while they have a sword equipped in their hands.
- Swords are renewable because the wood, gold, iron, and stone variants can be crafted infinitely, assuming one has sufficient materials, and the diamond variant can be obtained infinitely from trading with a villager.
- Originally the wooden and golden swords dealt 5 points of damage, stone dealt 6, iron dealt 7 and diamond dealt 8. All the swords have now been reduced to deal 1 less point of damage. The reason for this is still unexplained.
- The original texture for the iron sword came from a game called Legend of the Chambered, a game Notch abandoned.
- The grip of the sword has not changed during the Texture Update.