Damage represents injury from attacks or natural causes. Players and mobs in Minecraft each have a supply of health points, which are reduced when they are injured. The player has 20 health points, but these are measured on a health gauge with 10 hearts. Thus each health point is "1/2 a heart", shown as 1 (). Mobs have varying numbers of health points, but these are not generally visible to players. However, when riding a tame horse/donkey/mule, the player can see their mount's health, and a dog's health is visible in its tail angle.
Damage from attacks or natural causes will subtract from a player or mob's current health. When their health reaches zero, they die. Players can also recover health naturally by being well-fed, or through magical effects. Most mobs do not recover health except through magic, but horses and dogs can be healed by feeding them.
 Dealing damage
- Swords are crafted for this purpose. While swords do not extend attack range, they deal significantly more damage than with any other item or tool.
- Axes, pickaxes, and shovels also deal more damage than bare fists.
- Any other item is equivalent to fists and does the same damage. This includes hoes, and hitting something directly with a bow or held arrow.
- While falling, melee attacks deal a critical hit (up to 50% + 2 () additional damage, rounded down to the nearest hit point).
There are a few ranged weapons in the game:
- Arrows are shot by holding and releasing right click when wielding a Bow, and do damage depend on the "charge" of the bow (see below).
- Snowballs, only inflict damage on Blazes and the Ender Dragon, while chicken eggs damage only the Ender Dragon. Both still knock mobs back as if they had been damaged.
- Splash potions can be thrown, inflicting various effects depending on the potion.
A few items can be used to damage monsters indirectly:
- The Flint and steel allows the player to light a block on fire, which causes all players and mobs that touch the fire to be set on fire (some monsters are fireproof, mostly those native to the Nether). Players and mobs that are ignited stay alight until 15 () hit points of damage is dealt or until they touch water.
- Likewise, contact with Lava also ignites players and mobs.
- TNT is currently the only controllable explosive in Minecraft, and can be triggered by fire, redstone currents, or another explosion.
The below values detail the damage dealt per hit using various items. Critical hits can do variable extra damage.
|Axes [note 1]||
|Pickaxes [note 1]||
|Shovels [note 1]||
|Hoes, hands, and any other item||1 () [note 2]|
|Arrows (from a Bow)||
1 () – 10 () [note 3]
1 () per second
59 ( × 29.5) [note 4]
- dealing damage with an axe, pick, or shovel decreases its durability by 2.
- Depending on charge.
- The damage will decrease the further it is away from the core of the explosion.
 Critical hits
'Critical hits' are attacks that deal extra damage compared to regular attacks. Critical melee strikes, regardless of the weapon used, cause small star particles to fly out of the target who was critically hit. "Critical arrows", which occur when the bow is fired fully charged, leave a trail of the same small star particles as they fly through the air. Critical hits affect all damageable entities including players, mobs, paintings, boats and minecarts.
In melee, a critical hit occurs when a player attacks a mob while falling, not while jumping up. The attack deals a random amount of additional damage, up to 50% more (rounded down) plus one heart. This can be done by jumping. It can also be combined with sprinting to knock back the mob, although there is no extra knockback for a critical hit. The maximum damage from a critical hit depends on both the weapon/tool and its material (fists and arrows have no material):
|Sword||9 ()||11 ()||12 ()||14 ()|
|Axe||8 ()||9 ()||11 ()||12 ()|
|Pickaxe||6 ()||8 ()||9 ()||11 ()|
|Shovel||5 ()||6 ()||8 ()||9 ()|
|Arrow shot||10 ()|
The requirements for a melee critical hit are:
- The player must be falling
- The player must not be on the ground
- The player must not be on a ladder/ vine etc.
- The player must not be in water
- The player must not be affected by blindness
- The player must not be riding an entity
In an abandoned mine shaft, a player may choose to jump into a cobweb. At the cost of mobility, the player will be granted a major damage increase, as cobwebs greatly extend the time the player falls.
 Damage immunity
After sustaining damage from any source, a mob will turn red in color for a short period of time. During this period, any other incoming damage will not be counted against the mob's total health. For instance, if you attack a mob with a Sword repeatedly hitting the mouse button, the sword's rate of fire will exceed the mob's allowable rate of incoming damage, and several of the attacks will not damage the mob even if they land. (It is recommended to wait for a mob to be hittable again before swinging your sword, making your hits more precise. The tool used won't lose durability after unsuccessful attacks). However, if a mob or player is recovering from damage and then receives higher damage, it gets counted. Players are also subject to damage immunity.
 Damage inflicted by mobs
- This only applies to mobs attacking the player. Mobs attacking other mobs (wolves, iron golems, etc.) always deal the 'Normal' damage listed, regardless of difficulty.
- Values for the Creeper and Ghast assume the player is directly adjacent to the explosion.
- The damage of Slimes and Magma Cubes depends on their size. Tiny-sized Slimes, while hostile, are unable to do damage directly.
- The damage done by Zombies depends on their remaining health, increasing as they are injured.
- In contrast, the damage for an Iron Golem just has a large random factor.
|Blaze||-||4 ()||6 ()||9 ()|
|Blaze's fireball||-||3 ()||5 ()||7 ()|
|Cave Spider||-||2 ()||2 ()||3 ()|
|Creeper's explosion||-||25 ( × 12.5)||49 ( × 24.5)||73 ( × 36.5)|
|Charged Creeper's explosion||-||49 ( × 24.5)||97 ( × 48.5)||145 ( × 72.5)|
|Ender Dragon||-||6 ()||10 ()||15 ()|
|Enderman||-||4 ()||7 ()||10 ()|
|Ghast's fireball||-||9 ()||17 ( × 8.5)||25 ( × 12.5)|
|Iron Golem||-||4 () - 11 ()||7 () - 21 ( × 10.5)||10 () - 31 ( × 15.5)|
|Magma Cube (big)||-||4 ()||6 ()||9 ()|
|Magma Cube (small)||-||3 ()||4 ()||6 ()|
|Magma Cube (tiny)||-||2 ()||3 ()||4 ()|
|Silverfish||-||1 ()||1 ()||1 ()|
|Skeleton's arrow||-||3 ()||4 ()||6 ()|
|Slime (big)||-||3 ()||4 ()||6 ()|
|Slime (small)||-||2 ()||2 ()||3 ()|
|Slime (tiny)||-||0 ()||0 ()||0 ()|
|Spider||-||2 ()||2 ()||3 ()|
|Wither Skeleton||-||4 ()||7 ()||10 ()|
|Wither's wither skull||-||5 ()||8 ()||12 ()|
|Wolf (tamed)||-||3 ()||4 ()||6 ()|
|Wolf (hostile)||-||2 ()||2 ()||3 ()|
|Zombie||-||2 () - 4 ()||3 () - 6 ()||4 () - 9 ()|
|Zombie Pigman||-||5 ()||9 ()||13 ()|
When receiving damage from a hostile mob you will also be knocked back, and similarly a mob will be knocked back when it is attacked. The resulting disorientation and loss of control should not be underestimated, as it is possible to be knocked back over a cliff or into lava, both of which are potentially fatal. A sprinting attack causes extra knockback. A thrown chicken egg or a snowball also causes knockback, despite not damaging most monsters. Players/Mobs riding an entity (typically a boat, a minecart, a pig or a horse) never receive any knockback when attacked.
 Natural damage
Besides mobs, players can take damage from several other events in Minecraft.
 Lightning damage
Lightning striking on or next to the player will do 5 () damage, and with armor, enchanted or not will do less damage. Lightning strikes on the player are very rare, and only occur during thunderstorms. It is most likely that when the player gets hit by lightning they will be set on Fire, but fires and flaming mobs are very quickly put out from the rain during a thunderstorm.
 Fall damage
You receive damage when falling from excessive height. Armor does not reduce fall damage, unless it is enchanted with Feather Falling or Protection. Fall damage is 1 point for each block fallen after the third. Thus falling 4 blocks causes damage. From 5 blocks, damage. From 6 blocks, points are lost and so forth. Assuming full health but no enchanted armor, a 23 block fall will be fatal (23 - 3 = 20 damage = 10 hearts of damage).
Mobs (other than chickens, ghasts, snow golems, blazes, magma cubes, iron golems, ocelots, bats and, presumably, the ender dragon and wither) suffer fall damage as well.
In some cases, it is possible to avoid falling or otherwise survive a fall. Falling damage is only dealt after a height of three blocks.
- Sneaking (default ⇧ Left Shift) will prevent you from falling off most blocks.
- Landing in water will prevent you from taking fall damage. (Before 1.4.3, not all damage might be nullified.)
- Moving into a Ladder or Vine's area of effect during free fall will reduce vertical velocity to normal ladder descent speed and no damage will be taken.
- Moving into water during free fall will also reduce velocity.
- It is dangerous, but sometimes useful, to descend cliffs by walking off a cliff while in a boat. Exit the boat before impact, and you will only take damage for the distance fallen since exiting the boat.
- Jumping counts as falling for 1.5 blocks, therefore adding to your total fall damage, so keep this in mind when trying to avoid fall damage.
- If falling next to a wall, emptying a bucket of water against the wall a few blocks from the ground can often save your life.
- Wearing armor that is enchanted with feather falling or protection reduces fall damage based on the level of the enchantment.
- Throwing an Ender Pearl and teleporting will reset your velocity, and you will only take damage from the pearl (). This works better if you throw the Ender Pearl directly at the ground below you to guarantee the pearl hits the ground before you do.
- Falling into a spider web prevents all fall damage. If you place a spider web block beneath you fast enough while approaching the ground you can survive.
- Exiting the game near the bottom of the fall and re-entering the world will cause all fall damage to be negated.
When a player runs out of air underwater, they will start drowning and will take approximately 2 ()/sec. Mobs can drown as well, though they usually do not, as all mobs (besides iron golems and slimes/magma cubes) attempt to swim upward when in water. Squid will drown in air instead of in water, and iron golems and the Wither will not drown at all.
While mining, consider keeping at least one placeable solid block ready somewhere on your toolbar (such as Dirt or Cobblestone) for quick access. If you mine into a spring (or worse, the ocean), you should be able to place the block in the hole to prevent drowning.
If you place a torch on a vertical surface next to you at head height whilst underwater, you create an air bubble which lasts for the split second it takes the water to destroy the torch, thus refilling your oxygen meter without resurfacing. Ladders, signs, fences, trapdoors, doors and sugar cane can create permanent air bubbles underwater. You can also scoop up some water with a bucket to achieve the same effect, or destroy the block directly above you, if there is one.
In pocket edition 0.8.0, the player actually has 11 air bubbles but once submerged, the 11th bubble instantly disappears.
A falling anvil deals serious damage. If it falls from high enough, it can instantly kill you.
 Thorns Enchantment
When a player or mob deals melee or projectile damage to a player or mob that is wearing Thorns-enchanted armor, the attacker will also be damaged.
Suffocation happens when a player or a mob is unable to breathe because its upper half is inside of a block. They will lose 1 () every half-second (10 ticks). Due to sand and gravel falling, it can easily cover the player. In first person mode, the player's screen will be blackened when suffering from this condition thus disabling them to see what is happening. In third person mode, the view will automatically switch to first person mode.
When inside a block, the player can easily step out of it as the blocks do not prevent their movement.
The usual ways to get one's head inside a block are:
- Sand or Gravel falling into the space the player or mob occupies.
- Riding a Pig, Boat or Minecart or throwing an Ender Pearl into a one-block-high space.
- Riding a Horse into a two-block-high space.
- Standing where a tree just grew from a sapling.
- Standing where a huge mushroom just grew from a mushroom.
- Standing where an Exit Portal just spawned after killing an Ender Dragon.
- Having a solid block pushed into your head with a Piston.
- Sleeping in a bed that is surrounded by blocks and/or has a solid block above it.
- Being teleported into a block via command blocks or console commands.
- When playing on a distant server, sometimes broken blocks can reappear because of lag, and if the player moves where the block respawned, it can provoke suffocation (for example, chopping down a tree by moving right below the trunk).
It's worth noting that the player will not suffocate in glass, or indeed in any transparent block. Leaves from a grown Sapling will not suffocate you, even if you're on Fast graphics (which makes leaves appear solid).
When the food bar reaches zero, the player will take 1 () damage every four seconds. It also shakes indicating you are hungry. The player stops taking starvation damage when the player eats or the health bar drops to 10 () health on easy mode or 1 () health on normal mode. In hard mode or hardcore mode, the damage will not stop until the player either dies, or eats something.
 Cactus contact
Touching a cactus will cause a player or mob to take 1 () damage, and rapidly continue taking damage if they continue to stand on or next to it.
By far the most dangerous natural occurrence (except for the unlikely case of a player falling into the void), players and mobs will take damage from contact with Lava extremely fast or half second, ( per hit), and stay on fire even if they exit it ( point per hit for 15 hits or more ( total damage) or until extinguished with water). If players do not have a water source available, they will die quickly.
While mining, consider keeping at least one placeable solid block ready somewhere on your toolbar (such as Dirt or Cobblestone) for quick access using your mouse wheel. If you mine into a lava pool, you may be able to place the block in the hole and so prevent burning. It is possible to keep a fire-resistance potion at all times so you can prevent from dying in lava, because if you fall in the lava and act fast enough, you will be able to use the potion in time. If you're not fast enough, or have not enough health to resist the damage while drinking the potion, try using a splash potion of fire-resistance. Or just use a bucket of water (although this doesn't help you in the nether).
Cave Spiders will poison players when they bite (only in normal and hard difficulty). Eating a Spider Eye, Poisonous Potato, or pufferfish or drinking/being hit by a potion of poison will give the same result. While poisoned, the hearts in the health meter turn from red to an olive green () and the player takes 1 () each 25 ticks (1.25 seconds) until the poison wears off. The poison itself cannot kill the player, but it can reduce them to 1 hit point, thus leaving them very vulnerable to damage from other sources. Poison can be cured by drinking milk from a bucket.
 Wither Effect
Wither and Wither Skeletons will give you the Wither Status effect with their attacks. (The Wither boss's skulls do not inflict the effect on Easy difficulty.) This will darken your health bar to , while inflicting damage over time. The effect deals 1 () every 2 seconds (40 ticks) for the Wither Skeleton's attack (level I), and every second (20 ticks) for the Wither boss's skulls. Unlike poison, withering can kill you directly, and the darkened healthbar makes it harder to keep track of the damage.
If one were to break through the bedrock barrier found at the bottom of worlds, the Void can be seen. Players in the Void, below height -64 will take damage at a rate of about 4 () per half-second or 8 () per second. You will usually die from falling in the Void, even in Creative mode, but the player may be saved by throwing an Ender Pearl before they fall to height -64.
|Before suffocation was implemented, players that were covered by blocks could see through dirt and stone. Suffocation was added after Notch discovered that players were abusing this exploit to find underground caves and hollowed carvings. The patch added suffocation damage and made the player unable to see anything when experiencing it. However, variations of this glitch are still possible to perform even in the current version of the game.|
|In Survival mode, eating a Red Mushroom would deal the player (poisonous).|
|1.0.4||Players no longer suffocate when riding in a minecart.|
|All of Alpha||There was a rare bug where in certain worlds players do not take damage. This is only in single player survival mode. Players would not take damage even with all armor off.|
|1.5||Unarmed damage was increased from to .|
|1.8||Unarmed damage was decreased from to .|
|The Adventure Update extended the combat system with critical hits, sprinting (for knockback) and blocking.|
|Hunger system added: Health is no longer restored directly by eating. Instead, it recovers slowly when well-fed, but is lost if starving.|
|Poison added, which deals damage.|
|1.0.0||1.9pre1||Armor no longer prevents certain types of damage.|
|1.9pre3||Sword damage was decreased (a diamond sword went from 5 hearts to 3.5 hearts damage).|
|1.9pre4||Enchantments added, some of which increase damage you deal or decrease damage dealt to you.|
|1.0.0RC1||The sound of the player taking damage was changed from a masculine "OOF! or UGHH!" sound, to a painful sounding crunch. These were changed to remove the restriction that all avatars have a male voice, regardless of the gender of the character depicted in the skin.|
|1.3.1||12w25a||Removed the downwards knockback while drowning.|
|1.3.2||Mobs no longer shove the player when moving into them.|
|1.3||12w30a||Explosions damage the player different amounts in different difficulties, and the player doesn't take any damage from explosions on Peaceful.|
|1.4.2||12w32a||Mobs can hold weapons, making them deal more damage. Also, the crunching noise from 1.0.0 was changed, sounding more like a slap rather than a bone-breaking punch. The fall damage noise was also changed from a crunch to a dull, thumping noise.|
|12w34a||Wither effect added, which deals damage.|
|1.6.2||Instead of replacing the barehanded damage (1 ()), tools now add their damage onto the barehanded damage, which results in all tools doing 1 () more damage than before.|
- Critical hits can be done while reflecting a Ghast's fireball, but won't change the damage or speed of it.
- In Creative mode, attacking a mob while flying after having descended will score a critical hit.
- When attacking something with a Melee object (Fists, Swords, etc.), there is a brief cooldown before it can be hurt again. Having a Regeneration IV (4) Potion Effect however, seems to remove the cooldown, as the Player/Mob can be hit more often.
- When a player dies, the player has the same falling-over death animation as all other mobs. This can be seen by being in third-person mode upon death, having your inventory open upon death, or (as of 1.6) witnessing the death of another player in multiplayer.