Tutorials/Beating a challenge map

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This tutorial contains many tips on how to complete a challenge map. Most of this tutorial is based on "complete the monument" styled maps, but will apply to any type of challenge map.

Terms[edit | edit source]

There are many terms used to describe features in Minecraft challenge maps. Here is a list of some of them:

Term Definition
Cheaty hole 1-block wide hole that takes the player into the void or lava.
Crybox A quickly constructed or dug out box (usually 1×1×2) used to escape death.
Dungeon A structure in which there are spawners. In challenge maps, they usually contain a wool chest or other valuable materials.
Birdcage/fleece/fleecy box A box surrounding the wool chest, usually to protect it from creepers and make it more visible in a dungeon, etc. It typically has a glass encasing and a brick floor.
Funbox A 3×3 box of spawners. Usually covered in stone.
Spawner A monster spawner.
Victory monument A monument where you place your wool (below definition).
Wool A generalized term for what is needed to "beat" the CTM map. This could be records, actual wool, plants, etc.
Wool chest Also known as a Fleecy Box. A chest that will contain Wool (above definition). Usually marked with glowstone.
Danger stone A trap that looks like a stone block, but spawns monsters when you step on it. You can tell by the dark outline.

Useful things to know[edit | edit source]

Challenge maps can include a variety of difficult obstacles. Here are some tips that can be handy when completing a challenge map:

Damage[edit | edit source]

Mobs become easier to kill when you know how many hits they take with your weapons. It's also good to know how much damage a weapon does if you need to know which one of your weapons is the strongest.

Weapon Damage
Name Damage Dealt


5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg)

6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg)

7 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg)

8 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg)

1 (Half Heart.svg) - 9 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg), rarely 10 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg)
Damage Modifiers
Name Damage Modification
Sharpness Damage is increased by 1 (Half Heart.svg) to 3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg).
Smite Damage is increased by 1 (Half Heart.svg) to 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) on zombies, skeletons, and zombie pigmen.
Bane of Arthropods Damage is increased by 1 (Half Heart.svg) to 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) on spiders and silverfish.
Fire Aspect 3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg) of fire damage with Fire Aspect I, 7 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) of fire damage with Fire Aspect II.
Power 1.5x multiplier with Power I, and increases by 0.25x every next level (Power II = 1.75, Power III = 2, and so on)
Flame 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) of fire damage.

A weapon made with a not-so-good material that has a high enchantment is better than an unenchanted weapon made with a good quality material. For example, a wooden sword enchanted with Sharpness II does more damage than an unenchanted iron sword.

Fighting mobs[edit | edit source]

Many challenge maps will have mobs that the player is required to fight. Different tactics should be used for different circumstances.

Large groups of mobs[edit | edit source]

If there are several mobs in a group, it is best to walk backwards, away from the group. If there is a creeper within the group, let it explode, and it will kill most of the mobs within the group. However, make sure not to be too close when it explodes, as it will damage you.

Mobs with less health[edit | edit source]

Mobs with less health generally mean any type of mob with 10 or fewer hearts, such as zombies or magma cubes. If you can, build a barricade around yourself, which will prevent them from getting inside. Take them out by bow, even in close range.

Skeletons[edit | edit source]

Try and use your bow if you don't have at least a 3-hit kill weapon. Skeletons will attempt to knock back players in close range by firing arrows quickly. Skeletons will not notice the player if at least 16 blocks away, so it's recommended to shoot at skeletons from this range.

Blazes[edit | edit source]

A potion of Fire Resistance is extremely useful to drink when fighting against blazes, as their fireballs are their only long-range weapon. If you get too close during melee combat, however, they are still able to deal damage without shooting fireballs.

Ghasts[edit | edit source]

Ghasts can be extremely annoying in maps, because they are not only able to break blocks and set things on fire, but they will also often fly away from the player, making them hard to kill.

When on a challenge map, it's best to kill ghasts as soon as possible. To kill a ghast, aim for the body, or hit the fireballs it sends at you back to it.

Ghasts cannot break cobblestone or anything with a higher damage resistance, so you can use that to your advantage. Always build with cobblestone, if you have some.

Silverfish[edit | edit source]

Often, a mapmaker will create a passageway with walls of monster eggs. If you break one of these blocks, it will spawn a silverfish, which, when attacked, will spawn even more silverfish from adjacent blocks. A silverfish will not call for help if it is killed in one shot by a player, or if it died by "natural" causes.

A Silverfish has 4 hearts of health. Here are some ways of killing a silverfish without it spawning more silverfish:

Endermen[edit | edit source]

An easy way to defeat endermen is to stand in 1-block deep water 2 blocks from shore, and attack them repeatedly. This makes you safe against their attacks, and the water will damage the endermen.

Conquering dungeons[edit | edit source]

Funboxes[edit | edit source]

Funboxes are a term commonly used in the Minecraft community, describing 27 spawners arranged in a 3x3x3 manner. It can be very hard to defeat one of these without dying, because of the massive number of mobs that funboxes can spawn at once. Here are some strategies for disabling them:

Lava[edit | edit source]

Lava is the easiest and most effective way of disabling a funbox. It lights up the area around the funbox, disabling the spawners, and kills any monsters already spawned by the funbox.

To use lava, get within block-placing range of the funbox, and pour lava on it.

If the funbox is out of reach, you can alternatively bridge over to the funbox and pour lava from above.

Cannons[edit | edit source]

Using a TNT cannon can be a fun and fairly effective way to dispatch of funboxes. However, TNT can do great damage to players and blocks, so be careful with this method so that you don't blow up a chest or die.

Tunneling[edit | edit source]

Tunneling is another method of disabling a funbox. The easiest way of tunneling toward a funbox is to go from below, as most funboxes are placed out in the open. Make sure to light up your tunnel very well while you tunnel towards it, as if your tunnel is too dark, monsters may spawn.

After disabling[edit | edit source]

If the funbox is inside of a dungeon, it's best to break it, as creepers can destroy lighting around a funbox (and thereby reactivating it). You can additionally get experience if you mine the spawners.

If the funbox is near your base, you can turn it into a fast mob grinder for drops or experience.

Big rooms[edit | edit source]

Big rooms are dungeons that are located in a very large room. The monster spawners are often spread out in big rooms to challenge the player extra, making it difficult to light the area up enough to prevent mob spawns.

Runthrough[edit | edit source]

Drink a potion of Swiftness and charge into the area, placing torches where you can. This is very dangerous, but very effective as well, as you will be covering large areas, and therefore disabling lots of spawners.

Charge and retreat[edit | edit source]

Go into the room, quickly light up as much as possible, and retreat back to to a safe spot, before repeating. This method is effective, but it is slow and rather dangerous.

Tunneling[edit | edit source]

Dig tunnels under the floor so that there is one block between the tunnel and the room. Every once in a while, mine a block above you and place a light-emitting block in the room above, before quickly sealing the opening again. This will disable most of the spawners and will make the Charge and Retreat method much easier. Using lava as the light-emitting block is very effective, but also dangerous.

Tunneling to the top of the dungeon and pouring lava from above is a much safer way of doing this.

Landscapes[edit | edit source]

A landscape is an area on a map that is bigger than even a big room, containing several little dungeons for you to conquer. There are also usually areas on the other side of these landscapes, making these areas much more annoying.

Transportation[edit | edit source]

Using rails is a very effective way of moving around the landscape. You could also make a tunnel under the landscape for safe travel at night, but this takes a lot of time, and is not as efficient.

Void rooms[edit | edit source]

Void rooms are rooms that have areas which open up to the void or lava. If you fall off of the main platforms, you will lose your inventory most of the time.

Go slow and steady in these areas. Don't take unnecessary risks. Block off any holes to the Void that you can reach, and be very careful of sand or gravel.

Bridging[edit | edit source]

If there is a gap between two platforms, make a very secure bridge. Place blocks to the left and right of you, in addition to below you. However, note that if auto-jump is enabled, the barriers on the left and right of you would have to be 2 blocks tall in order for them to be effective.

If there are too many mobs on the platform where you are heading to, it is best to make a piston bridge, if possible. Place a piston facing the platform, and repeatedly have it push blocks. Do this three times: one for the floor, and two for the rails on both sides.

Mazes[edit | edit source]

Mazes are found occasionally in maps. If the Adventure map is in Survival mode rather than Adventure, mazes are often made of bedrock, so that they can't be mined through.

Hug a wall[edit | edit source]

Before starting, choose one direction to go and stick with it, as this will make getting out easier later on. When you're at a split in the road, mark the way you entered, and then follow the path in the direction chosen above. If you hit a dead end, go back to the last split road, and mark that section correspondingly. Another way to find your way out of a maze is to walk along side one side of the wall. It's a time consuming method, but as long as there are no loops in the maze, you're bound to find your way out eventually.

Fighting in mazes[edit | edit source]

A common trick that map creators may do sometimes is to put spawners within the mazes, making it harder to move around. It's important to use corners to your advantage in combat. It's not recommended to use lava, as this will make it harder to penetrate further into the maze.

What to watch out for[edit | edit source]

Sand and gravel[edit | edit source]

In general, a sand or gravel trap is a trap involving floating sand or gravel. When you place a block or a torch on it, it will fall, which will likely reveal lava, a pit of monsters, the void, or fall onto a pressure plate connected to TNT.

Sand traps that expose areas are unavoidable; however, you can avoid the redstone-style sand trap by being wary. If you see a chest, furnace, or something of that sort, make sure you have a way of getting away before breaking it.

TNT[edit | edit source]

Map creators will often create something in a map that looks like a reward, but in reality is a deadly trap. Always be on the lookout for something suspicious, as this could very well be TNT. Also, some maps take advantage of external tools or data values in commands, and make it so that TNT will detonate when hit like it did in earlier Minecraft versions. This makes it impossible to destroy without detonating.

Pits[edit | edit source]

Although pits are easy to dodge within corridors, if you are distracted by something, such as combat, you may unconsciously fall into a pit. Always block of pits that may lead to deadly traps, if possible. Also, if you're fighting and you know that there are deadly pits nearby, make sure to move away from them.

Redstone-related items[edit | edit source]

It's important to be aware of buttons, levers, or pressure plates. Redstone circuits can be made to do virtually anything, so if you see an "innocent" pressure plate lying about, block it off, or avoid stepping on it.

Movement-affecting blocks[edit | edit source]

These include soul sand, ice, and vines. Soul sand makes you walk slower through an area, ice makes the ground slippery, and vines can be distracting when fighting against walls. Although these will not directly kill you, they can be a pain if you're trying to do something risky, such as fighting mobs. Therefore, try to stay away from soul sand or ice, and avoid being cornered by mobs in a vine-filled area.

Preparations[edit | edit source]

Your inventory[edit | edit source]

It's best to pack lightly when going into a dungeon, as you don't want to lose too many things if you die.

Here are some good things to have in your inventory:

If rescuing another player from mobs in a dungeon, you should have:

  • A sword and/or bow
  • A pickaxe
  • Some torches
  • Some blocks
  • Armor (should not be diamond)
  • Potions (if possible, and only in heavily mobbed areas)

Here are some good potions to bring along:

  • Healing: Good to have on your hotbar, because it not only heals you, but if turned into a splash potion, it can also damage undead mobs, such as zombies.
  • Regeneration: Great for runthroughs or spawner rushes, as any damage you receive will be negated quickly while having the Regeneration effect.
  • Fire Resistance: Fire Resistance makes blazes and ghasts a lot easier to deal with.

The base[edit | edit source]

Generally, most people build their bases around the Victory Monument, but some mapmakers have been annoyed with the monuments (e.g. dying zombies, growing vines), so it is best to build it relatively close, but not too close.

A base should be monster-safe, and contain basic necessities, such as crafting tables and chests. The following things are also good to have in your base:

Food farm[edit | edit source]

In most maps, the best renewable types of food are carrots and potatoes. They are very easy to farm, and they feed a decent amount (Carrots heal 3 (Half Hunger.svgHunger.svg) and baked potatoes heal 5 (Half Hunger.svgHunger.svgHunger.svg).) The following video is of an effective semi-automatic farm design, that is designed for wheat, but can easily work for carrots and potatoes.

If there are cows or mooshrooms in the map, then it is best to get a wheat farm started in addition to the carrots/potatoes. Cooked porkchops and steak heal 8 (Hunger.svgHunger.svgHunger.svgHunger.svg), making it the best easily accessible food in the game.

A melon farm, unless very big, is not recommended, as melons only feed 2 (Hunger.svg), and melons grow rather slowly.

Monster XP farm[edit | edit source]

You will usually only need a monster trap in extreme cases, where it's impossible to continue the map without enchanting your gear.

The easiest way to make an XP farm is to set up a spawner trap around a funbox, preferably very high up, so that the mobs are around 1/2 hearts when they fall, so that they can be killed in 1 hit.

Tree farm[edit | edit source]

Wood is undeniably the most important resource in Minecraft. In challenge maps, you will often need plenty of it, making a farm very useful.

Cobblestone farm[edit | edit source]

A cobblestone farm is usually only necessary when you need lots of stone or cobblestone. The following grid is an easy way to make a cobblestone farm:


Lava










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