Tutorials/Beating a challenge map

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A compilation of multiple LPer's strategies on beating 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]

Some general terms used in challenge maps.

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]

These are things that would be very useful to have knowledge about when trying to beat a custom 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.

In general, a sword with Sharpness N (where N is a number) is better than a sword N tiers above it. So a Wooden Sword with Sharpness II is better than an Iron Sword.

Fighting mobs[edit | edit source]

A general list of strategies on how to take care of certain situations.

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 (kiting). If there is a creeper within the group, let it explode, and it will kill most of the mobs within the group.

Two-hit-kill mobs[edit | edit source]

These include mobs like zombie pigmen. 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. Skeletond will attempt to knock back players in close range by firing arrows quickly.

Blazes[edit | edit source]

A potion of Fire Resistance is extremely useful against blazes. Don't get too close to them if you have to attack them with a sword, since they deal heavy contact damage.

Ghasts[edit | edit source]

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

You want to dispatch of the ghast as soon as possible, otherwise it'll get too annoying. To kill a ghast, aim for the body, or deflect its fireballs. This is the ghast's hitbox.

Ghasts cannot break cobblestone or anything with a higher damage resistance, so 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 save against their attacks and they will damage themselves.

Conquering dungeons[edit | edit source]

Funboxes[edit | edit source]

These malevolent groups of spawners are seen occasionally in more difficult challenge maps. A funbox can spawn more mobs than a player can kill, which makes it impossible to disable by rushing in and placing torches. 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, preventing any spawns, 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, bridge over to the funbox and pour lava from above.

Cannons[edit | edit source]

Using a TNT cannon is a fun and fairly effective way to dispatch of funboxes. However, using these could blow up a wool chest, not to mention yourself. Be careful with this method.

Tunneling[edit | edit source]

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: you don't want your tunnel to be too dark.

After disabling[edit | edit source]

If the funbox is inside a dungeon, it's best to break it, since creepers can destroy lighting around a funbox (and thereby reactivating it). You'll also get experience orbs from 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]

Rooms that are generally, very big. They are difficult to light up because you have monsters attacking you from all directions.

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 disabling lots of spawners.

Charge and retreat[edit | edit source]

Charge in, light up the area, and retreat. Effective, but snail-slow, and rather dangerous.

Tunneling[edit | edit source]

Tunnel around the room, lighting up the walls of the room at regular intervals. This will disable most of the spawners and will make the Charge and Retreat method much easier. (It will be more effective to use Lava to disable the spawners, rather than torches.)

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

Landscapes[edit | edit source]

Even bigger than a big room, they are vast areas with several little dungeons for you to conquer. As well, there are 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 worth it.

Void rooms[edit | edit source]

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.

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]

Bedrock mazes are found occasionally in maps. They're frustrating to solve and hard to get out of.

Hug a wall[edit | edit source]

Before starting, choose either left or right. Stick to one direction in the maze, it will make it much easier to get out later. When you're at a split in the road, mark the way you entered from somehow, and then follow the path in the direction chosen above. If you hit a dead end, then go back to the last split road, and mark that section correspondingly. Another way of pulling the maze off is to walk along side one side of the wall. It's a time consuming method, but it's sure to get you out of there, assuming there are no loops in the maze.

Fighting in mazes[edit | edit source]

A common trick for mappers to do is to put spawners within the mazes, making it harder to move around. Use corners to your advantage when fighting in a maze. Don't use lava: it'll gum up the corridor too much.

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]

If it's too good to be true, it probably is. Look out for innocent houses built on the landscape: it could be a deadly trap! TNT also makes a great big hole, making it rather difficult to fight. Also some maps contain TNT which acts like it did in beta, it will detonate on hit making it impossible to disarm. Map makers achieve this through external tools. Since 1.7, they can also use data values in commands.

Pits[edit | edit source]

Although easy to dodge within corridors, fighting can distract you, and you can walk off the edge of a pit! Cover up, or barricade every pit you see that might be a threat. If possible direct the fighting away from any nearby pits.

Redstone-related items[edit | edit source]

This includes pressure plates, dispensers, and pistons. 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; Vines can be distracting when fighting against walls. 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, you don't want to lose too many things if you die.

Here are some good things to have in your inventory:

  • Two swords
  • A bow
    • Up to a stack of arrows (or an infinity enchantment)
  • Two pickaxes
  • A stack or two of torches
  • A water bucket (for lava areas)
  • Armor
  • A stack or two of Blocks
  • Potions (if possible)

For rescue missions, you should have:

  • A sword/A bow
  • A pickaxe
  • Some torches
  • Some Blocks
  • Light Armor
  • Potions (if possible, and only in heavily mobbed areas)

Here are some good potions to bring along:

  • Health: Good to have on your hotbar, because it not only heals, but it also damages zombies, skeletons, and zombie pigmen. (in splash form)
  • Regeneration: Great for runthroughs or spawner rushes, since any damage you receive will be negated quickly.
  • Fire Resistance: Blazes and Ghasts are very easy with Fire Resistance.

The base[edit | edit source]

A main base should have these characteristics:

  • It is completely safe from monsters.
  • Crafting tables, furnaces, and chests are situated there.

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.

Some more things I recommend you have in your main 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 2 Food Points, baked potatoes heal 3 Food Points.) Here is a tutorial on Automatic Wheat Farms, which can be used to grow carrots or potatoes as well.

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. Meat heals 4 Food Points, making it the best easily accessible food in the game.

A Melon farm, unless very big, is not recommended, as melons only feed one part, and melons grow rather slowly.

Monster EXP farm[edit | edit source]

You'll only need a monster trap in extreme cases, where it's impossible to go on without enchanting your gear.

Set up a spawner trap around a funbox, preferably very high up, so that the mobs are around 1/2 hearts when they fall (one punch kill).

Tree farm[edit | edit source]

Wood is undeniably the most important resource in Minecraft. You'll need a lot of it too, in the case of challenge maps.

Cobblestone farm[edit | edit source]

This is only needed in extreme cases, where you have a great lack of stone to use. The easiest farm to make is:


Lava