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Tutorials/Defeating a monument

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A monument.

Monuments are dangerous for unprepared players, as they have many dangers, including guardians, elder guardians, and many rooms that are easy to get lost in.

Reasons for defeating a monument[edit]

There are a several benefits of defeating a monument:


The most common mob within the monument are guardians. They swim quickly, have 30♥ × 15 health, and have two ways to damage the player:

  • A laser is their primary offensive attack. It takes several seconds to charge, emitting a distinctive sound and changing color from purple to yellow in the process, and does 4♥♥ points of damage when the charging completes.
    • There is no way to dodge the laser, but the guardian must maintain line-of-sight during the charging process. If you can get behind a wall or pillar, the attack will be canceled and will do no damage. Circling narrow pillars therefore can be used to circumvent multiple attacks from all sides.
    • The laser has a maximum range of about 15 blocks. If you can get far enough away before the charging completes, the attack will be cancelled and do no damage.
    • If the player gets too close to the guardian, it is liable to abandon the attack and swim away.
  • Guardians also have a natural Thorns-like defense. If attacked while their orange spikes are extended, the attacker will take 2♥ damage.

Each monument also contains three elder guardians. They have 80♥ × 40 health and a somewhat stronger laser attack which deals 8♥♥♥♥ points of damage, but move slowly and infrequently. They will also inflict any player within 50 blocks with Mining Fatigue III for 5 minutes, checking for nearby players to afflict every 60 seconds. You will want to be sure to kill the elders in a manner that counts as a player kill so they will drop wet sponges, which can be smelted in a furnace or placed in the Nether to make dry sponges. Under the Mining Fatigue, you take about 370 times longer to break blocks and your attack speed is reduced by 30%. When an elder guardian inflicts you with Mining Fatigue III, then you could drink a bucket of milk. However, drinking milk will also remove Water Breathing, and you will just get Mining Fatigue again. An easier way is to wait until you have defeated all 3 elder guardians before drinking milk. Until then, simply don't break blocks, and travel only through pre-made passages. If you must place blocks, such as in the case where you need to run around a pillar to break line of sight with the guardians, use slime blocks, honey blocks or TNT. Slime blocks, honey blocks and TNT are breakable instantaneously even under the effect of Mining Fatigue. There are still ways to brute-force your way into a monument, which is covered later.

Locating a monument[edit]

Monuments are found only in deep ocean biomes, so you'll need to find an ocean and explore it. Being underwater, the monument may be difficult to see, but the sea lanterns are distinctive and are easily visible if you're looking for them, especially at night. The top of the monument is generally close to the surface, making it possible to search for it in the day, however it is easier to miss. You can also listen for the sound of guardian lasers as they attack squid.

In Bedrock Edition, the seed picker includes a world called "Ocean Monuments Ahead", which has multiple monuments reasonably close to the spawn point. In fact, you can easily see one of the monuments from the northeastern shore of the small island on which you spawn. This is an island survival world; it is possible to defeat the nearest monument, but see Tutorials/Island survival for survival tips.

Survival searching
  • Using a boat is the easiest way of searching for a monument, especially looking for sea lanterns at night.
  • A potion of Night Vision helps to see the monument from above the water.
  • If you have enough, ender pearls can help travel large stretches of water quickly. You can also use a Trident enchanted with Riptide.
  • Use the pre-set "Ocean Monument Ahead" seed from the seed picker,‌[Bedrock Edition only] which generates a world with several monuments a reasonable distance from the spawn location.
  • Use an Ocean Explorer Map from the cartographer villager.
  • Use an Elytra in late game.
  • Online tools, such as Chunkbase can be used to locate monuments based on the world seed.
  • Using a resource pack with clear water textures makes it easier to see the monument.
  • Using the command /locate monument. You can re-create the world from the same seed in creative mode for locating and map-making.

Equipment checklist[edit]

Equipment that is particularly helpful when infiltrating a monument:

  • Diamond armor/Netherite armor is helpful for its strong defense. If at all possible, obtain these enchantments:
  • A strong weapon, such as a diamond or netherite sword enchanted with Sharpness V, Looting III, Mending, Unbreaking III. Avoid using axes because they are slower and lose 2 durability if used to attack a mob.
  • A trident enchanted with Impaling V and Mending. Bows aren't very useful underwater but can be helpful if you're drying out the monument when guardians approach an already-dried area. Loyalty is also a good enchantment for your trident as it allows you to throw it without losing it.
  • A crossbow can fire arrows like a bow, and the arrows from a crossbow are faster and more damaging than that of a bow. However, underwater there will be little difference. However, crossbows can also fire firework rockets, which, if crafted with firework stars, will explode upon hitting a mob and do not have their velocity changed by the water, unlike arrows.
  • Food is essential since you will be taking damage and will want to regenerate. The best options are steak or cooked porkchops, since they stack and restore 8 (🍗🍗🍗🍗) each. Other great foodstuffs, such as golden apples and golden carrots, comes at a highly expensive cost, and dried kelp is a fast food but only restores 1 (🍗). If you can, bring Enchanted Golden Apples.
  • Slime blocks, Honey blocks and TNT are very useful for walling off areas you don't want to go to yet, creating barriers to break line-of-sight, and otherwise marking your path, since they can be broken instantly even while affected with Mining Fatigue III.
    • If you can't get enough slime blocks, honey blocks and TNT, you might also try wooden doors and trapdoors, since they can be opened and closed. Also, Doors and trapdoor will make an air pocket, which can be used in an emergency.
  • Soul Sand is an option as of 1.13 as they will give off air bubbles that can be used to replenish air supplies. They can also be used to help ascend to higher parts of the Monument if strategically placed. Their only downside is that they jam you to the ceiling while being used so the best strategy is to use them in safe rooms and make short excursions to clear ahead, then placing another when you feel another safe area has been cleared.
    • Alternatively, magma blocks can be used. However, you take damage if you are not sneaking on them.
  • Potions of Water Breathing allow you to ignore your air supply and concentrate on avoiding guardians and finding your way through the maze.
  • Potions of Invisibility, while wearing only boots for the Depth Strider III, can allow for sneaking past the guardians to hunt the elders or to take other resources.
  • Potions of Night Vision can help with seeing in dark areas of the monument.
  • Potions of Strength I (8:00) which will greatly increase your combat damage for a long time.
  • Milk will remove the Mining Fatigue effect, allowing you to mine through the walls of the monument to reach your destination easier. However, this will also negate your beneficial potion effects, and the elder guardians will re-apply Mining Fatigue within 60 seconds.
  • Golden Apples which will give you 2 extra hearts and Regeneration II for 5 seconds.
  • A TNT block and a gravity-affected block such as gravel, as well as a way to light the TNT. TNT by itself will be useless underwater. However, if you place a gravity-affected block on top of the TNT before lighting it, the gravity-affected block will displace the water inside the TNT entity, allowing it to possibly blow a hole in the monument.
  • If you're planning to collect sea lanterns, a tool with Silk Touch will collect them whole.
  • If you do decide to dry out the monument, sponges are extremely useful for that purpose. In that case, you'll also want a furnace and fuel to be able to reuse them.
  • A conduit will make looting the monument worlds easier to do as one set on the top of the monument will grant permanent water breathing throughout the complex. If a complete frame is used, this can also help with attacking the Guardians.
    • Ladders can also come in handy for getting up and down within the monument once the water is gone.
  • Using a leaf and shears can help block off walls and allow fast mining due to how fast shears can harvest leaves.

Defeating the monument[edit]

The first step is to get inside the monument, which can sometimes be difficult as guardians spawn outside the monument and will attack you. There are several ways you can get in:

  • Go in the front door. You might throw an ender pearl to get there quickly, dive from above, or run along the seafloor with Depth Strider III-enchanted boots.
  • Mine through the roof above the elder guardians' rooms. It can help to build a quick bunker around the site, and use milk to counteract the Mining Fatigue.
  • Tunnel up from below. For this you'll almost certainly need milk to counteract the Mining Fatigue. An efficient way to use this method would be to bring a cow and a few buckets. One of the safest ways to do this is to mine below the ocean's floor until you get to below the structure. From there you can mine up one of the 4x4 columns using a 2x2 spiral staircase, or simply using ladders if you want. Ideally, you bring a cow and a few buckets to a base you make underneath the monument, that way you can get milk much quicker. It takes a lot of milk.
  • If the player creates a platform over the apex of the monument, TNT can be activated and dropped down and an elder guardian can be killed without any structural damage.‌[Java Edition only] Also, if structural damage is preferred, sand or gravel can be dropped after the activated TNT, which will make the TNT explode inside the sand block, and structural damage will be dealt. This method can be repeated over the left and right wing of the monument, to kill the rest of the elder guardians. This can also be done underwater, by placing a sand/gravel block on top of the placed TNT before detonation.

Once inside, it can be advantageous to set up a base of operations. Doors or slime blocks can be used to seal any entrances to a chosen room, and sponge blocks can be used to quickly clear it of water. Then you might move in resources such as furnaces for drying sponges, chests to hold potions and other supplies, a bed in case you die, a nether portal for easier access via the Nether, and a cow for milk refills.

A conduit can be set up in a 3 block high undrained room for up to 31 blocks worth of Conduit Power merely by placing a slime block, honey block or block of TNT on the floor one block diagonally in from the corner, placing the conduit on top and breaking the block. This removes any worries about air and helps speed up breaking through the prismarine if that is necessary.

Your goal inside the monument is to take out the elder guardians to eliminate the Mining Fatigue III that hinders your ability to obtain the resources from the monument. There are three per monument: one in the "penthouse" at the very top and one in each of the wings flanking the main entrance. The elders themselves are not extremely difficult if you're prepared with strong armor and weapons, since they move and attack relatively slowly, but finding them within the maze can pose a challenge. It might help to wall off dead ends as you investigate them, and note that the wings are connected by a long hallway around the back of the monument that bypasses the maze.

After that is done you can simply take the sea lanterns, sponges, prismarine, and gold and leave if you want. Or turn it into a base or a guardian farm. Now that Mining Fatigue is no longer an issue, you can use any method you'd like to accomplish this. If you were lucky enough to find a sponge room (or three), the sponges will be particularly helpful in this task, as the sponges will soak up a lot of the water. Even if you did not find a sponge room, you can use the sponges from the elder guardians, or previously-obtained sponges from other monuments.

See also[edit]