Tutorials/Defeating a woodland mansion

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An average three-story woodland mansion.

Woodland mansions are massive structures found in Dark Forests. They are highly anticipated to explore because they are one of the only reliable ways to find the totem of undying, and contain valuable loot in large quantities.

Exploration checklist[edit]

Exploring a mansion requires a lot of preparation, but not everyone has the same skills. So depending on how skilled you are, different preparations may be needed. The following is a suggested collection of equipment you might need:

  • An iron sword at minimum. Enchantments such as Sharpness and Fire Aspect will give you an easier time fighting the illagers, while Knockback helps keep a safe distance from vindicators.
  • A bow for ranged combat against evokers. Enchantments such as Power and Flame enable quicker kills, while Punch knocks the illagers back a safe distance.
    • Crossbows are an alternative to bows, although bows are sufficient.
  • One arrow with Infinity, or a stack of 64 at minimum
  • A full set of high-durability iron armor at minimum. Protection allows you to take less damage from evocation fangs, even though evocation fangs bypass armor, and guarantee higher survivabiliy against a vindicator’s ambushes.
  • A iron axe for breaking through walls and revealing secret rooms.
  • Highly nutritious food, such as bread, baked potatoes or cooked meat
  • A shield for protection against vexes, as well as vindicators as they cannot disable shields ‌[Bedrock Edition only].
  • A stack of 64 cobblestone, dirt or any other expendable block for quick towering, hiding, etc.
  • A bed to set your respawn point outside the mansion in case you die
  • Several stacks of torches to light up the mansion and prevent common hostile mobs from spawning
  • A woodland explorer map to track down the mansion

Optional equipment[edit]

Preparing equipment[edit]

Sword / Axe[edit]

Your sword or axe is your primary melee weapon for eliminating vindicators or cornering evokers. Although the durability of axes decreases more rapidly when used as a weapon, critical hits deal extremely heavy, if not fatal, blows to your target, and they can also be used to punch through walls for uncovering secret rooms.

Bow / Crossbow[edit]

Your bow, a secondary weapon, should be used for taking out enemies from a distance if there are many gathered together. When in melee combat, it is always safer to fall back to ranged combat if you’re swarmed by illagers. If you take a crossbow with you, however, make sure that an arrow has already been loaded for a faster first shot.


Armor is a must-have when exploring a mansion, because vindicators have one of the strongest direct attacks of any hostile mob, and vexes also have substantial melee damage. Iron armor should be worn at minimum, and Protection helps to reduce damage from evocation fangs that would otherwise completely bypass armor and shields.


Nutritious food, such as steak and cooked porkchops, are absolutely necessary for healing after a fight.

Expendable blocks[edit]

Cobblestone and dirt are the go-to expendable block for building a protective cover to heal, towering or bridging your way across. Although dirt is much easier to gather, keep in mind that it’s not as tough and can be destroyed by a creeper explosion. However, if evocation fangs are coming your way, use dirt instead of cobblestone to build a barrier such that you can quickly mine and escape if the fangs pass through.


A few stacks of torches provide better visibility in dark corners, and prevent common mobs from spawning.

Water bucket[edit]

Used to break your fall. Necessary for all missions, no matter the difficulty.


A shield (or two for backup) is recommended for a mansion venture because it can be used to block melee attacks. Just be more careful when using a shield against vindicators, as their axe attacks can disable itJava Edition only.

Explorer map[edit]

The main way to locate a woodland mansion without cheats. Woodland explorer maps can be obtained from cartographer villagers.


As mansions are typically thousands of blocks away, a pair of elytra combined with firework rockets will suffice for a speedier and more efficient journey to the mansion. Just make sure you’ve packed enough phantom membranes for repair, or enchanted the elytra with Unbreaking (and possibly Mending) for it to last longer.

Healing items[edit]

Powerful illager attacks can bring you to a vulnerable state at times, so golden apples, healing potions and regeneration potions will come in handy for a swift healing cover. Enchanted apples can heal you more than regular ones, but since they are extremely rare, use them sparingly if you get your hands on some.

If you do obtain a Totem of Undying by killing an evoker, do place it in your left hand slot as soon as possible, as shields aren’t as useful in woodland mansions due to the illagers’ shield-piercing or shield-disabling attacks.

Helpful potions[edit]

Potions enhance your performance, which can be highly beneficial although not necessary. Strength potions can give you the edge in combat, while invisibility potions can allow you to sneak into loot rooms given that you’re unarmored.

Ender chest / shulker box[edit]

These make transportation of loot much easier, as mansions are very far from the spawn point. You can even pack backup gear in the ender chest, which you can place at the mansion’s entrance along with a bed, such that if you die, you’ll be able to respawn at your ender chest and quickly ready yourself for a counterattack.

Ender pearls[edit]

Ender pearls can be used for quick travel across mansion floors, or escaping from a crowd of illagers. On the journey, if your elytra breaks while you are flying, throw an ender pearl to the ground to break your fall.

Getting there[edit]

Obtaining the map[edit]

The woodland explorer map trade, which requires emeralds and a compass.

Players begin their mansion journey with a woodland explorer map, which can be obtained by trading with a journeyman cartographer for around 14 emeralds and a compass. In Java Edition, the cartographer always sells the map, but in Bedrock Edition, they have a 13 chance to sell it. Besides a map’s regular features, the explorer map has a house-shaped icon that indicates where the mansion is.

Finding new places[edit]

Since the journey to the mansion is extremely long, chances are you’ll discover new places along the way, some of which contain extra loot. Do explore them before continuing on your journey as you might be able to stock up on supplies for your upcoming raid. Blacksmiths in villages and temples are among the more useful structures you’ll find.

Temporary camp[edit]

Before you enter the mansion, you should set up a small base at its cobblestone entrance, where it is pre-lit by torches. Build a fence around the entrance to prevent hostile mobs from trespassing. Make a smoker to prepare extra food, place a bed to reset your spawn point and position your ender chest beside your bed. Don’t forget to bring along your shulker box if you have one, as you can store more items with it!

Navigating the mansion[edit]

Stay alert as you explore. There’s nothing more awful than getting surprised by a creeper explosion and dying on the spot, losing all your experience points in the process. Vindicator ambushes are another threat as they deal hefty amounts of damage.

For added security, you could head to the second floor immediately to kill an evoker and get its Totem of Undying, before exploring normally afterwards floor-by-floor.

If you spot groups of illagers in the distance, use a ranged weapon to take them out one-by-one. Against lone ones, however, don’t hesitate to dispatch them with your sword or axe.

Don't bother looking in storage room chests; they contain nothing, and looking through them leaves you vulnerable to ambushes.

Always look out for solid walls where windows should be, or strange missing spaces in-between rooms; these could indicate a secret room behind. Two of them contain obsidian with a diamond block in the center, so be sure to take with you a diamond pickaxe to extract the diamonds within.

If you plan to make the mansion your base, be sure to light up every room to prevent hostile mob spawning. Be careful not to accidentally set anything on fire or let creepers sneak up on you.

Killing the mobs[edit]


Vindicators have 24♥ × 12 HP, which means they’re not the beefiest mobs out there. However, their punishing axe blows deal a maximum of 19♥ × 9.5 damage on Hard difficulty, and are especially dangerous if their axes are enchanted.

  • In Java Edition shields are redundant, so quickly attack them until they die.
  • Against a group, either strike before retreating, or build a 3-block tall pillar to hit your assailants from above.
  • They drop 0-2 emeralds upon death and have a chance of dropping their iron axe as well.


Evokers have 24♥ × 12 HP like vindicators, but have a more unconventional fighting style. When within a 16-block radius, they summon a row of evocation fangs that bypass armor and shields, and when cornered, they summon a ring of said fangs instead. Evokers may also summon three vexes to join the fight, and flee at the player’s sprinting speed when cornered.

  • Shooting them with a ranged weapon is the safest way to defeat an evoker.
  • Melee combat is also possible; corner the evoker into a small space while dodging any fangs that come your way, before striking repeatedly until it dies.
  • Upon death, evokers drop their Totem of Undying as well as 0-1 emeralds.


Summoned by evokers, Vexes can fly through walls and floors to attack their target by surprise. Despite their low health pool, they deal up to 13♥ × 6.5 damage on Hard difficulty, meaning that they’re not to be trifled with.

  • Time your hits well against vexes, and retreat if necessary to avoid getting struck.
  • Against a swarm of vexes, just flee from the scene and ignore them; they drop nothing when killed anyway and will despawn within 2 minutes.

Strategies for defeat[edit]

Melee Warfare[edit]

Required Items:

  • Fairly good fighting skills

Procedure: Using a sword or bow, attack the illagers head on. Take down the mansion room by room, and punch holes in the walls to look for secret rooms.

Water Defense[edit]

Required Items:

Procedure: When a vindicator spots you, apply the water bucket right underneath you to make a water pool. Stand in the water and hit the vindicators with your sword, as they will have a very hard time getting to you.

Arrows from Above[edit]

Required Items:

Procedure: Climb to the top of the mansion where you’ll set up camp. From there, destroy the roof and whip out your ranged weapon of choice to shoot any illagers from above, room-by-room. After clearing a loot room containing illagers, use your water bucket to head downwards, extract the loot and head to the roof again for more shooting. This method is great in the sense that all secret rooms are guaranteed to be uncovered.


Required Items


A vindicator trapped with dirt blocks by the player under the effects of invisibility.

Enter the mansion invisible. Trap illagers you see in blocks, making sure that you don’t come too close as they might notice you.

Raid Squad[edit]

Required Items

  • Other players with regular supplies

Procedure: There are many different ways to raid a mansion in a group. It’s easiest to go full-on “Melee Warfare” with a team, though more organised players might assign roles for each teammate (e.g. melee fighter, sniper, potion lobber, etc.) before heading in.

Wolf Army[edit]

Required Items

  • A pack of tamed wolves (the more the better)
  • Extra meat to heal the wolves

Procedure: Use regular stategies to go about raiding the mansion. Your wolves will serve as your guardians and increase your survivability.

Here’s Johnny![edit]

Required Items

Procedure: Name vindicators "Johnny" such that they attack other mobs, which will make your raid more pleasant. Invisibility potions reduce the likelihood of the vindicators noticing you as you name them.

Mass destruction[edit]


Procedure: It’s simple as blowing up parts of the mansion to destroy illagers, or burning everything away to reveal hidden chests. Just stay away from fires and explosion, of course!


Many mansion rooms contain chests with “dungeon loot” in them.

  • "Checkerboard room" - the loot chest is located above the entrance.
  • "X room" - there’s a loot chest at the corner.
  • "Gray banner room" - the loot chest is found behind the cobblestone construction.
  • "Wood arch hallway" - the loot chest is located the end of the room.
  • "Winding stairway room" - the loot chest is located at the end of the winding passageway.
  • “Bedroom with loft” - the loot chest is found at the loft.
  • “Lone chest room” - the loot chest sits in plain sight at the center.
  • "Attic room" - there are two loot chests positioned at each end of the upper attic of this room.
  • "Arena room" - the loot chest resides on the loft.
  • "Fake End portal room" - the trapped chest, which contains 2 Ender pearls, sits on the woolen “End portal”, and is flanked by two TNT on each side.
  • “Allium room” - the chest at the entrance is full of alliums.
  • "Sapling farm" - the chest at the entrance holds 28 dark oak saplings.
  • "Tree-chopping room" - the loot chest at the foot of the tree contains an iron axe enchanted with Efficiency I.
  • “Storage rooms”, “mushroom farm” - the chests are empty.

Aside from loot chests, there are several valuable blocks that the player can scavenge from the mansion's rooms: the secret “obsidian room" and "lava room" both contain a diamond block in the center of the structures, and the "illager statue room" contains a hidden lapis lazuli block in the illager’s head, to name a few.

For further information, please see the page woodland mansion/loot.


After the mansion is looted, there are a number of things you can do with it. You can turn it into a home, burn it down, systematically dismantle it to get extra resources, or just leave it as it is.

Turn it into a home[edit]

Turn the mansion into your base. Light it up and clear out all hostile mobs. You can use the original rooms, or tear down the inner walls and build them how you want. Make sure to change the beds in the bedrooms so you can sleep in them. Add a kitchen, bathroom, anything you want. You can even redesign the whole mansion.

Make a villager breeder or any type of farm inside[edit]

You can build some type of farm(s) inside. You can make a spider farm with the spider spawner, bring in villagers for villager trading halls, or make the building a giant crop farm.

Build a community building[edit]

Use the woodland mansion for a community building. Redo the inner walls and move it to the location you want using mods. Some ideas are making a hotel, town hall, or factory.