Minecraft: How to Survive the Nether

AbraxasJanuary 12, 2022

Minecraft’s Nether dimension is a dangerous place to explore, though players who step through their portals prepared may just survive.

No area, biome or dimension in Minecraft is quite as brutal as the sandbox game’s take on the underworld. The Nether is a late-game dimension that players can visit after constructing an obsidian portal and igniting it with a flint and steel. Despite the dangers that the Nether presents, players looking to complete Minecraft will inevitably have to fight their way through it to create the Eyes of Ender needed to reach the game’s other dimension: The End.

Before building a Nether portal, players should understand the Nether’s unique distance trait. Every block traveled in the Nether actually correlates to eight blocks traveled in the overworld. While this doesn’t mean much when building one portal in the overworld, it makes a huge difference for building a portal to escape. Players are better off keeping track of where the portal they exit from is located in the Nether, as building one to escape may lead to them being thousands of blocks away from home.

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Players should also travel light, if possible, as the massive pools of fast-flowing lava can lead to quick deaths that destroy entire inventories. For a player’s first trip, they really shouldn’t bring any tool stronger than iron. Diamond tools, outside of a diamond sword, aren’t going to provide much of a benefit in the Nether early on. Eventually, players may want to carry a diamond pickaxe to help them mine ancient debris for Netherrite, but this is shouldn’t be a priority during a first trip to the Nether.

Essential items to consider include a crafting bench, a bow, spare blocks, a spyglass and gold boots. The spyglass and bow will help players spot and defend themselves against Ghasts, which can be tricky to kill with just a sword. Spare blocks will be incredibly useful for traversing the Nether, though there’s an abundant amount of Netherack to mine as well. Wearing any kind of gold armor will keep the Piglins at bay, with gold boots providing the smallest sacrifice to a player’s armor rating.

Speaking of Piglins, they can be fairly dangerous to fight in large numbers. Well-equipped players shouldn’t have too much trouble taking them on one by one, though wearing gold armor and trading with them tends to be a smarter option. Throwing a gold bar on the ground near a Piglin will cause it to pick it up. After examining it, the Piglin will drop an item for the player at random. These can be anything from fire resistance potions to Enderpearls, though certain key items still require exploration to find.

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Piglins can be easily pacified, but the far more dangerous Hoglin is something to avoid. While it’s possible to fight and kill a Hoglin, their attacks will launch players into the air. Given that massive drops into pools of lava are fairly common in the Nether, a Hoglin in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily kill unsuspecting players Luckily, Hoglins only spawn in Crimson Forest biomes, which often have a ton of high-ground that players can use to move past any that spawn below. Hoglins are also afraid of Warped Fungi, so players might want to carry some around to place down in case of a Hoglin attack.

A Nether Fortress from Minecraft in the Warped Forest biome.

Crimson Forests are actually worth keeping an eye out for since the massive stems that make up the biome’s “trees” can be cut down and turned into planks. Those brave enough to try living in the Nether will absolutely need to visit either a Crimson Forest or a Warped Forest just to get wood. The Nether’s two forest biomes are probably the most dangerous locations in the dimension, though the Bastion Remnants shouldn’t be taken lightly.

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Players may come across ruined tower-like structures made of black bricks when exploring the Nether. These Bastion Remnants serve as strongholds for Piglins, and any Piglin inside will be hostile to players no matter what. Granted, these Bastions often have a ton of loot that’s worth trying to grab — just be ready for a tough fight. Nether Fortresses are the other kind of structure that can appear, with these crimson castles being the only place where Blazes spawn.

Surviving the Nether can sometimes just mean getting out as quickly as possible. The fastest way to traverse the Nether without enchantments is by riding Striders. These passive mobs can be saddled and ridden, but players will need a warped fungus on a stick in order to control what direction they go. Striders are incredibly fast mobs that function as lava boats. Traveling across the lava on a Strider is actually one of the safest ways to explore, as long as the Strider doesn’t die.

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