How to Conquer Ancient Cities in Minecraft 1.19 Featured Image

How to Conquer Ancient Cities in Minecraft 1.19

Last updated March 20, 2023

Minecraft 1.19 or the “Wild Update” is just around the corner with weekly snapshot releases. There are various new additions to the game during this update that should have been implemented in the 1.17 and 1.18 updates such as the Warden, Sculk Sensors, and other Sculk related blocks but due to the ongoing pandemic and with how big and heavy the new features are, they are delayed until 1.19.

Warden is part of the supposedly 1.17 update while Ancient City was just announced recently on the Minecraft Live 2021 back on October 16, 2021. This newly added structure has tons of rare loot and has the new Swift Sneak enchantment, along with other new items, and of course, the new Warden mob.

It seems easy to explore on first sight but beware of the dangers that lurk in the dark. Horror awaits you… but we are here to help you overcome these obstacles and conquer your first Ancient City!

Why you Should Conquer the Ancient City

Ancient City contains rare loot such as Echo Shards which can be crafted into a Recovery Compass, Disc Fragments that can be crafted to a disc that is newly added in the game, and many more. Aside from those, they also have the Sculk Sensors which can prove useful when creating wireless redstones or for sensors and adding the Sculk Catalyst which you can use to create an XP farm bank, the Ancient City is a must go-to.

A loot found inside the Ancient City.

A loot found inside the Ancient City.

Preparing for the Journey

Conquering the Ancient City can be a bit tedious as you need to prepare for the worst-case scenario since multiple Wardens can spawn at once. And with bats being able to trigger the Sensors off, you’re in for a bruising if you’re unprepared. And with that, here is the list of all the items you need to conquer the Ancient City:


Snowballs now have a valuable use aside from being used in snowball fights, snow golem creations and cheap Blaze killers. Snowballs can now be used to lure Wardens away from you. You will need 4 or more stacks of these items as you’ll easily burn through these to lure Wardens away. These cheap yet reliable projectiles will be your first line of defense against these beasts.


There’s a better alternative to snowballs as a lure… and it’s the eggs laid by the Chicken. Having more than 4 stacks of it will surely be able to help keep the Warden busy away from you due to how noisy the chicks are, but with only a mere 12.5% chance of spawning, you’re better off having multiple stacks of them just to be sure.

-Water Bucket

You might already have this in your inventory anyway, but it’s still better to remind you. Water buckets, when used and timed properly will save you from fall damage. This could mean life or death on some occasions, especially when you’re being chased by Wardens and other hostile mobs. In a worst-case scenario, you can use the water to push away the Warden while you mine on a wall away from it.

-Wool blocks and Carpets

Since the inclusion of Sculk Sensors and Sculk Shriekers, the concept of stealth became prominent so as not to gain the attention of the Warden. There is wool around the Ancient City you might want to get. But you better have some before diving down to the depths since they’ll help you mitigate the noise you’ll create when doing certain actions.

-Extra Blocks

Acquiring one is super easy since you can just mine around you for this. Having extra blocks can help you bridge away or tower yourself away enough to not let the Warden use their Sonic Boom attack.

-Extra Swords and Axes

With the Warden having a whopping 500 health (250 hearts), Warden has the highest amount of health of any creature currently in the game. Killing it might take half of your full-durability Iron Sword. And with the many Sensors and Shriekers there are in an Ancient City, it is necessary to stock up weapons when diving there.

-DoT Potions or Items (OPTIONAL)

As said earlier, Wardens are tough, so having damage-over-time (DoT) potions such as Lingering Potion of Harming or Poison can help lower its health down. DoT items such as Flint and steel do not work as Wardens are immune to both lava and fire damage, and Wither Rose is the only DoT item that can be used to lower its health. This is optional only due to how inconvenient these items are to bring down because of the many slots it takes to create a real effect.


Sculk blocks can be easily destroyed using a hoe tool. A preferable tier is stone and above to quickly remove these blocks. One of the blocks you should look out for and remove immediately are the Sculk Shriekers to stop the Wardens from spawning and stop the Darkness effect debuff from being applied to you all the time.

In the end, I picked a mix of tools, bow, sword, eggs and snowballs, wools and carpets, a water bucket, and extra blocks I mined along the way.

Minecraft users inventory laid out with the items discussed above.

Locating an Ancient City

Ancient City can only generate in the Deep Dark biome, usually located below -Y51 and beyond. These structures can sometimes be connected to a cavern or located below a pitfall from an underground ravine.

Red boxes around the y axis and the biome markers.

As of the current making of this article, there aren’t any specialized maps or tools that can be used to locate an Ancient City. Stumbling into one will be by pure luck and chance only.

Entering the Ancient City

Even entering the ancient city needs to be planned out. You never know if there are Shriekers around near you that can spawn the Warden!

Place  many torches or light sources in the entrance of the city first. This will help lessen the risk of spawning other hostile mobs that may kill you when you’re running away from the Warden. There is no such thing as too many torches in this scenario!

A large underground ravine.

The next one is optional but still advisable. Create a fallback base on the entrance that’s deep enough to prevent the Warden from using its Sonic Boom attack on you. A base with a deep entrance and a noise machine will help ward off the Warden. If possible, you can also add an escape route by making a tunnel or a direct water elevator to the surface using soul sand.

As for what I did, I created a 1x3 door with a little shallow base since I’ve made an escape route towards the surface. It also has beds to spawn me closer to the Ancient City, and chests so that I can just dump off loot in here before bringing it up to the surface. There is also a crafting table and a furnace so I can craft and smelt ore on the go. The base was also constructed using wool to prevent or at the very least minimize the noise when a Warden is chasing me.

A deeper look into the ravine, blueish black blocks can be seen.

A small base made out of wool with beds and basic essentials

The next thing you’ll do once you’ve done the first and (probably) the second step is to check for Sculk Sensors and Shriekers that are clustered together. These clusters are a real hazard and must be avoided at all costs! If you cannot find a way around, you can use the handy hoe tool you’ve brought. Not only will the Shriekers and Sensors drop XP but will also prevent the Warden from completely spawning.

Labeled sculk shriekers and sculk sensors

Traversing the Ancient City

As I’ve said earlier, the Ancient City is riddled with clusters of Shriekers and Sensors, which pose a great threat. This also increases the difficulty of traversing the area. Luckily, we came prepared!

One of the best ways to traverse the area is by using carpets and wool as they mitigate, if not completely remove the noise you make when walking, running, and doing actions. If you’re not careful enough, you might trigger a Sensor that could send the signal to a Shrieker which then spawns the dreaded Warden! From sprinting to a minute action such as eating food to restore hunger or using your shield can trigger these sensors.

Shield up to sculk sensors

When you’re inside the Ancient City and traversing it, you either sneak-walk or use wool and carpets to move. Sneaking is only a last-ditch effort if you don’t have wool or carpets as this can hinder your exploration. It isn’t as effective as wool as well and might place you in dangerous situations.

You can bring an entire stack of wool when you’re exploring an Ancient City since carpets can be crafted in the inventory. This is to save space and efficiently use the item when needed only. Use wool to block noise and use carpets for walking, sprinting, and jumping. 

Opening a chest generates a noise and can trigger Sensors and Shriekers. To bypass this hazard, you can use the wool and block off the chest on the side where there are sensors. This will prevent the chest from making noise, reducing the chance of an encounter with a Warden.

Minecraft character on a platform of wool

As for the loot, there are various areas where you can find items. Most of the time, they will be protected by clusters of Sculk Sensors and Shriekers. The images below are some of the areas where you can find chests to loot. Some are positioned at the outer area of the city while others can be found on the middle of city. You can easily loot them by removing the Shriekers with a hoe or covering up the chest with wool before opening it.

Four screenshots of the buildings of the Ancient Cities

Encountering the Dreaded Warden

Even if you prepare well and made several dry runs on a duplicate world for an Ancient City exploration, you’ll still most likely encounter a Warden because of other entities triggering the Sculks. It’s still better to know what to do when you encounter one.

What are Wardens?

Warden is the new mob that will be added in the 1.19 Minecraft Wild Update that was supposed to be added way back in the 1.17 release update. This entity is bigger than Iron Golems and much tougher to kill than other mobs with its whopping 250 hearts of health or 500HP and a massive damage of 8 hearts (16HP) on easy difficulty on Java and 22.5 hearts (45HP) on hard difficulty. They are also blind according to the Minecraft Live 2021 but have a sense of smell to path-find towards a target.

On previous snapshots, Wardens could not attack their target from afar but with the release of the 22w15a snapshot, it gained the Sonic Boom attack that can damage a target even behind walls. Luckily, this attack can only damage a single target and has no collaterals.

The Wardens sonic boom attack.

Wardens are 3 blocks tall and 1 block wide, which allows you to easily outrun it when you’ve prepared a tunnel smaller than that. Despite being humongous mobs, they can easily sprint towards you. This might give you a big jumpscare especially with the darkness debuff effect they give to players when they’re near. Their loud heartbeat adds to the scary ambiance the Ancient City already has, which only gets faster the closer they are to you. You’ll also notice something inside its ribs pulsating. The pulsating has the same beat as its heartbeat.

What to do when a Warden Spawns?

That’s easy: run! Once you’ve heard the crackling and somewhat gory sound, run for your life! Towering up is a good idea but only if you can reach past 20 blocks high. Wardens can sniff you out up to 20 blocks vertically and 16 blocks horizontally and while they can sniff you, they will attack you.

If you chose to run away instead of tower up, have your egg ready and spam them around until several chicks have spawned. This strategy might be ruthless as they will act as a decoy… but it is a necessary sacrifice that you should be willing to make. Their continuous clucking and movement will anger the Warden and it will stop to kill them. You can take this chance to use wool to build up and escape or use a carpet pathway to make a safe get-away path. Though, this is not a guaranteed save.

A Warden in the Ancient City

Warden’s range attacks cannot be blocked by a shield. Its melee attack acts similar to an axe; it disables the shield for 5 seconds, so your best bet is to tower up 25 blocks or more then use the egg as a decoy. This will give you the opportunity to rain down arrows on it without the Warden retaliating.

Looking down into a self made staircase down to the Ancient City.

Just be sure to clean up the chicks before going down once more, or else they might accidentally spawn another Warden!

Conquering the Ancient City

Finally, we reached the liberation of Ancient City, and to fully conquer the minecraft Ancient City structures and claim it as yours, you just need to destroy all the Shriekers and loot the entire place! With that done, you no longer have to deal with the constant Warden paranoia. You just need to light up the entire area and fix some stuff here and there and you now have your own underground horror city.

This may be anti-climatic with all the preparations we’ve done, but the difficult part was being stealthy and avoiding confrontation with the Warden. With how sensitive the Sculks are, even a stray bat may end up killing you. Factoring other variables such as the hostile mobs like Zombies, Skeletons, Creeper, Spiders and Endermen, the quest to conquer the Ancient City proves to be difficult.

Conquering the city in itself is quite easy if you’re doing it by yourself and without the external factors, which seems like you’re conquering it in peaceful mode. But if you do plan to conquer it with difficulty on, then you better prepare to increase your chance of survival and to prevent the loss of valuable items in your game! 

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How to Conquer Ancient Cities in Minecraft 1.19

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