Magma cubes are basically the slimes of the Nether, but they differ from slimes in several ways. Besides their obvious difference in appearance, magma slimes also move differently. Instead of hopping like slimes, magma cubes separate into 8 different layers when they jump to move forward, somewhat resembling a spring.
When a large or small magma cube dies, it can drop 0-1 Magma cream. They also drop experience points, which vary per size. A big cube drops 4 experience points, a medium cube drops 2 and a small cube drops 1 point. However, like slimes, a large and medium cube can split into smaller versions when it dies. Each cube will split into 2-4 smaller versions, which means you can earn a maximum of 36 points for killing a large magma cube and each of its smaller versions. The minimum amount you will earn is 16 experience points.
Occurrence and behavior
Magma cubes can be found throughout the Nether, though they’re usually stuck in the lower parts as they have no AI that prevents them from jumping off of cliffs. They can also be found or heard near lava lakes.
Like all other Nether monsters, magma cubes are immune to lava and fire. Magma cubes will not drown when they’re submerged by lava, but will be trapped if there’s no way to hop out of it, as they can’t swim.
Magma cubes take no fall damage and they can jump 4 blocks high. Which is something you’ll want to take into consideration if you’re planning on building a safe house in the Nether.
Killing and surviving magma cubes
The splitting effect of magma cubes makes them a bit tricky to defeat, as it increases the total amount of damage you have to do and the total amount of damage that can be done against you. However, magma cubes don’t do a lot of damage, a large magma cube only does up to 3 hearts worth of damage. But their large numbers can overwhelm a player and push him into a lava pit or over the edge of a cliff as their jumping numbers block out your view.
The easiest method to kill them is by simply using a bow until at least the large cube has died, after that it doesn’t take too much to finish off the other cubes. Small cubes can be killed by a single blow of any sword. Medium cubes require 2 strikes from a diamond sword.
Unlike the tiny slimes, the small magma cubes can hurt the player, but only with the bottom part of their bodies. So as long as you stand higher than them, none of them will hurt you.