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Health points

300 (Heart.svg × 150)

Armor points

4 (Armor.svgArmor.svg)

Attack strength

Easy: 5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg)
Normal: 8 (Withered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svg)
Hard: 12 (Withered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svg)


Built by player

First appearances

1.4.2 (12w34a (disabled, could crash the JVM)
12w36a (official))

Common drops


Network ID


Savegame ID


New Boss: The Wither. Better Craft a diaper, pal.
The Pretty Scary Update Promo Poster

The Wither is a floating three-headed boss mob with a skeletal appearance. It is the second boss, introduced in Minecraft during the Pretty Scary Update. It is Minecraft's first player-created mob to be hostile to all non-undead mobs and the player, and is so far exclusive to the PC version.


The Wither build configuration.

A Wither can only be spawned in-game using methods similar to spawning utility mobs. By placing soul sand in a T shape (as shown in the image), and putting 3 Wither Skeleton skulls on top of each three upper blocks, the Wither can be created. The last block placed must be one of the three Wither Skeleton heads; it will not spawn if the final component placed is soul sand. It cannot spawn when playing on Peaceful difficulty. Similar to all utility mobs, a Wither cannot be created by pistons. It can however be spawned with a dispenser, or with the /summon command (/summon WitherBoss). After the Wither is spawned, the sky gets slightly darker. This only occurs in the Overworld.

When spawned, the Wither will temporarily flash blue and grow larger in size as its health bar fills from half to full. While in this state, the Wither cannot move or attack and is immune to all damage. When this state ends, the Wither will create a very large explosion centered on itself, destroying nearby blocks. This explosion does not damage the Wither itself, but it will damage any nearby mobs, including the player. To avoid this, move quickly away from the Wither after spawning it. Like creepers, the Wither flashes as a warning before exploding.

A ghastly sound is played when the explosion occurs. This sound is not centered around the Wither, instead it can be heard equally from all areas of the map. It can also be heard by other players throughout dimensions.

As of 1.8 air blocks are required on either side of the base soul sand block under the upper blocks.

Getting the necessary resources[edit]

It can be troublesome to find everything you need to spawn a Wither.

Getting Soul Sand isn't too difficult once the player manages to enter the Nether. It is extremely common, plentiful, and very easy to collect.

Obtaining three Wither Skeleton skulls is the tricky part. A few things to know:

  • Wither Skeletons only spawn in Nether Fortresses, and finding one of these involves getting somewhat lucky. To maximize your chance of getting a Wither Skeleton Skull you might want to have a sword of looting which increases the chance of rare drops in monsters. Maximize your Brightness and Render Distance (in Video Settings), and occasionally stop to peer into the distance for the large, straight columns and bridges that indicate a Nether Fortress. Nether Fortresses spawn every few hundred meters along North-South lines, so after checking one North-South line for a few hundred meters and seeing nothing, move East or West and begin scanning North-South again.
  • Nether Fortresses are dangerous places, especially for poorly equipped players. The combination of numerous Blazes and Wither Skeletons, along with the Ghasts that may opt to bombard you at any given time, can be deadly. The Wither Skeletons themselves inflict the Wither effect, which is a poison that can kill you. Prepare with iron armor or better, preferably enchanted, a sword, and most importantly, a bow with a steady supply of arrows or the Infinity enchantment.
  • Wither Skeletons are dangerous foes, but they cannot pass through a two-block-high doorway. You can use this to your advantage.
  • Wither Skeletons don't spawn especially frequently, and will drop its skull only 2.5%[1] of the time, and you need three of them (50% chance of looting 3 within 107 Wither Skeleton kills[2] or 120 Wither Skeleton kills required on average). To reduce the required grinding:
    • A sword with Looting enchantment improves the odds that a Wither Skeleton will drop its skull.
    • While time consuming, you can mine the walls to expand the floor space, giving Wither Skeletons more space to spawn.
    • Some Nether Fortresses are better than others for spotting the Wither Skeletons that do spawn. Nether Fortresses with plenty of bridges and columns that are open to the Nether give you much better visibility, allowing you to spot Wither Skeletons further away (they don't spawn very frequently), but you will have to contend with a barrage of Ghast attacks. Conversely, a more sheltered Fortress comprised of hallways would protect you from above, but those same walls reduce your chances of spotting the Wither Skeletons that spawn.
      • If you'd prefer a different Nether Fortress, you can find them very easily: Nether Fortresses typically appear on North/South lines, so moving in either of those directions should bring you to another.
  • Potions of Night Vision also help to spot Wither Skeletons from further away.


To prevent anything bad from happening to any of your things, and to make it easier to battle the Wither, you should do the few things listed below.

  • Go a good distance away from your shelter, as the Wither can seriously damage any structures near it.
  • To keep your things safe from the Wither, dig about twenty-five blocks deep, and make plenty of space to spawn it and then run before the explosions begin.
  • You will probably want a source of light. Torches are almost perfect for light, but most of them will likely be destroyed by the Wither. To make it easy to see while fighting the Wither, using a Potion of Night Vision will be perfect.

In addition, there are measures that can be taken to make the fight considerably easier;

  • If you've gotten to The End and killed the Enderdragon already, you may want to consider fighting the Wither in The End. If built and then run away from, the Wither should attack Endermen instead of the player, and the Endermen will fight back. When this happens, you can get the Wither to half health, grounding it so the Endermen can finish it off, or let it float above and gun down Endermen indefinitely, which, among other things, generates a considerable quantity of free ender pearls. Additionally, this will minimize damage to your surroundings, due to the high blast resistance of End Stone and Obsidian.
  • If you're still having trouble defeating the Wither, consider building an Iron Golem to assist your fight. Its high health and damage will relieve the player of some of the burden. If you build enough, you can just leave them to do all the work, provided it doesn't have fly space (underground ideally). However, golems are costly (it won't matter for iron farm owners!).
  • As of 1.8 the Wither is affected by the 256 altitude limit on block creation like the player. So fighting the Wither on a platform at Y=255 will actually prevent the Wither from creating skulls to fire. This provides one, albeit somewhat cheap, method of fighting the Wither where it cannot fight back due to its height. One thing to remember is that the Wither will likely destroy any floating platform that it's spawned on during the initial explosion and begin sinking. It can, however, be brought back up to the player's height on an intact piece of the platform simply by hitting it with an arrow to attract its attention, which will cause it to resume its normal behavior of rising above whatever it is attacking while also rendering it unable to actually attack.


The Wither is hostile to the player and all mobs except undead mobs (Skeletons, Zombies, Zombie Pigmen, Wither Skeletons and other Withers). If spawned in the End, it usually attacks any nearby Endermen, but will attempt to pursue and attack the Ender Dragon if there are no nearby targets, usually causing no damage to the dragon at all.


The Wither can become very dangerous quickly. Upon noticing a mob, the Wither attacks them with a projectile called the “Wither Skull”. Wither Skulls move slowly and inflict a status effect called "Wither"(Wither II from the boss) on Normal and Hard difficulties. This effect is similar to Poison, except that it can kill the player and turns the health bar black, making it difficult to tell at a glance how many hearts are still full. It is possible to modify the withering hearts texture to stand out better. When attacking a Player, the Wither will fly above it, making melee attacks difficult. If it is after a flying mob and the flying mob tries to get up to it, the wither will attempt to keep rising above it, thus making both the Wither and the flying mob rise higher until they get above world height, where the Wither Skulls do not get generated any more.

Each head fires independently, allowing a Wither to attack up to three different mobs at the same time. Withers need at least 4 block high airspace to fit. They can not be trapped and suffocated in smaller rooms. Upon taking damage, the Wither will break any block that comes into contact with it, except Bedrock and End Portal Frames. If the 'mobGriefing' gamerule is off, the Wither will not break any blocks.

The Wither's boss health bar is only shown when a player is looking in the direction of a Wither, and it can also be seen through walls when the player is looking in the Wither's direction. When reaching half health, the Wither will gain the "Wither Armor" effect, which makes it immune to arrows, as well as having a visual effect surrounding it, similar to that of a Charged Creeper. While in this state, the Wither will only fly if it is after a mob or player that happens to be in the air. If calm, it simply hovers and is unable to jump up 1 block. When angered by the player, the Wither will fly at the same height as the player. Like other undead mobs (zombies, skeletons, etc.), the Wither is harmed by Potions of Healing and healed by Potions of Harming, however, he is completely unaffected by any other potion effect (both good and bad). It also regenerates over time (1 (Half Heart.svg) every 20 ticks (1 second)).

Wither Skull[edit]

Wither Skull (In-Game)

The Wither shoots Wither Skulls, which look like extra heads of itself launched as projectiles, and can keep up a fairly constant barrage of them. Upon contact, a Wither Skull will explode with a blast radius much smaller than that of TNT or a Creeper. If a Wither Skull hits a mob or a player on Normal or Hard difficulty, it inflicts the Wither II effect, draining their health and turning their hearts black, while healing the Wither for 5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) health. There are two types of Wither Skulls: a fast moving black one, and a slow moving blue one. Both have an explosion power of 1, the same as Ghast fireballs; however, the blue skull has special properties.

The black Wither Skull has a normal blast, which cannot break blocks with a blast resistance above 20. Thus, cobblestone and other Ghast-proof blocks will resist this blast. The blue Wither Skull is shot primarily if the difficulty is set to normal or above, when the Wither is idle, meaning the player is not within its aggro range. On average, 0.1% of the shots by the main head (when the Wither has a target) are Blue Skulls as well; thus even if the Wither is targeting someone, it still has a chance of shooting a Blue Skull.

Although the blue Wither Skull has the same explosion strength as the black Skull, it treats all blocks (except bedrock and End Portal frame) as having a blast resistance of no more than 4. This makes it much more destructive to the terrain, and lets the Wither blast away obsidian traps or shelters from a distance. The Wither can even unintentionally blast at faraway objects with the Blue Wither Skull, because if it misses, the shot will continue going until it hits a target, and may even go on forever. A Blue Wither Skull may be seen later if it flies into an unloaded chunk, and that chunk is entered by the player after killing the Wither. Note that unless the Blue Wither Skull was shot by the main head during its attack on a target (~0.1% chance), the Blue Wither Skull would be sent in a random direction.


Because the Wither inflicts a great deal of damage, having adequate gear and protection is required to defeat the Wither. Using a variety of techniques, such as suffocating the Wither in the Nether, suffocation using a cobble generator, enclosing the Wither in a room and utilizing iron golems, the Wither can easily be killed. Endermen can also be used to kill a Wither in an enclosed area, but this can normally only be used in Creative Mode. No other mobs can hurt the Wither, as Zombies and Zombie Pigmen are Undead, along with Skeletons, and even if you get a skeleton to attack the Wither, their arrows bounce off him due to them being undead mobs. Ghasts do not attack mobs, and Blazes shoot fireballs that have no effect on the Wither (Nether mobs do not take fire damage).


Icon Achievement In-game description Prerequisites Actual requirements (if different) Version restriction Xbox points earned Trophy type (PS)
Grid Wither Skeleton Skull.png
The Beginning? Spawn the Wither The End. PC N/A N/A
Grid Nether Star.png
The Beginning. Kill the Wither The Beginning? PC N/A N/A



Official release
1.4.2 12w34a The Wither was introduced into the game, but it does not spawn naturally. Left unfinished by Jeb and hidden in the code, it was discovered through the presence of its skin in the /mobs/ folder. Withers could only be spawned with edited monster spawners, mods, or hacks.
12w34b When its health is taken down to half, it will gain Wither Armor, making it immune to arrows.
Projectile firing rate and movement speed increased.
At PAX, Dinnerbone revealed that it would be possible to spawn Withers by arranging Wither Skeleton skulls in some way.[3][4]
1.4.2 12w36a Wither now can be spawned by arranging Soul Sand in a T shape and placing three Wither Skeleton skulls on top.
Wither now drops 20 experience and a nether star on death.
12w37a Wither will make a massive explosion upon its creation after its health is fully charged.
When there are no targets, the Wither will sometimes shoot blue Wither Skulls, which move slower and can destroy any block besides bedrock.
12w38a Added sound when Withers break blocks.
12w42b Experience dropped is increased from 20 to 50 points.
1.4-pre Various new sounds for the Wither.
1.4.4 1.4.3-pre The oversight where Withers despawned in Peaceful difficulty has been fixed. Before this update, attempting to spawn the Wither in Peaceful resulted in a waste of Soul Sand and skulls.
Withers can no longer destroy End Portals, which are supposed to be unbreakable.
1.5 13w05a Withers cannot ride minecarts anymore.
1.7.2 13w37a Added achievements for spawning and killing the Wither.
1.8 14w04a You can now spawn Withers by dispensing the wither skulls.
14w11b The hitbox of the Wither has been changed.


Issues relating to "Wither" are maintained on the issue tracker. Report issues there.


  • The Wither is 4 blocks tall, 3 blocks wide, and 1 block thick, however its collision box is only 4 blocks tall, 1 block wide, and 1 block thick.
  • If you use the command /summon [any living mob] ~ ~ ~ {Riding:{id:WitherBoss,IsWitherBossJockey:1}}, the Wither will constantly fly up while shooting wither skulls in attempt to kill the mob that is riding it. It will continue to do this until the mob is killed.
  • The Wither can be damaged by the explosions of its own projectiles.
  • Dying from the Wither effect has its own death message: [playername] withered away.
  • The Wither is unaffected by fire and lava and will not suffer drowning damage.
    • The Wither will take block suffocation damage. After the first tick of damage, it will destroy the blocks suffocating it if the mobGriefing gamerule is set to true. However, it still can't destroy bedrock.
  • There is a painting showing the soul sand and Wither Skeleton formation needed to spawn a Wither.
  • The Wither drops 50 experience, only twice the max drop for the Magma Cube (25 exp), but far behind the Ender Dragon.
  • The Looting enchantment does not affect the Wither's Nether Star drop.
  • The Wither attacks all "living" mobs such as Creepers, Spiders, Ghasts, Endermen, and the Ender Dragon.
    • The Wither will not target undead mobs (Zombies, Skeletons, etc.) and vice-versa, however Skeletons will shoot at the Wither if it is hit by a Wither skull.
  • The Wither has 100 (Heart.svg × 50) more health than the Ender Dragon, making it the vanilla mob with the most health points.
  • Unlike Ghast fireballs, Wither skulls cannot be hit or shot with an arrow to be redirected. If they’re shot with arrows they will explode on contact, destroying the skull and the arrow.
  • In many foreign language translations, Wither is translated to a portmanteau of "Skeleton" and "Cerberus". This is due to the fact that it has three heads.
  • The Wither can still see you when you are using the invisibility potion and will not turn invisible when hit by an invisibility potion.
  • Because the Wither is undead, Splash Potions of Healing will damage it and Splash Potions of Harming will heal it.
  • What looks like the vertebral column of the Wither is not exactly centered relative to the other part of its body: it is shifted by a half pixel on its right side.
  • In Spanish (España), the Wither is called "Eustaquio" and the kill message is translated to "[playername] sufrió una witherhostia" (literally "[playername] got witherpounded").
  • The Wither is one of only five mobs that give a debuff to the player; the other four being the Wither Skeleton, the Cave Spider, the Witch, and the Elder Guardian.
  • If you use a name tag to rename the Wither, the boss meter will use that name instead of "Wither".
  • Unlike the Wither Skeleton, a Wither's eyes and mouth are both white.
  • Despite having 3 heads, only the center one will look at the player.
  • The Wither can break obsidian.
  • The Wither's charging explosion, like other explosions, can be negated with water. The explosion comes from the head, so covering a wither's head in water will prevent block damage from the initial explosion. As of 1.8, however, water will detach wither skulls placed on soul sand. So negating the explosion means placing or channeling the water after starting the spawn process.
  • When freshly created, the Wither is slightly smaller than when fully healed. Likewise, /summoning a wither with a high invulnerability tag can create a huge upside-down wither, which will shrink until invisible then grow the right way up. You could use the Dinnerbone nametag easter egg to turn it the right way up, however when it becomes "normal" it will be upside down.
  • If you look closely at a Red sandstone block, you can see a Wither with the letters H and C next to it.