Tutorials/Defeating the ender dragon
The ender dragon is one of the two bosses in Minecraft, the other being the wither. It lives in the End, and is usually considered the final boss of the game, despite it being added first[JE & LCE only] and the wither's advancements unlocking after defeating it.
The dragon is a highly anticipated fight as its downfall grants the player access to the End's outer islands, via an end gateway portal. It will also activate the exit portal and allow the player to return to the Overworld.
- 1 Item loadout
- 2 Item roles
- 3 The fight
- 4 The rewards
- 5 The rematch
A decent player with some potions can take the dragon with just unenchanted iron armor, a bow (with arrows), a diamond sword and extra blocks. However, most players take some extra measures to secure a no death victory.
Defeating the ender dragon can require a lot of preparation (doubly so for hardcore mode), and depending on one's own skill level, different preparations may be needed. The following is the most ideal collection of equipment the player might bring:
- A diamond sword enchanted with Sharpness V and Looting III (Knockback is effective against the endermen, but not the dragon)
- A bow enchanted with Power V and Infinity I (Flame and Punch are ineffective)
- One arrow (or several stacks if ranged weapon does not have Infinity)
- A full set of diamond armor enchanted with Protection IV and Thorns III (Thorns optional) (boots enchanted with Feather Falling IV)
- A diamond pickaxe enchanted with Efficiency V and Mending
- At least 10 golden apples
- Highly nutritious food, such as cooked porkchop or steak
- At least two slow falling potions while attacking a perching ender dragon, there is a constant risk of being flung tens to hundreds of blocks up into the sky when the dragon flings itself at you; having slow falling potions greatly reduces the odds of falling to death
- At least four regeneration or instant health potions
- At least two strength potions
- At least two stacks of cobblestone or at least two stacks of ladder
- An ender chest
- At least a stack of ender pearls
- Several stacks of glass bottles to collect dragon's breath (optional but highly recommended)
- Torches, to collect the dragon egg after the battle
- Snow blocks or iron blocks and pumpkins, to spawn golems that will deal with the endermen
- A carved pumpkin, to wear and avoid the endermen until the player spawns the golems
- A crossbow enchanted with Quick Charge III and Piercing IV (optional)
- A trident enchanted with Loyalty III (optional)
- A potion of Night Vision (optional)
- A water bucket (optional)
- One or two enchanted golden apples (optional)
- One or two totems of undying (optional)
- Potion of the Turtle Master (optional)
- Several beds (optional)
Note: All gear with durability benefits from Unbreaking.
The sword is used to damage the dragon while she is on her perch, with a secondary use of dealing with any provoked endermen. Knockback is ineffective against the dragon, but is helpful against the endermen. If the sword is enchanted with Fire Aspect, any endermen hit will be more difficult to deal with since they teleport upon taking damage. However, they will still get hurt for every fire tick. Looting will allow the player to get extra ender pearls from endermen if necessary.
The bow will be the player's main weapon; both for destroying the end crystals, and against the dragon while it is flying through the air. (Note that if the player adds Infinity to the bow, they will not be able to add Mending. Mending allows the bow to self-repair when the player collects experience. If the player has a large supply of Arrows, they should consider using Mending instead of Infinity.)
If the player does not want to use a bow, a crossbow is a great alternative. The advantages of a crossbow are that it has a longer range and can inflict more damage than a regular bow. However, a crossbow cannot be enchanted with Infinity, so it is possible to run out of arrows while using it. On the plus side, with the Piercing enchantment the arrows fired can pass through non-mob entities, so it is possible (although difficult) to destroy multiple end crystals with a single shot. Fireworks are not recommended since they do not destroy the end crystals and don't deal any damage to the ender dragon.
The ender dragon has an attack strength of 15 × 7.5 with her head on hard difficulty. It is the third strongest direct attack of any hostile mob, topped by the vindicator and the ravager. In Bedrock and Legacy Console editions, it is tied with the wither’s dash attack making it the fourth strongest. Therefore, the player should wear a full set of diamond armor enchanted with Protection IV. Since the main way of taking damage during the fight is fall damage, Feather Falling IV on the player's boots is absolutely necessary. Thorns is also recommended, because it will damage any provoked endermen when they attack the player. However, Thorns has a low enchantment weight, so be sure to add Unbreaking to the armor as well.
When the player enters the End, they might spawn underground. A pickaxe will be necessary to dig up to the surface. It is also needed to break into the cages protecting some of the end crystals. If the player doesn't bring a pickaxe, it will take a long time to break both the iron bars and end stone. Silk Touch is necessary to reclaim the ender chest.
Even if the player is very well-protected, they are likely to take a great deal of damage during the fight. Therefore, healing items are absolutely necessary. Golden apples are the most efficient healing item because they provide Absorption, which will protect the player from most damage while they are healing, so bring at least 10. Potent healing potions and extended regeneration potions are recommended, but not required. Enchanted golden apples can heal players more than regular ones, but they are extremely difficult to find, so save them only for emergencies and use regular golden apples otherwise.
The totem of undying can be used after the player explores a woodland mansion or stops a raid. However, these are not easy to accomplish. If you manage to get some, they can be used in emergencies and will prevent the player from dying. To use it, simply place it in the off-hand, and ignore that it is there while fighting. The only problem is when you have a totem of undying in the off-hand, you can't have a shield, which can be more important in some situations like blocking the charge attack. When the player takes fatal damage, the totem will explode and cause an animation of fireworks, which will "resurrect" the player and provide them Regeneration and temporary Absorption.
There should never be a time when the player does not have food with them. Cooked porkchop, steak and pumpkin pie are some of the most nutritious foods possible, so bring at least a stack of either of these. The player can also bring cake in case of the event that they need to eat very quickly. The player can instantly place a cake down and start eating without any delay. However, cake has a low saturation and hunger-filling value so you're better off bringing splash healing potions if you're in a tight spot.
Potions are extremely useful in the fight to enhance the player’s performance. Because of the dragon’s knockback ability, fall damage, and the potential for being thrown off cliffs, extended slow falling potions are almost mandatory. Strength potions, leaping potions and swiftness potions can also be used to boost the player's abilities during the fight. Potions of the Turtle Master can also be used to reduce damage from end crystals, angry endermen and the dragon.
Potions can also be used for emergency healing. Golden apples can serve as a healing item, as they will allow them to regenerate while being protected by Absorption. However, they are only effective when the player takes a reasonable amount of damage. In the case of emergencies, such as the health being reduced to 4, healing potions are recommended because they will heal the player instantly. It is recommended to turn them into splash potions because they can be used faster than normal potions and will heal them as quickly as the player can throw them.
Regeneration potions can help the player regenerate faster than golden apples are able to, but they should only be used if the player takes damage over time as The dragon can inflict damage instantly.
Blocks can be useful for climbing up the towers. Harder blocks, such as cobblestone, are better than softer blocks. It is recommended to use blocks to climb the taller towers and just shoot the end crystals on the short ones from the ground. Also, the player might need blocks to build to the top of the towers that have cages around the end crystals. Alternatively, they can throw an ender pearl to get to the top. The player can choose to use blocks or ender pearls to bridge to the central island if they spawned on an obsidian platform outside of the main island.
Ladder can be an alternative to blocks to climb the obsidian pillars as the player will not need to break the ladders to get down. Ladders are generally easier to place down unlike blocks in which case the player must jump and place everytime.
An ender chest is almost necessary to have because it can store items that the player will not use during the fight. It can only be reclaimed using a Silk Touch pickaxe. All ender chests in the world, including in different dimensions, are interconnected. So even if the player dies in the End, all of the items in the ender chest will be safe. If the player makes a new ender chest, all of the items that were originally in it will still be there.
Ender pearls are extremely useful to have in the End. The player can use them to get up to the tops of tall towers, or if the spawn platform is away from the island, the player can use them so that they don't have to waste their blocks. Also, if they are high up in the air or get knocked off the edge, and don't have a slow falling potion, the player can use an ender pearl to teleport back to the island, (you can also use a slow falling potion to try to glide back to the edge). Unfortunately, pearls don't fall faster than the player at most velocities, so it's not a reliable method of avoiding fall damage, especially with large launches from the ender dragon. An alternative to slow falling potions is covering the main island with water or try placing the water before you hit the ground.
The player should bring plenty of glass bottles because they can be used to collect the dragon's breath. It can be collected from lingering purple clouds emitted when dragon fireballs slam into the ground or when the dragon breathes while perched. Since the dragon's breath inflicts magic damage, it can penetrate the player's armor, so be very careful around it.
A trident is highly recommended to have, but very difficult to obtain and not required. To obtain one the player must kill a drowned that is holding one, ideally with a Looting III sword. The trident will be damaged so you should get a second one and combine them on an anvil to fully repair it or use a mending enchantment.
The trident can be used to boost the player up to the end crystals and easily destroy them. The player should enchant it with Riptide III so that they can boost themselves up to the end crystals. However, the player will need a bucket of water to do this, so the player should bring at least 3.
A water bucket is extremely useful to have when the player fights the dragon, and even before the fight begins. It can be used to put out lava that is encountered while looking for the end portal. In the End, if the player falls off a tower and doesn't have enough ender pearls or slow falling potions, water can be used to break their fall. Water can also help them to deal with provoked Endermen. If an enderman is pursuing the player, dump the water at their feet and the enderman will take damage and teleport away. The water will also neutralize the enderman and it will ignore the player again.
Finding the portal
All players begin the ender dragon fight with eyes of ender because they are needed to locate and activate the end portal, which is found in a stronghold. To make one, the player will need one ender pearl and one sample of blaze powder. The player will need at least 15 eyes of ender because 12 are needed to activate the portal and the player will also need a few extra eyes to find the stronghold.
To find the stronghold, throw an eye of ender into the air, and it will float upwards in the direction of the nearest stronghold. It will then fall back to the ground and the player can pick it up and throw it again. However, the eye has a chance of breaking when the player throws it, so bring at least 15 eyes to spare. Follow the ender eyes until they float downwards, which will indicate that the stronghold is underneath the player. If the eyes direct the player to a village, the stronghold will most likely be under the village's well.
Dig underground to find the stronghold. The player might dig into a cave or even a ravine, so it might be difficult to find. Use water to put out any lava that is in the way. Keep exploring the cave or keep digging until the player see stone bricks, which will indicate that they have found the stronghold. Once the player breaks in, they should get out the torches.
A more efficient method for locating strongholds is to use the angles, in which eyes of ender move from two different points to mathematically calculate the coordinates of the stronghold. Given the coordinates of two points in the world, (X1, Z1) and (X2, Z2), and the exact angles at which eyes of ender move, A1 and A2 (all of which can be measured from the F3 debug screen), the stronghold is at the following coordinates:
X = (Z1 - Z2 - X2cot(A2) + X1cot(A1)) / (cot(A1) - cot(A2))
Z = (X2 - X1 - Z1tan(A1) + Z2tan(A2)) / (tan(A2) - tan(A1)),
where tan(x) is the tangent function and cot(x) is the cotangent. By using this method to find the starting point for searching, it is usually possible to find the stronghold using only three or four eyes of ender.
Keep exploring the stronghold's hallways until the player finds the end portal room. Collect any chest loot that is found. As soon as the player sees the portal room, run in as quick as the player can, as an active silverfish spawner sits in the broken staircase that leads up to the portal. Kill all the silverfish in the room and destroy the spawner.
To activate the portal, simply insert an eye of ender into each portal frame. Some of the portal frames may already contain an eye of ender. Once all of the portal frames have been filled, the portal will activate and let out a loud, dragon-like roar, "reminding" that the player is about to fight the ender dragon.
Since the trip to the End is one-way, don't even think about jumping into the portal until the hotbar contains the following:
- Bow or crossbow
- Golden apples
- A slow falling potion
- Ender pearls
- Food (a full stack)
- Snow blocks or iron blocks
Put all of the items that the player will not use in the fight, such as the loot found in the stronghold, into the ender chest. Pick up the ender chest using a Silk Touch pickaxe. Make sure the player is wearing all of the armor, but instead of the helmet, wear the carved pumpkin. Holding the ender pearls, enter the portal when ready.
Entering the End
When the player jumps into the portal, they will instantly get teleported to the End, giving them no time to escape. When they arrive in the End, they will spawn on a 5×5 obsidian platform. The platform usually generates on the surface of the island, so the player can just walk off. If it generates underground, dig up to the surface using a pickaxe. If it is away from the island, throw an ender pearl to the island to save extra blocks.
Get to the center of the island as quick as possible, and if they see the dragon diving at them, quickly jump out of its way. Drink a slow falling potion in case of getting knocked off. Before fighting, they will need to do a few things.
Because falling into the void will kill the player and destroy their gear, the player should stay as close to the center of the island as possible, or at least inside the circle of towers. The player should also avoid any holes on the island. Due to the dragon's knockback ability, they should stay at least 30 blocks away from any edge. If they get knocked off, they should immediately throw an ender pearl back up. If they are quick enough, it is possible for them to teleport out of the void and back onto the island. Chances are better if the ender pearls are held in a slot of the hotbar that the player can instantly access, or if the player has drunk a slow falling potion.
It is recommended to bring backups with the player, because they will deal with the endermen while they are taking on the dragon. They may also clear the area in the middle of the island, so that the player will have more space to move around. Snow golems or iron golems make the best backup because they have stronger and more effective attacks than tamed wolves. The only difference between the two is that iron golems will actually attack the endermen, while snow golems will only chase them away. Bring enough materials to spawn at least five golems.
Until they have spawned their golems, the player is recommended to wear a carved pumpkin to avoid the endermen. The best time to spawn them is when the dragon is resting on its perch, as it will not attack the player or their golems. The player should also spawn them to the sides, in case it releases the dragon's breath.
After the reinforcements are spawned, reorganize the inventory so that the hotbar contains the following:
- Bow or crossbow
- Golden apples
- A slow falling potion
- Ender pearls
- Blocks (a full stack)
- Food (a full stack)
- Empty bottles
As soon as the hotbar is organized properly, quickly take off the pumpkin mask and put on the helmet. Now the player can begin the showdown with the dragon.
Destroying the end crystals
Destroying the end crystals is a key part of the battle, because they heal the dragon. With all of the crystals active, the dragon will recover faster than the player could ever hope to damage it. It is possible to defeat the dragon while some crystals remain, provided the dragon spends enough time away from them, but it is best to destroy all of them. One end crystal sits atop each obsidian pillar. There are usually eight to ten towers of different heights arranged in a circle around the empty exit portal. Crystals on the tallest towers may be difficult to see, but the healing beam they emit when the dragon is nearby will give away their location. Try to destroy a crystal while it is healing the dragon because the dragon will take 10 damage if the player does this.
The easiest way to destroy the crystals is to shoot them with the bow or crossbow. The player should position themselves so that they can see one at least partially, aim their shot just above the crystal from their view, and adjust their aim if needed. When destroyed the crystal will generate a massive explosion. Be aware that the player might have destroyed the crystal even if they did not see the explosion. The player can know that it has been destroyed by the explosion sound. If the bow does not have the Infinity enchantment, snowballs could be used to save on arrows. The player should always shoot the crystals on the shortest towers because they are the easiest to shoot, and if they are using a crossbow they should check how many arrows they have every now and then.
Attempting to climb to the tops of the towers is extremely dangerous. Even if the player builds up using a dragon-proof material, such as end stone, the dragon can easily knock the player off while they are climbing. However, it is necessary to get up to the top of the caged towers somehow, because shooting them from the ground is ineffective.
It is quicker and safer to use ender pearls than the player's extra blocks because the dragon may knock them off while building up. One trick to measure the ender pearl shot is to fully charge the bow or crossbow and shoot an arrow just over the top edge of the cage. If the player throws an ender pearl at the exact same angle it will strike one block below the arrow's trajectory, teleporting the player to the side of the cage. Break into the cage with a pickaxe. If the player has strong enough armor and is affected by Absorption, hit the caged crystal with the sword. Otherwise, build a few blocks away from the crystal and shoot it with the bow or crossbow.
Once the caged crystal has been destroyed, don't go back down because some towers are taller than the caged ones. Build a few blocks above the caged tower and shoot the taller ones with the bow or crossbow. If the dragon knocks the player off, and they are not affected by Slow Falling, they should use water or an ender pearl to break their fall. Throw an ender pearl back to the top of the caged tower and try to shoot the taller ones again. The player could also throw a pearl to the tops of the tall towers and destroy the crystals with their sword. If the player is on the tallest tower, they can check how many crystals have been destroyed and how many remain. It is also a good spot to snipe the dragon.
One of the, if not the best way to climb to the top of a pillar is to use a Riptide trident, the higher level the better. It's recommended to have a trident enchanted with Riptide (preferably level 3), a few buckets of water (about 3-6 depending on the level of Riptide on your Trident and the height of the pillar) and a Potion of Slow Falling. Using the block of water, you can propel yourself into the air, and as you begin to fall, place another bucket of water and propel yourself further. Having Slow Falling will make this much safer and easier, as not only does it prevent you from falling and taking damage, it also gives you more time to place your water bucket down when in the middle of the pillar, which will decrease the overall distance and time you take to travel to the top of the pillar. After climbing to the top of the pillar, simply break the crystal and fall back down, collecting the water as you go. If you have more water, you can propel yourself to nearby pillars as well, although you will have to eventually return to the initial pillar to collect your water. One downside of using this method, however, is how expensive it is to obtain a Riptide III Trident, and in addition to that, water buckets take up a lot of space in your inventory.
Killing the dragon
If the player is not sure that they have destroyed all of the crystals, let the dragon fly away. If the player sees a healing beam, they will know that there is a crystal left. Once the last crystals have been destroyed the player can start to attack the dragon. The player can also swap out the extra blocks with the water bucket because they will not need the blocks anymore. There are many ways to attack the dragon, but there are many things to watch out for, too.
The dragon has three types of attacks: body attacks, the breath attack, and dragon fireballs. The more crystals the player has destroyed, the more often the dragon will attack them. It will inflict 15 × 7.5 damage if it hits the player with its head, but its wings will only inflict 5 damage. The dragon's breath will inflict 3 damage per second. The dragon has an extremely high knockback ability and can throw the player into the air to fatal heights, so they should keep drinking their slow falling potions when they run out. They will make the player immune to all fall damage.
Keep track of the health at all times. If the player takes at least 6 damage at a time, hide behind a tower and eat a golden apple. They should use their healing potions if they are on the brink of death to recover instantly. If the totem of undying in their hand goes off, and they have another totem, quickly throw it in the off-hand and resume fighting immediately.
It is extremely useful to collect the dragon's breath during the fight because it can be used to make lingering potions, which are recommended to have if the player wants to fight the dragon again, or if they want to fight the wither.
To collect the dragon's breath, wait for the dragon to perch and do its breath attack or shoot a dragon fireball, either of which will puff out into lingering purple clouds. The only difference is that the dragon's breath comes instantly from the breath attack, whereas the player must wait for the fireball to slam into the ground. To collect it, simply hold out an empty bottle and scoop up the clouds in the same way the player would fill a bottle with water. However, the player should avoid making contact with the clouds, because the clouds will hurt them. Armor cannot protect the player from damage from the dragon's breath, because it counts as magic damage. The dragon's breath is stackable, so the player should collect as much as possible.
While the dragon is flying the player can shoot it with their bow or crossbow. However, the dragon is really hard to shoot because it can fly extremely fast, and the shot will miss if they don't line it up properly. It is recommended to shoot at a spot in the dragon's flight trajectory, which is the area in front of it, where it is about to fly to because then it will fly forward enough to get hit by the arrow. Try to mainly shoot it in the head because the dragon takes the most damage on its head.
The more crystals the player has destroyed, the more often the dragon will dive at the portal. When it's hovering over the portal, it is immune to arrow damage, and the player will be forced to use their sword. It is recommended to get as many critical hits as possible because the player can inflict more damage this way. It is also recommended to drink a strength potion because the player will inflict more damage using the strength the potion provides.
The player will begin to notice a pattern in the dragon's behavior after a few minutes. It will dive at the portal once for every circle, so they should make sure that they always have the strength from the potions when the dragon perches. Remember the pattern of the dragon’s attacks, so that they will be efficient for the rest of the battle.
After you have gotten rid of all the ender crystals, ender pearl to the ender portal. If you stay in the un-activated portal every time the dragon charges you can go behind the center pillar, the dragon will hit the center pillar and you'll be safe. Just wait until the dragon comes and hit it with your sword.
When killed, the dragon will float upwards and disintegrate, with bright purple beams of light erupting from its body. It will then explode and cause an annoying sound that gradually fades away into the infinite darkness of the End, leaving almost no trace that it was ever there. Four rewards will then appear.
After the dragon disappears, experience orbs will rain from the sky. These orbs can take the player from level 0 to level 70, which is worth 12,000 experience points. Some of the orbs may fall into the portal, so run a few laps around the portal and then sneak on the rim of the portal to grab some more. Since it takes progressively more experience to gain a level at higher levels, they will have enough to make over ten level 30 enchantments. The player doesn't have to get enchantments that they will use; they can simply enchant extra equipment to use as a backup set. The best time for the player to enchant extra equipment is as soon as they go back home, in case they die and lose all of the precious levels they have earned.
The second reward is the dragon egg. It sits on top of the portal when it first appears. However, it cannot be broken directly, as the egg will teleport if the player attempts to do so.
Instead, touch the egg once and let it teleport to a block of end stone. If the player can't find it, follow the purple teleportation particles. To pick up the egg, place a torch two blocks underneath it, and break the end stone block it is sitting on. Since the egg obeys the law of gravity, it will fall onto the torch and break as a collectible item. If you forget to bring a torch with you, take one from the exit portal frame.
Alternatively, if the player has a piston and a source of redstone (such as a lever), place the piston facing the egg and power it with the redstone source. The egg will still break as a collectible item. To prevent the egg from falling into the portal, cover the portal with blocks.
If the player uses either of these strategies, they will get the dragon egg successfully. It currently has no use other than as a trophy to show that the player has defeated the ender dragon, but it can serve as a beautiful decoration or an addition to a trophy room at the player’s base.
End gateway portal
Perhaps the biggest reward of defeating the ender dragon is the end gateway portal, which generates after the dragon dies. The player cannot walk through it normally because it is too narrow to walk through. The easiest way to enter it is to throw an ender pearl through it, but it is also possible to sprint-swim through it in Java Edition 1.13 or later if the player has a water bucket or fly through it with an elytra if the player already has one. This portal is sometimes considered the only reason to need to fight the dragon, because it gives the player easy access to the End's outer islands, which is the only place where the player can find end cities, shulkers, chorus trees, the elytra and the dragon head. Without the end gateway, they are about 1,000 blocks away from the main fighting area against the dragon. (In any direction)
Since the fight takes place in the End, the most important reward is the exit portal, which is the only way back home. It appears as soon as the player enters the End, but only activates when the dragon is killed. The portal looks like a fountain made of bedrock, with torches on the sides, and the "water" of the fountain is made of the portal blocks that will take the player back home.
When the player jumps into the portal, they will be treated to the end poem, which will tell them that they have basically "completed" the game. Even though it can be skipped, it is still highly recommended to read it. They will then respawn in the Overworld at their respawn point, which can either be the world spawn point or the last bed the player had slept in. The player can then safely return to their base.
To have a rematch with the ender dragon, the player must respawn it using end crystals. To make one, the player will need seven pieces of glass, an eye of ender and a ghast tear. The player will need to go to the Nether to get some of these materials.
To respawn the dragon, place four end crystals on each side of the exit portal. The crystals that are placed will instantly deactivate the portal, shoot beams at the tops of the towers, and reset the crystals and cages on the towers. Afterward, all of the crystals will shoot beams into the sky in harmony. The player will hear an extremely loud roar and see a massive explosion, which will resurrect the dragon and begin the fight again.
To respawn the dragon, place the end crystals in the configuration shown in the image below.
Subsequent dragons will drop less experience and will not drop another dragon egg, but it is still useful because it is the only way to obtain more dragon's breath. Also, it will create another end gateway, which can be used to find more end cities more easily, but the player will need to prepare the same equipment all over again. However, if the player does want to fight again, the player can use new equipment that cannot be used in the first battle.