Tutorials/Defeating the ender dragon

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The ender dragon is one of two boss mobs found in Minecraft (3 in Bedrock Edition). It is encountered in the End, which is reached by entering a finished end portal. Defeating the ender dragon consists of destroying the end crystals found on top of tall obsidian pillars scattered throughout the End, before finally killing it. It is considered to be the most difficult mob to kill, and is widely regarded as the final boss of Minecraft, despite the fact that achievements relating to the wither are unlocked after those relating to the ender dragon. This guide covers the behavior and battle strategies for the PC version of the ender dragon.


Until the ender dragon is defeated, the player cannot leave the End without dying. In Hardcore mode, the player must defeat the ender dragon on their first visit, or die trying. Thus, great care must be taken when preparing for the fight. Do not jump in the portal until you are equipped with the right tools and armor.



The bow will be the player's secondary weapon; both for destroying the end crystals, and against the dragon itself. It is recommended that the bow be enchanted with at least Power III. Once the end crystals are destroyed, it will take twelve fully charged shots to the head to defeat the dragon. The Infinity and Unbreaking enchantments are very useful on a bow, but not required. One thing to note is that a bow enchanted with Infinity but without Unbreaking will be able to take 385 shots before breaking, which is equivalent to roughly six stacks of arrows. The Punch and Flame enchantments have no effect on the dragon.


A sword is used to damage the dragon when it's hovering over its portal, with a secondary use of dealing with any provoked endermen. If the sword is enchanted with Fire Aspect, any endermen hit by it will be more difficult to deal with since they teleport every time they’re damaged.


Blocks can be useful for climbing up the obsidian pillars if you are not good at archery. It is recommended to use blocks on the taller ones, but just shoot the short ones. Also, you will need blocks to get up on top of the two obsidian pillars that have iron bars around the end crystals. If you forget blocks, you will have to shoot over the iron bars in order to get the end crystals, which can be very difficult for the taller pillars. Alternatively, you can use either ladders or ender pearls to get to them. Ladders have the advantage that they allow the player to jump off the side of a pillar and grab the ladder near the bottom to negate all fall damage. Ender pearls are faster, but take some skill to aim right, and will inevitably deal some damage to the player.


The ender dragon has an attack strength of 15 on hard difficulty; the second highest direct attack of any hostile mob in Minecraft, only topped by vindicators. Thus, it is recommended that the player wears at least iron boots, leggings, and a chestplate enchanted with Protection IV. Because of the dragon's knockback, and the potential for cliffs, Feather Falling is also recommended. If you think that you may accidentally look at endermen, you may consider wearing a pumpkin, instead of a helmet. However, pumpkins will not protect the player against damage, and it will partially obstruct their vision.


Even the most well-protected player is likely to take a great deal of damage during the fight if they lack experience. A combination of quick and long-term healing in the form of splash potions of Healing II, and extended potions of Regeneration, respectively, are strongly recommended. Extended potions of Swiftness are recommended, but not required. Since the dragon can launch players into the air, potions of leaping could be used to reduce fall damage.

An extended potion of Regeneration will heal a total of Heart.svg x 24 over the course of its two-minute duration. A splash potion of Healing II will restore Heart.svg x 4 instantly. Thus, while a single potion of Regeneration will heal more damage overall, it will take 47.5 seconds to fully recover from Half Heart.svg, whereas two splash potions of Healing II will recover Heart.svg x 8 as quickly as the player can throw them.

Because there is no benefit to drinking multiple potions of Regeneration at the same time, the number that the player brings should be limited by how long the fight lasts. It should not last more than twenty minutes, so ten potions of Regeneration will allow the player to regenerate health for the full duration of the fight. After all other equipment is considered, any remaining spaces should be filled with splash potions of Healing II.


Occasionally, the player will spawn underground. A pickaxe will be necessary to reach the surface. It is also needed to break the iron bars protecting some of the end crystals. If you don't bring a pickaxe, it will take a long time to mine both iron bars and endstone. It is recommended to have an iron pickaxe enchanted with Efficiency, or a diamond pickaxe, so that you can mine quickly.

Ender Pearls[edit]

Ender pearls are not required to go the End, but they are strongly recommended. You can use them to get up to high obsidian pillars, or if you spawned on a platform away from the main island, you can use them so that you don't waste blocks. Also, if you are high up in the air, get knocked down, and don't have a water bucket right off hand to soften your fall, you can use ender pearls to teleport, and take less damage this way. Be prepared to fight endermen if you want to use a lot of ender pearls, so that you have inventory space for other items besides ender pearls. Trapping endermen in boats is the safest way to get the ender pearls needed to accomplish this, since endermen cannot teleport when they are in a boat.


There should never be a time when the player does not have food on them, if they can possibly help it. Steak and cooked porkchops are some of the best foods in the game, so it it highly recommended to bring either of these. Cake is recommended to bring, so that if you need to eat very quickly, you can just instantly place it down, and start eating without any delay. However, cake has a low saturation and hunger-filling value, so unless you have to eat at that exact moment, better foods, like steak or porkchops, are recommended.

If the player has golden or enchanted golden apples, they should favor them over any other food, as they have a relatively high saturation level and can also inflict the player with positive status effects, making potions unnecessary. Bringing golden apples instead of potions saves a lot of inventory space, because of the fact that golden apples can stack. However, enchanted golden apples are very hard to find, so if you did bring these, save them for emergency, and use regular golden apples otherwise.

Enchanting Equipment[edit]

In order to take full advantage of the ender dragon's experience drop, the player should bring an enchantment table, fifteen bookshelves, and at least ten books. It is best to bring these in an ender chest, because otherwise, you will lose these items if you die. It is also recommended to bring wood, in case you place a bookshelf wrong and have to mine it.

The Portal Room[edit]

The end portal room in a stronghold, with the portal activated.

Because the trip to the End is one-way, it is recommended that the player avoid activating the end portal until all other preparations are complete. After reaching the portal room, the player should block off any adjoining hallways that they don't plan on using, and then either dig a shaft directly to the surface or construct a Nether portal, to use as a shortcut. Consider storing the needed eyes of ender in a nearby chest until they are required.

When the player is ready to activate the portal, they should place blocks outside of the portal ring, and stand on them when placing the eyes of ender. This is to prevent the player from falling into the lava, as well as from entering the portal before they are ready. A player playing on Survival mode should sleep in a bed near the portal, so that they can quickly return to the End in the event that they die.

Preparing on Survival Mode[edit]

In addition to the usual preparations, a Survival player should prepare for the possibility that they are defeated. This includes having a backup chest near the portal. It should contain the following:

These are to allow the player to survive while they retrieve their items. In the event that the player falls into the void, they should consider returning to their base to regroup, unless all of the end crystals are destroyed, and the player is confident that they can defeat the dragon with the supplies in the chest.

One tip would be to place a bed in the end portal room so when you respawn you can jump straight back to the fight.

Another possibility is to, if you have commands enabled, type into the chat bar /gamerule keepInventory true so you keep your items if you should be defeated. If you are a Minecraft purist, this may be considered cheating, though.

Before Entering[edit]

When the player is ready, their hotbar should contain the following:

  • Beds (Color does not matter): can be used to set your spawnpoint in the stronghold so that you won't have to spawn all the way back at your house if you die.
  • Bow (Enchanted, preferably with Infinity; otherwise, bring plenty of arrows)
  • Sword (Enchanted)
  • Food
  • Pickaxe
  • Ender pearls
  • A potion of Swiftness II (If being used)
  • A potion of Regeneration II
  • A splash potion of Healing II
  • Have a shield in your offhand slot, to help deflect some of the ender dragon's damage or in case you have to fight an enderman.
  • (Optional) TNT. Can be used to take away large chunks of the dragon's health. Be careful, though, as the TNT might kill you if you are too close. TNT can also be used to safely blow up the caged crystals after cutting open the cage; the fuse delay will give the player time to move away.

After drinking the potions of Swiftness and Regeneration, those slots should be replaced with potions of Healing II. The player should have at least two potions of Healing II on their hotbar at all times, unless they have enchanted golden apples with them.

With the ender pearls selected, enter the portal.

The Fight[edit]

After arriving in the End, the player will be on a 5x5 platform of obsidian. If the platform is away from the main island, an ender pearl should be used to teleport there, or the player can carefully build a bridge, sneaking the whole way, to avoid falling into the void. If the platform is underground, the player should mine towards the surface.

General Strategy[edit]


The player should have a reasonable idea of how well their armor and enchantments will protect them from the dragon. With the suggested armor, on the hard difficulty, the player can expect to take an average of Heart.svgHeart.svg each time they are hit by the dragon. If the dragon manages to close, they can expect to be hit one to two times, and may take additional damage from falling after being knocked back.

If a player heals needlessly out of fear, they may burn through their healing supplies more quickly than they need to, and be left without a means of healing themselves later on. On the other hand, being too conservative with their healing can get them killed. Thus, a player should let regeneration take care of any minor wounds, and save their splash potions of Healing for when they are at risk of being killed outright. Try to heal when you are down half of your health, or 5 hearts.


Because falling into the void will kill the player and destroy the items they are carrying, it is recommended to stick to the center of the island, unless you have to destroy end crystals. They should also be aware of any holes in the End, and avoid them. Due to the dragon's knockback ability, the player should stay at least ten blocks away from any edge. If the player falls off an edge, they should immediately throw an ender pearl up onto the ledge. If they are quick enough, and very lucky, it is possible for a player to teleport out of the void and back onto the island. Chances are better if the player's ender pearls are held in a hotbar slot that can be easily accessed via hotkey such as 1-3 (or assigning them an unused hotkey of their own).

Managing the Endermen[edit]

If the player is wearing a pumpkin, they cannot provoke the endermen by looking at them, and they become harmless. Because the player will spend most of their time looking up, first from shooting at the crystals, and then at the dragon itself, it is possible to go the entire fight without provoking a single enderman, even without a pumpkin, or making an active effort to avoid doing so. Using water as a deterrent or a boat as a trap to provoked endermen is a good idea. Or, if you find yourself fighting an enderman, just attack its legs. This will cause it to not teleport, and there is virtually no risk of provoking other endermen.

Managing the Dragon[edit]

The Ender Dragon being healed by an end crystal, with the central End island shown in the distance.

The dragon is able to pass through any block, and will destroy any block that isn't End stone, obsidian, bedrock, or end crystals on contact. As such, there is no point in constructing shelters as the ender dragon can go through the blocks, too, as a result of its' flight path. When the dragon comes close to the fountain, place a bed, sleep in it and quickly go away, for the bed will explode when you try to sleep in it. The explosion will do massive amounts of damage to the ender dragon. However, if you are close, it may kill you, so try this bed tactic in advance before attempting it on the ender dragon.

Using an enchanted Diamond Axe with at least Sharpness I is good, as it takes off a large chunk of the dragon's HP each swing, and is also useful for killing Endermen quickly. However, it does not have the swipe effect of swords, so don't use on large groups of Endermen.

Summoning the wither is another tactic of defeating the ender dragon, but there are several things you should put into careful consideration:


  • Summoning the wither would cause a huge battle that could kill both entities.
  • You would get tons upon tons of experience.


  • You would need even more armor/weapons/potions
  • The wither could end up destroying the dragon egg after the fight.

The player should be listening and looking for the dragon at all times. When the dragon's health bar is visible, it means that the dragon is nearby. If the dragon charges the player, it can be repelled by shooting it. Shields also work against both the damage and knockback of the melee attack of the dragon—but they don't work against the breath, as it is considered magic damage, and they take inordinate amounts of damage if the dragon continues flying into the player for any length of time. If the player hears that the dragon is close, but doesn't see it, they should sprint, then make a 90° turn and repeat until they can see the dragon.

Give it a good whack in the head with a sword. An alternative is to use a Potion of Swiftness II to escape.

Sword Pros

  • Hitting the dragon's head with a sword while it tries to head butt you is a pretty good idea overall, as it takes away lots of health.

Destroying the End Crystals[edit]

The end crystals heal the ender dragon. With all of the crystals active, the dragon will recover faster than a player could ever hope to damage it. An important thing to note is that the dragon does not appear to actively seek healing. Instead, the dragon is merely less likely to receive healing, the fewer end crystals remain. Thus, it is possible to defeat the ender dragon while some end crystals remain, provided the dragon spends enough time away from them. It is also worth noting that when you destroy an end crystal while the dragon is healing from it, it will take some damage. So end crystals are also a valid option for beating the dragon.


Attempting to climb the obsidian pillars is a very risky idea. Even if the player builds platforms from a dragon-proof material, the dragon can easily knock them off while they are climbing, and they will need some kind of delay, such as TNT to avoid being damaged by the crystals' explosions. (Note: Ender pearls combined with Protection IV diamond armor can negate most of the above damage.) If the player absolutely must climb the towers, hollowing out the inside with an enchanted diamond pickaxe and using end stone to pillar jump is the safest method. This, however, is an unimaginably slow process, and there is nothing preventing the dragon from damaging the player inside the pillar.

The player may be forced to climb the pillars to destroy those crystals protected by iron bars in the event that the remaining crystals are healing enough to out-heal the player's damage. In such an event, they should either use ender pearls to climb a lower tower and work from there, or stick to a corner of the tower and pillar jump as fast as they can (provided they have Feather Falling boots).

If none of those are an option, trapping a couple endermen in boats and collecting their ender pearls, and then throwing the pearls against the iron cages will work. Keep in mind that a great deal of skill is needed to successfully pull this off.


The best method for destroying the end crystals is simply shooting them with a bow. The player should position themselves so that the crystal is at least partially visible. They should aim above the crystal, pay attention to where the arrow hits the pillar, and adjust their aim accordingly. The Flame enchantment helps to make the arrows more visible. Be aware that the crystal may have been destroyed, even if an explosion was not seen. Alternatively, snowballs could be used instead to save on arrows, if the bow does not have the Infinity enchantment.

The player should destroy crystals as they find them, the crystals surround the center of the End. Remaining crystals can be located by following the healing beam they emit when the dragon is nearby.

Defeating the Dragon[edit]

Once the majority of the crystals have been destroyed, the player can attempt to defeat the dragon. At a distance, the dragon is nearly impossible to hit, and the majority of shots will miss. Thus, it is best to conserve ammunition by only firing when the dragon is at point-blank range or sniping them from one of the obsidian pillars.

While shots to anywhere other than the head only deal one-quarter of the normal damage, hits to the body will add up over time. While the dragon is flying, the player should keep it in sight. When it charges, the player should charge up their bow, line up their shot, and then shoot it in the head. When the dragon recoils, they should attempt a quick second shot. When it flies away, the player should follow. When it flies low while fleeing, it will most likely charge. It is important that the player be patient, and not lose track of their health. Once the player has inflicted 200 (Heart.svg × 100) damage, the dragon will explode, dropping experience orbs and causing an exit portal to appear.

Alternate Strategy[edit]

If you have the skill you can craft additional end crystals, which do tons of damage.

Go to the Nether, get 20 ghast tears, get everything else needed, craft them, have Blast Protection III or above on all your armor. Place the end crystals so that the ender dragon will receive damage from them.

Collecting the Rewards[edit]


What the ender dragon looks like a few seconds after being killed.

Once defeated, the ender dragon will drop enough experience orbs to reach level 78 (approximately 12,000 xp.) Since it takes progressively more experience to gain a level at higher levels, it's optimal to make it to level 30, and begin enchanting there; only picking up enough experience at a time to put the player over 30 before making their next enchant. However, since the magnetism range for experience orbs is much higher than items, this can be impractical.

Dragon Egg[edit]

To collect the dragon egg, the player should simply position a single piston behind the egg, and a redstone signal next to the piston. This will cause the egg to be knocked down where the player can grab it as an item drop. To prevent the egg falling into the portal, the player may place some blocks around the egg before the push it with the piston.

There is another way to obtain the egg without a piston. Mine the egg, causing it to teleport someplace else. Find it, then mine the block two blocks underneath it. Place a non-solid block there, such as a torch, sign, or ladder. Then, mine the block directly underneath the egg, so that it falls on the non-solid block, dropping as an item. Note that this can be risky, as the player may not find the egg after it teleports.


The dragon does not hit the player with its head, meaning splash potions of Harming are useless.

Respawning The Dragon[edit]

Main Article: Tutorials/Respawning the ender dragon with fewer crystals

You can respawn the ender dragon by placing end crystals on the exit portal:

You can arrange end crystals on the exit portal like this to respawn the ender dragon.
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