Tutorials/Defeating the wither

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The wither is one of the two bosses in Minecraft, along with the ender dragon. It is usually considered the first boss of the game, even though it was added more recently and its achievements are unlocked after you defeat the dragon.

The wither is highly anticipated to fight, as it drops the key to a beacon, the nether star. The fight can also help with blowing up areas for future building projects.

Wither boss fight checklist[edit]

Preparing equipment[edit]

Sword[edit]

Bow[edit]

Armor[edit]

Pickaxe[edit]

Healing items[edit]

Food[edit]

Potions[edit]

Blocks[edit]

Ender chest[edit]

Milk[edit]

Trident[edit]

Shield[edit]

Strategies[edit]

A possible "High Roller" setup to use against the Wither. All armor is Protection IV, the Sword is Smite IV, and the Bow is Power IV, Infinity I

Armor Setup:

Slot Item
Sword Smite > Sharpness > Fire Aspect > Knockback > Bane of Arthropods / Looting
Bow Power > Flame > Infinity
Head Protection > Blast Protection > Projectile Protection > Respiration / Aqua Affinity
Chestplate Protection > Blast Protection > Projectile Protection
Legs Protection > Blast Protection > Projectile Protection
Boots Protection > Blast Protection > Projectile Protection > Feather Falling

Notes: • For most Bows and Swords, a Tier IV or V Enchant is better than a Tier III Enchant of a higher category. For example, a Sharpness V Sword is better than a Smite III Sword. Another example would be an Infinity I Bow being more useful than a Power I Bow.

• Using the highest tiered weapons and armor (Protection IV+), (Smite IV+),

Hotbar Setup

A "High Roller" setup for a Singleplayer fight against the Wither.
An "average" setup for a Multiplayer fight against the Wither.
Slot Item
Slot 1 Sword
Slot 2 Bow
Slot 3 Dirt (For "Towering" back up to the surface. When the Wither attacks, the skulls he fires will explode on the ground, causing damage similar to a creeper explosion.)
Slot 4 Pickaxe (preferably Efficiency IV+)
Slot 5 Potion of Healing II
Slot 6 Potion of Healing II
Slot 7 Potion of Strength II (preferably extended) OR Potion of Regeneration II (preferably extended) OR Enchanted Golden Apple
Slot 8 Potion of Strength II (preferably extended) OR Potion of Regeneration II (preferably extended) OR Enchanted Golden Apple
Slot 9 Compass (If on a multiplayer server with /jumpto enabled) OR Enchanted Golden Apple

Method 1[edit]

Spawn the wither, and quickly run away as far as possible, putting a large distance between you and the wither. Do not stand near the wither when it is growing into its normal size. It will create a massive explosion when it is finished, much larger than that of TNT or a charged creeper.

When it is finished, walk back and shoot at the wither, and occasionally use your instant health II splash potions and at some point, eat your golden apples. When the wither drops to 50% health, use your strength II potion and hit the wither with your diamond sword until the wither is defeated. This is a very effective way to beat the wither, defeating it in less than five minutes with not too much struggle.

Method 2[edit]

An easy way of killing the wither on Hard difficulty without armor is to have an enchanted diamond sword (Smite V), a potion of strength II, a potion of night vision (optional), an enchanted golden apple, a shield, and a bucket of milk. Go underground at least 20 blocks below surface and dig a room 3 blocks high by 4 wide and 10 long, build a 2×2 stone wall about 5 blocks away from one end. Drink your strength potion II, Spawn the wither at one end then hide behind the 2×2 wall, when the wither is nearly spawned, eat the enchanted golden apple and switch to your sword and block with a shield for the initial explosion. Run at the wither and hack it to death; it should die in about 10 hits if you get some critical hits. Make sure you kill the wither within the 30 seconds of regeneration from the apple. As soon as the wither is dead, drink the milk to cure the wither effect. Note: have some cobblestone in your hotbar so you can pillar upwards if the wither gets out reach.

Method 3 - Snow golems[edit]

To use snow golems most effectively to beat the wither, dig out a 10×10x3 tall room and spawn 30 or more snow golems. The golems act as a target for the wither, as well as knocking it back. Accompany this with your best sword (preferably with the Smite enchantment), armor, and potions, and you can beat it in under a minute taking little or no damage. Keep in mind that this will limit where the fight can take place, since snow golems melt so easily.

Method 4[edit]

A tactic that is relatively easy to pull off is to dig down near bedrock, and dig a long 1×2 tunnel (longer than 30 blocks). At the end of the tunnel, construct a small room. Spawn the wither in this room, then run back into the tunnel. Occasionally pop out and shoot an arrow or two at the Wither. As the Wither crunches its way towards you, just walk backwards through the tunnel. Once the wither has reached its "armor" stage, jump out and begin hitting it with a diamond sword. As long as you frequently throw down splash potions of instant healing, you should be able to survive even with iron armor.

Glass blocks represent blocks with low blast resistance.

A somewhat more complicated yet very enjoyable variant of this tunnel strategy (doubly so when you manage to kill the wither using it) is to rig the tunnel you constructed with TNT. You could, for instance, build a tunnel as illustrated by the figure above; the idea behind this is that you can anticipate when the boss will crunch his way to a point sufficiently close to a pair of TNT blocks you've placed, and if you're accurate, you can have the TNT explode at that very instant, dealing a lot of damage. Be sure not to place the first pair of TNT right next to the room in which you will spawn the Wither, as the initial explosion would just destroy these. The drawbacks of this strategy are that it can be difficult to tell when to ignite the TNT; if you're too fast, the TNT will not have the desired effect. If you're too slow, the wither will simply destroy the TNT prior to its detonation. In addition, you might need a lot of TNT to completely kill the Wither, and thus you'll have to dig out a long tunnel. Therefore it is strongly advised that you still use a bow (and a sword when the "armor" stage has been reached) in the sections of the tunnel where there's no TNT to do the hard work. Also, if you don't have enough TNT, be sure to dig out an extra tunnel as an extension of the TNT-rigged one, so as to finish the wither off with arrows/swords should needs be.

Method 5 - Nether or End suffocation[edit]

Note: This strategy does not work in the Bedrock Edition.


A very easy method is to spawn the wither, push its head in a bedrock ceiling in the Nether, then kill it. You will only need an axe, lever, and piston.

1. Find a 3×3 bedrock field in the ceiling of the nether with an air pocket above the center block.

2. Go 2 blocks down and place a block of obsidian.
3. Place the spawning blocks sideways with the bottom of the soul sand “T” on the obsidian block.
4. Kill the wither!

Note: The best way to find this situation is getting to the top of the Nether, but is dangerous as the Nether has random lava source blocks scattered in the netherrack. More information can be found in this video:

Another alternative is to use the end exit portal to trap the wither:

  1. Make sure there is a 2-block high gap between the bottom of the exit portal and the end island. This can be done either by digging or by placing blocks.
  2. Find the block on the floor that is in line with the central axis of the portal and mark it.
  3. Spawn the wither by placing the blocks you need flat on the floor, and make sure that the soul sand “tail" block is directly above the marked block, otherwise the wither will go to the overworld and wreck havoc there.
  4. Run away more than 14 blocks to prevent the explosion on creation from damaging you.
  5. Kill the wither!

More information can be found in this video:

Method 6 - Cobble generator suffocation[edit]

A more advanced tactic that is very rewarding would be to construct a cobblestone generator-powered grid above the player, spawn the Wither about 15 blocks away, and stand under the grid. The wither will fly towards the player, but it would be kept at the edge of the grid, constantly being pushed back by the cobblestone which is generating faster than what the wither can break. This allows the player to stand still and shoot the wither without retaliation, until the Wither is at half health, where it will fly towards the player through the grid, allowing the player to easily kill the Wither with a sword. In addition to that, the player can rig dispensers about 15 blocks away to periodically shoot splash potions of health, which heal the player and damage the wither.

Method 7[edit]

It is also possible to kill the wither by summoning it in a small obsidian chamber. When it escapes, have several people fire bows at it from all directions. This negates its explosion and forces it to attack one target at a time.

Method 8 - Nether bedrock ceiling trapping[edit]

This method is easy to pull off in the Bedrock Edition, where Withers can't be immobilized by pushing them into bedrock. It works by getting the Wither up into an uneven bedrock ceiling, where it cannot hit you, but you can hit the Wither. This method is much easier than a regular Wither fight, and you can do it without potions or apples.

To pull this off, go to the Nether and dig up into netherrack until you start seeing bedrock blocks. You want to be 2 levels down from the first layer that has bedrock blocks (Y level 121). Dig out a 3x3x3 room for the Wither to spawn in, as well as a 1-block wide 2-block high tunnel for you to hide in while waiting for the Wither to grow. A tunnel of about 40 blocks deep should do. Now, spawn the Wither in the 3x3 room, and run into the tunnel until you're 15 blocks away. After the explosion, it is likely that the Wither will be floating up into the uneven bedrock ceiling. You should be able to get a vantage point where you can shoot it with arrows until it drops to half health. At this point, it is possible that the Wither may hit you occasionally with a skull, but ideally it is trying to fire them through bedrock blocks and thus not able to get you. If you get hit, retreat a little and heal. Most importantly, try to stay on the same level that you started out with, because if you descent too far, the Wither will do so as well and there will be no more bedrock blocks to block the skulls it fires.

Once the Wither has dropped to half health, try to get close enough such that you can sneak in hits with a sword. Here too the Wither should be trying to fire directly at you, with bedrock blocks between you and the Wither. Try to hit its tail. This will trigger an animation where the Wither won't shoot, and the tail ends up being in the same location again. You can hit it over and over until it's dead.

Method 9 - End City Gateway Suffocation[edit]

This method‌[Bedrock Edition only] allows for suffocation of Withers without actually using any weapons. It does require that you've defeated the Ender Dragon, and have access to an outer End City Island with an alternate way back to the main End Island.

Place a dispenser facing into the End City gateway with a Water bucket inside it. Place a button, and activate the dispenser. This removes the actual gateway, and after pressing the button again you should be able to pick up an item named "tile.end_gateway.name" which can be used for a little shenanigans. Remove Dispenser from gateway.

Find the West direction, and extend the lower arm with 4 Obsidian blocks. Spawn in your Wither by placing the single Soul Sand on the outermost Obsidian block, and with the three Soul Sand blocks one step closer to the gateway. Finally, place the Wither Skull heads leaving a one block gap towards the gateway. Remember to move away before it explodes, and if in Hard mode, you should stand on a block directly below the gateway. Now, just wait until the Wither suffocates, and you can collect the Nether Star. This method does allow for spawning multiple Withers at the same time (if not on Xbox), but be careful related to the imminent explosion of the first Wither.

The rewards[edit]

Experience[edit]

Nether star[edit]

The rematch[edit]