Tutorials/Defeating the ender dragon

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The ender dragon is one of the two bosses in Minecraft, the other being the wither. It is found in the End, which can only be accessed by entering an activated end portal. It is usually considered the final boss of the game, although the achievements related to the wither are unlocked after defeating the dragon.

The dragon is highly anticipated to fight because its defeat will give you access to the End’s outer islands, as it generates an end gateway portal when defeated. It will also activate the exit portal and allow you to return home.

Ender Dragon Bossfight Checklist[edit]

Defeating the dragon requires a lot of preparation, but not everyone has the same skills. So depending on how skilled you are, different preparations may be needed. The following is a suggested collection of equipment you might need:

Preparing[edit]

Until the ender dragon is defeated, you cannot leave the End without dying. In hardcore mode, you must defeat the dragon on your first visit, or die trying. Therefore, thorough preparation is essential to surviving the battle.

Bow[edit]

The bow will be your main weapon; both for destroying the end crystals, and against the dragon while it is flying through the air. It is recommended that the bow be enchanted with Power V, and Infinity, so that you don’t run out of arrows. Once the end crystals are destroyed, it will take twelve fully charged shots to the head to defeat the dragon. The Unbreaking enchantment is very useful on your 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.

Sword[edit]

Your sword (preferably diamond) to damage the dragon when she’s on her perch, with a secondary use of dealing with any provoked endermen. If your 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. However, if endermen get set on fire, they will still get weaker for every firetick.

Armor[edit]

The dragon has an attack strength of 15 with her head. It is the second strongest direct attack of any hostile mob in Minecraft, only topped by the vindicator. Therefore, it is recommended that you wear a full set of armor (preferably diamond), enchanted with Protection IV. Because of the dragon's knockback, and the potential for cliffs, Feather Falling IV on your boots is almost necessary. Thorns is also recommended, because it will damage any provoked endermen when they attack you.

Pickaxe[edit]

When you enter the End, you 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 you don't bring a pickaxe, it will take a long time to break both the iron bars and end stone. It is recommended to have a diamond pickaxe enchanted with Efficiency, preferably level IV or V, so that you can dig your way to the surface and break into the cages quickly.

Healing Items[edit]

Even if you are very well-protected, you are likely to take a great deal of damage during the fight if you lack combat experience, so healing items are absolutely necessary. Golden apples are the most efficient healing item, because they provide Absorption, which will protect you from most damage while you heal. Potent healing potions and extended regeneration potions are recommended, but not required. Enchanted golden apples can heal you 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 also be used, but it can only be accessed when you explore a woodland mansion. However, it can be used in emergencies, and will prevent you from dying. To use it, simply place it in your off-hand, and ignore that it is even there while you fight. When you take otherwise fatal damage, the totem will explode and cause an animation of fireworks, “resurrecting” you and providing you with Regeneration and temporary Absorption. If you have another totem, quickly throw it in your off-hand and resume fighting immediately.

Food[edit]

There should never be a time when you do not have food with you, if you can possibly help it. Bread, steak, and porkchops are some of the most nutritious foods possible, so it it highly recommended to bring either of these. You can also bring cake, 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 bread or steak, are recommended.

Golden apples and enchanted golden apples can also restore food points, but they are mainly used as a healing item. Only use golden apples or enchanted golden apples when you take more than four hearts of damage at a time, and if you do not have full saturation, eat your regular food.

Potions[edit]

Potions are highly recommended when fighting the dragon, to enhance your performance as well as healing yourself. Since the main way of taking damage during the fight is fall damage, slow falling potions are almost necessary. Leaping potions, strength potions, swiftness potions can be used to boost your abilities during the fight.

Potions can also be used for emergency healing. Golden apples can serve as a healing item, as they will allow you to regenerate while being protected by Absorption. However, they are only effective when you take a reasonable amount of damage. In the case of emergencies, such as being reduced to Heart.svgHeart.svg, healing potions are highly recommended because they will heal you instantly. It is recommended to turn them into splash potions, because then they can be used quicker, and will heal you as quick as you can throw them.

Regeneration potions can help you regenerate faster than golden apples will let you regenerate, but they should only be used if you take damage over time. The dragon can inflict damage instantly with its body attacks, breath attack, and ender charges. However, if you are at extremely low health at the end of the fight, you can use your regeneration potions to heal gradually.

Blocks[edit]

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 on the taller ones, and just shoot the short ones. Also, you will need blocks to get up on top of the towers that have cages 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 towers. Alternatively, you can throw an ender pearl to get to the top.

Ender Pearls[edit]

Ender pearls are highly recommended to go to the End. You can use them to get up to high towers, or if the spawn platform is away from the island, you can use them so that you don't waste your extra blocks. Also, if you are high up in the air, get knocked down, and don't have a slow falling potion, you can use ender pearls, and take less damage this way. If you run out of ender pearls, kill a few endermen and get more.

Empty Bottles[edit]

It is recommended that you bring plenty of empty bottles, because they can be used to collect the dragon’s breath. The dragon’s breath can be collected when ender charges slam into the ground and puff out into lingering clouds, or when the dragon does its breath attack while hovering over the portal.

The Fight[edit]

Finding the Portal[edit]

All players begin the ender dragon fight with eyes of ender, because they are needed to find and activate the end portal, found in a stronghold. To make one, you will need one ender pearl and one sample of blaze powder. It is recommended to bring at least 25 eyes of ender, because 12 are needed to activate the portal, and you will need a few extra eyes to find the stronghold.

Throw your eyes of ender into the air and follow them until they float downwards, indicating that you have found the stronghold. Dig underground until you see stone bricks, and once you break in, get out your torches.

Keep exploring the stronghold’s hallways until you find the end portal room. Collect any chest loot you find. As soon as you see the portal room, run in as quick as you can, as an active silverfish spawner sits in the broken staircase that leads up to the portal. Destroy the spawner and kill all the silverfish in the room. If you want to, you can place a stone brick stair block in the empty space to complete the staircase, which will make the walk up to the portal smoother.

To activate the portal, simply insert an eye of ender into each portal frame. Some of the portal frames may already contain an eye. Once all the eyes have been placed, the portal will activate and let out a loud, dragon-like roar, “reminding” you that you are about to fight the ender dragon.

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

Since the trip to the End is one-way, don't even think about jumping into the portal until your hotbar contains the following:

  • Your sword
  • Your bow
  • Your pickaxe
  • Your golden apples
  • A slow falling potion
  • A full stack of ender pearls
  • A full stack of extra blocks
  • Your snow blocks
  • Your pumpkins

Make sure you are wearing all your armor, and instead of your helmet, wear the carved pumpkin. With your ender pearls selected, enter the portal.

Entering the End[edit]

Once you enter the portal, you will instantly get teleported to the End, giving no time to back out. When you arrive in the End, you will spawn on a 5x5 obsidian platform. The platform usually generates on the surface of the island, so you can just walk off. If it generates underground, use your pickaxe and dig up to the surface, and if it is away from the island, throw an ender pearl to the island to save your extra blocks.

Get to the center of the island as quick as possible, and if you see the dragon diving at you, quickly jump out of its way. Drink a slow falling potion in case you get knocked off.

Because falling into the void will kill you and destroy your gear, it is recommended to stick to the center of the island, unless you have to destroy end crystals. You should also avoid any holes in the island. Due to the dragon's knockback ability, you should stay at least 20 blocks away from any edge. If you get knocked off, you should immediately throw an ender pearl back up. If you are quick enough, it is possible for you to teleport out of the void and back onto the island. Chances are better if your ender pearls are held in a slot of your hotbar that you can instantly access, or if you have drank a slow falling potion.

It is recommended to have backups, because they will deal with the endermen while you take on the dragon. It is recommended that you bring snowmen or iron golems instead of tamed wolves, because they have stronger and more effective attacks.

Wear the carved pumpkin when you spawn your allies, to avoid the endermen until they are spawned. It is recommended to spawn them when the dragon is resting on her perch, as she will not attack you or them. Bring enough materials to spawn at least five snowmen or iron golems.

When your reinforcements are spawned, reorganize your inventory so that your hotbar contains the following:

  • Your sword
  • Your bow
  • Your pickaxe
  • Your golden apples
  • A full stack of ender pearls
  • A full stack of extra blocks
  • One slow falling potion
  • Your food
  • Your empty bottles

When your hotbar is organized properly, quickly take off the pumpkin mask and put on your helmet. Now you can begin taking on the almighty dragon.

Destroying the End Crystals[edit]

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 you 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 usually recommended to destroy all of them. 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 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) damage if you do this.

The ender dragon being healed by an end crystal.

Shooting[edit]

The best method for destroying the end crystals is simply shooting them with a bow. You should position yourself so that the crystal is at least partially visible. You should aim above the crystal, pay attention to where the arrow hits the tower, and adjust your 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 your bow does not have the Infinity enchantment.

Climbing[edit]

Attempting to climb the towers is quite difficult. Even if you build platforms from a dragon-proof material, the dragon can easily knock you off while you are climbing. It is recommended to get up to the caged towers, because you can easily shoot the taller ones from there.

It is quicker and safer to use ender pearls than your extra blocks, because the dragon may knock you off while building up. One trick to measure your ender pearl shot is to fully charge your bow and shoot an arrow just over the top edge of the cage. If you throw an ender pearl at the exact same angle, it will strike one block below the arrow's trajectory, hitting the side of the cage. Hold out your pickaxe and break in. If you have strong enough armor and are affected by Absorption, hit the caged crystal with your sword. Otherwise, build a few blocks away from the crystal and shoot it with your bow.

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 your bow. If the dragon knocks you off, try to throw an ender pearl to reach the tops of the towers. If you are on the tallest tower, you can check how many crystals have been destroyed and how many remain. It is also a good spot to snipe the dragon.

Killing the Dragon[edit]

Once the majority of the crystals have been destroyed, you can start to attack the dragon. But there are many things to watch out for.

Healing[edit]

The dragon has three types of attacks: body attacks, its breath attack, and ender charges. The more crystals you have destroyed, the more often the dragon will dive at you. It will inflict 15 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) damage if it hits you with its head, but its wings will only inflict 5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) - 10 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) damage. The breath attack and ender charges will inflict 5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) damage per second.

Keep track of your health at all times. If you take at least 8 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) damage at a time, hide in a corner of one of the towers and eat a golden apple. Use your healing potions if you are on the brink of death.

Dragon’s Breath[edit]

The dragon’s breath is extremely useful to collect during the fight, because it can be used to make lingering potions, which are recommended to have if you want to fight the dragon again, or if you want to fight the wither.

To collect the dragon’s breath, the dragon must do its breath attack, or fire an ender charge. When the ender charge slams into the ground, or the dragon does the breath attack, it puffs out into lingering clouds of dragon’s breath. To collect the dragon’s breath, simply hold out an empty bottle and scoop up the clouds the way you would fill a bottle with water. The dragon’s breath is stackable, so you should get as much as possible during the fight.

Attacking[edit]

While the dragon is flying, you can shoot it with your bow. However, the dragon is really hard to shoot, because it can fly extremely fast, and your shot will miss if you don’t line it up properly. It is recommended to shoot at a spot in the dragon’s fight trajectory, because then it will fly forward enough to get hit by the arrow. Try to mainly shoot it in head, because the dragon takes the most damage on its head.

The more crystals you destroy, the more often the dragon will dive at the portal. When it’s hovering over the portal, it is immune to arrow damage, and you will be forced to use your sword. It is recommended to get as many critical hits as possible, because you can get more hits this way. It is recommended to drink a strength potion, because the dragon may dive at the portal for each time it circles around the towers.

You 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 you should keep drinking your strength potions when they run out. Remember the pattern of your attacks, so that you will be efficient for the rest of the battle.

Once you have inflicted 200 (Heart.svg × 100) damage, the dragon will die and drop four grand rewards.

The Rewards[edit]

When killed, the dragon will float upwards and disintegrate before your eyes, with bright purple beams of light erupting from its body. It will then explode and cause a faint sound that gradually fades away into the infinite darkness of the End, leaving almost no trace that it was ever there. Four precious rewards will then appear.

Experience[edit]

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

When the dragon dies, a colossal amount of experience orbs will rain from the sky. These orbs have enough experience to take you from level 0 to level 78 (approximately 12,000 xp.) Some of the experience 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 so. Since it takes progressively more experience to gain a level at higher levels, you will have enough to make over ten level 30 enchantments. You don’t have to get enchantments that you will use; you can simply enchant extra equipment to use as a backup set. It is recommended to enchant extra equipment as soon as you go back home, in case you die and lose all of the precious levels you have earned.

Dragon Egg[edit]

The second reward is the priceless, one-of-a-kind dragon egg. It cannot be broken directly, as the egg will teleport if you attempt to do so.

Instead, touch the egg once and let it teleport to a block of end stone. If you 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.

Alternatively, if you have a piston and a redstone torch, place the piston facing the egg. Place the redstone torch on the side of a block and make it face the piston, because this is the only way the piston will extend. The egg will still break as a collectible item. To prevent the egg from falling into the portal, cover the portal with blocks.

If you use either of these strategies, you will get the dragon egg successfully. It has no use other than as a trophy to say that you have defeated the ender dragon, but it can serve as a beautiful decoration or an addition to a trophy room at your base.

End Gateway Portal[edit]

Perhaps the biggest reward of defeating the ender dragon is the end gateway portal, which generates when the dragon is killed. It is sometimes considered the only reason to need to fight the dragon, because it gives you access to the End’s outer islands, which is the only place where you can find end cities, chorus, elytra wings, and the dragon head.

Exit Portal[edit]

The most important reward as soon as the fight is over is the exit portal, which is the only safe way back home. It appears all the time, 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 you back home.

When you jump into the portal, you will be treated to the end poem, telling you that you have basically “completed” the game. You will then respawn in the Overworld at your respawn point, which may be your original spawn point or the last bed you slept in.

The Rematch[edit]

To have a “rematch” with the ender dragon, you will need to respawn it using end crystals. To make one, you will need seven pieces of glass, an eye of ender, and a ghast tear. You will need to go to the Nether to get some of these materials.

To respawn the dragon, place one end crystal on each side of the exit portal. The end crystals will shoot beams at the tops of the towers and resetting the end crystals and cages on the towers. Afterwards, all of the crystals will shoot beams into the sky in harmony, which is thought to mean “Rise, ender dragon, rise!” You will hear an extremely loud roar and see a massive explosion, which will resurrect the dragon and begin the fight again.

There is no real reason to fight the dragon again, because subsequent dragons will drop less experience and will not drop another dragon egg, so the only reason to need to respawn it is to get a new end gateway portal, or to get more dragon’s breath. And you will need to prepare the same equipment all over again.

The positions of end crystals on the exit portal needed to respawn the ender dragon.
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