Tutorials/Defeating the wither
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, so it is highly recommended to fight the ender dragon first.
- 1 Wither boss fight checklist
- 2 Preparing equipment
- 3 The fight
- 4 Strategies
Wither boss fight checklist
Defeating the wither requires a lot of preparation, but not everyone has the same skill. So depending on how skilled you are, different preparations may be needed. The following is a suggested collection of equipment you might need:
- A diamond sword enchanted with Sharpness V or Smite V and Knockback II (Fire Aspect is ineffective)
- A bow enchanted with Unbreaking III, Power V, Punch II, and Infinity (Flame is ineffective)
- One arrow (or without Infinity, several stacks)
- A full set of diamond armor, enchanted with Protection IV or Blast Protection IV
- A diamond pickaxe enchanted with Silk Touch and Efficiency IV or V
- A pair of elytra wings enchanted with Unbreaking III and Mending
- Several stacks of firework rockets (any flight duration)
- At least 10 golden apples
- Highly nutritious food, such as bread or steak
- At least six healing potions
- At least six regeneration potions
- At least six strength potions
- Several stacks of obsidian
- An ender chest
- Several stacks of ender pearls
- Several buckets of milk, to cure the wither effect
- Iron blocks and pumpkins, to spawn iron golems that will fight with you
- Several stacks of healing arrows (optional)
- A trident enchanted with Loyalty III and Channeling (optional)
- A shield enchanted with Unbreaking III (optional)
- One or two enchanted golden apples (optional)
- One or two totems of undying (optional)
Your sword (preferably diamond) will be used to attack the wither when it reaches half health, or to take out wither skeletons that the wither spawns. You should enchant your sword, ideally with Sharpness, but Smite is more effective, since the wither is an undead mob. Knockback is also extremely effective, because you can knock the wither really far back and have enough time to use a healing item. You should make two different swords: one with Smite V, Unbreaking III, and Knockback II, to use against the wither, and one with Sharpness IV or V and Looting III, to collect wither skulls from wither skeletons.
The bow will be your main weapon, and will be mainly used against the wither. When you are in the Nether collecting wither skulls, you can use it to take out ghasts or blazes that are in your way. You should enchant your bow with Power V, to deal as much damage as possible, and Infinity, so that you don’t run out of arrows while fighting. To prevent your bow from breaking, you should add Unbreaking to it as well. Punch is also highly recommended, but Flame is ineffective. Your bow will only work until the wither reaches half health, so use it as much as possible up to that point. Since the wither is undead, you can use healing arrows to inflict more damage.
Since it is even more powerful than the ender dragon, armor is absolutely necessary against the wither. You should wear a full set of diamond armor enchanted with Protection IV or Blast Protection IV. Blast Protection is better than normal Protection, because it will protect you from explosion damage, which is inevitable in the wither fight. Thorns is ineffective, because the wither can fly, and will therefore not touch your armor. Since the fight will take a massive toll on your armor’s durability, you should add Unbreaking to it as welll.
A pickaxe (preferably diamond) will be extremely useful, because it can be used to collect blocks that you can use to build a wall against the wither. Obsidian is the best block to build a wall with, but it can only be collected with a diamond pickaxe. You should enchant your pickaxe with Efficiency IV or V, to break blocks quickly. And Silk Touch is necessary to reclaim your ender chest.
You can also use elytra wings to help you along the way. However, they can only be accessed after you explore an end city, but it is absolutely worth it. You can use your elytra to fly around the Nether in search of fortresses. You don’t have to fight with it, but if you do, you can use it to fly away from the wither and hide. If you bring elytra wings, you should enchant them with Unbreaking III and Mending, because your journey in the Nether may be extremely long. Mending will allow your elytra to self-repair when you collect XP. If you add Unbreaking III ad Mending to your elytra wings, they will become indestructible, because they will lose durability and self-repair at roughy the same rate. Once you return from the Nether, use phantom membranes to repair your elytra completely.
On its own, the elytra is more like a glider, because it is extremely difficult to gain height with just the elytra wings. When combined with firework rockets, the elytra actually behaves more like a cape. When you are gliding, the fireworks will boost your speed and allow you to fly faster. You can also easily gain height with boosted flight speed. However, if your rockets are equipped with a firework star, they will produce a colorful explosion, but you will take 8 () damage when you use them, so avoid adding firework stars to your rockets. The flight duration of your rockets is measured in seconds (for example, flight duration 1 will propel you for one second). You should bring at least ten stacks of rockets, to be able to fly for as long as possible.
The wither is so strong, you will be guaranteed to die at least once without healing items. Golden apples are the most efficient healing item, because they provide Absorption, which will protect you from most damage while you heal. But golden apples are not enough against the wither. Potent healing potions and extended regeneration potions are almost necessary, as they will heal you much quicker than golden apples. The only difference is that healing potions will heal you instantly and regeneration potions will heal you gradually, but both are very helpful, so bring at least six of each type of potion. Enchanted golden apples are also very helpful, because they will heal you more than regular ones. However, 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 after you explore a woodland mansion or stop a raid[upcoming 1.14] . However, they 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 fatal damage, the totem will explode and cause an animation of fireworks, “resurrecting” you and providing you with Regeneration and temporary Absorption. It will also remove any harmful effects from your body, which will prevent further damage from the wither effect. Therefore, it is highly recommended to go to a woodland mansion and gather a few totems before the fight.
There should never be a time when you do not have food with you. Bread and steak are some of the most nutritious foods possible, so bring at least a stack of 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, it is better to eat more nutritious food.
Golden apples and enchanted apples can also restore food points, but they are mainly used as healing items. Eat your normal food if you do not have full saturation, and only use golden apples when you take damage.
Potions are extremely useful in the fight, to enhance your performance. Strength potions and swiftness potions can be extremely useful, because you can inflict more damage and run away from the wither quicker. Invisibility potions are ineffective, because the wither can still see you if you are invisible.
Potions can also be used for emergency healing, since you will take a lot of damage in the fight. Healing potions and regeneration potions are different, because healing potions will heal you instantly, and regeneration potions will heal you gradually. But both of them will really help you, so bring at least six of each type of potion.
Blocks can be really helpful in the fight, as well as in preparation for the fight. Harder blocks, such as cobblestone, are better than softer blocks. Cobble can help you mark your way back in the Nether. However, in the fight, you will need to use the hardest blocks you can get, because the wither can break almost any block. Obsidian is the best block to use, because it is the hardest obtainable block in the game. You can use it to build a defensive wall against the wither, or a small base to hide in. Build at least three layers of obsidian, in case the wither breaks some.
|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|
- 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+),
|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 OR Enchanted Golden Apple|
Hit and run
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, 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.
Enchanted brute force
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.
To use snow golems most effectively to beat the wither, dig out a 10×10x3 tall room with walls from obsidian 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.
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.
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.
Note: This strategy does not work in the Bedrock Edition.
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:
- 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.
- Find the block on the floor that is in line with the central axis of the portal and mark it.
- 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.
- Run away more than 14 blocks to prevent the explosion on creation from damaging you.
- Kill the wither!
More information can be found in this video:
Cobble generator suffocation
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.
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.
Bedrock ceiling containment
This method is easy to pull off in the Bedrock Edition, where the withers can't be immobilized by pushing it 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.
End city gateway suffocation
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.