The Wither is to this day known as one of the most devastating enemies in Minecraft. Unlike the Ender Dragon that is fought always in the same dimension and which has a very manageable combat style, the Wither brings chaos and destruction with itself as it’s summoned, making it a danger to anything that stands in its way.
The Wither is also a tough fight due to having two forms. In its first form, it will take damage from a bow and arrow, but after its health is below 50%, it will only be vulnerable to attacks from a sword or other melee weapon. What makes this fight tough is the damage it does, the Wither status effect it can inflict, as well as the Wither’s ability to slowly regenerate health. There’s many ways to defeat him, but there are approximately three solid methods recommended.
Summoning The Wither
Summoning the Wither requires four blocks of Soul Sand, which can be found easily in the Nether in Soul Sand Valley biomes. It also requires you to have three Wither Skeleton heads, which are mainly found in Nether Fortresses where most Wither Skeletons spawn.
In order to get a higher chance of receiving a Wither Skeleton head, make sure you kill the skeletons with a Looting III sword. This will maximize your chances.
To summon the Wither, the Soul Sand must be placed in a T-shape either up or against the ground, with the three skeleton heads against the horizontal top part of the T.
The Vanilla Method
If you want to defeat the Wither without exploits, get ready for an extremely difficult fight. You should have adequate gear and other supporting items like food and potions ready for the encounter as well. While every player might prefer to bring different things to the fight, generally speaking you’ll want at the very least the following:
- A diamond or Netherite sword
- Diamond or Netherite grade gear (anything lower will make the fight very difficult)
- A bow for the first phase of the fight
- A shield to tank some of the Wither’s explosive attacks
- Plenty of food, mainly golden apples
If you can afford level 30 enchantments, enchant as many pieces of your armor and gear as possible before the fight. There’s a few ideal enchantments that can make the whole ordeal much more manageable.
- Smite V: add this to your sword, and the Wither, considered an undead creature, will take even more damage.
- Protection IV or V: a basic armor-boosting enchantment, good for a variety of damage.
- Blast Protection IV or V: fantastic enchantment against explosive damage, in which the Wither specializes.
- Power V: if you prefer the bow, it’s a necessity to have this bow enchantment, as well as Infinity.
Some special items can also be taken along to make the fight easier to survive. However, some of these might be difficult or unrealistic for first time players to acquire, without ample preparation, so consider these more optional than a necessity.
- Enchanted Golden Apples: this variant of the classic golden apple is even more potent and is usually found in dungeons and other loot.
- Totems of Undying: when equipped in your off hand, they will give you extra health when you die, essentially resurrecting you. The Totem is consumed upon use. They can be gained during raids from Evokers or at Woodland Mansions.
- Ender Pearls: farm Endermen for these, as they make for a great escape from a tough situation.
- Health or Regeneration Potions: these potions are the best to invest in to add some sustain to your kit.
Now that you have all the gear you need for the fight, you might want to prepare a location for it. It’s highly recommended to summon the Wither underground, in a solid area instead of a cave to avoid other mobs from interfering with the fight. No matter what you choose, underground or overground, make sure you do not summon it near any buildings or structures you don’t want to be destroyed.
If you’re fighting the Wither away from your base, building a temporary house out of obsidian might be a good idea. Although the Wither can break obsidian, it will provide some emergency cover and a temporary spawn room for you if you die during the fight.
The fight itself is very straightforward. Upon summoned, the Wither will initially remain still for approximately 10 seconds, after which it will explode in a devastating sound, damaging anything within a close radius. Make sure to stand clear of the Wither during this time.
During the first phase, staying further away and pelting the Wither with arrows. Once its health drops below half, it will stop hovering in the air and only take damage from melee weapons. This is where a good sword and shield will come in hand, as well as your golden apples for sustain.
The Tunneling Method
The tunneling method is a go-to option for a lot of beginner players who might feel intimidated by the fight. It’s a mixture of cheese strategies and vanilla combat. The same gear recommendations apply for this option as well.
After gearing up, mine deep underground until you reach the first layer of bedrock. From there on, mine a fairly long tunnel that’s two blocks high and one block wide. It’s up to you how far you want it to go, but make sure you can still shoot at the Wither from one end successfully. At the end of the tunnel, carve out a small room where you summon the Wither. During the 10 second period, run down the hallway.
The Wither will now have to carve its way through stone to get to you, as it can’t fit through the hallway. You’ll be able to use this small hallway as a way to shoot at it, and by the time it’s low health, it should be close enough for you to finish the job with a sword.
The Bedrock Method
For players who really couldn’t be bothered with a tough fight, the ultimate cheese method is to suffocate the Wither naturally with one of the few blocks it cannot break, which is bedrock. There’s a couple of select locations where you can summon the Wither in a manner in which its head will be stuck in a layer of bedrock, which will help to kill it quicker.
The first option is the Nether roof. In the Nether, mine far up to the roof, which has a thick layer of bedrock. You want to look for a spot where there’s a three by three area of bedrock. Leave two blocks of air in-between the bedrock ceiling, and then place down a block of obsidian.
Then lay down the Wither’s pattern, with its bottom soul sand block resting horizontally on the obsidian block.
The Wither should then spawn on top of the obsidian block you placed down, with its head stuck in the solid obsidian layer of the Nether roof. He’s now safe to kill.
The second option is the central End island, underneath the portal that takes you back to the Overworld after fighting the Ender Dragon.
Mine underneath the portal, and find the center bedrock portal. Using obsidian, mark the center, and then mark the areas where you’ll place down the soul sand blocks, in a similar T-shape.
Place down the skeleton heads and make sure to walk back before the Wither spawns again, since it will do quite a bit of initial blast damage after the 10 second timer runs out.
Both of these methods will ensure you take no damage from the Wither, and are able to kill it safely. The initial blast will still damage you, but after that it will be unable to attack you. To speed up the process, have a Smite V sword and a Potion of Strength.
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Tea lover and video game obsessed writing enthusiast with her very own Overwatch team, Anastasia writes about games that leave an impression on her and make her come back time and time again.
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