Minecraft phantom spawning and drops

The Minecraft phantom is one of the most terrifying mobs in the sandbox game, so here's our guide to preparing yourself against this winged hostile mob.

A Minecraft Phantom flies over a desert village at night

The Minecraft phantom was, for some godforsaken reason, voted into the survival game by fans during the Minecraft Live (then Minecon Earth) mob vote of 2017. The terrifying flying hostile mob comes only at night, preying on those who haven’t slept in a few days – a literal nightmare for insomniacs.

You can hear a Phantom, or see their sounds on the in-game subtitles, but they swoop down on you from above, which still means they can take you by surprise. And even if you are ready for them, they’re not easy to hit. Sure, Minecraft might be one of the best PC games around thanks to its regular updates, but we’re still not over this deadly addition. So, if you’re as scared of these green-eyed Minecraft mobs as us, this guide should help you put up the best defence against the Minecraft Phantom.

A Minecraft Phantom's green eyes glow in the dark above the ocean, a badlands butte in the background under the moon's light

Minecraft Phantom spawning

The Minecraft Phantom has slightly different spawn requirements in Java and Bedrock edition, but both still require the player to have not slept for three in-game days. So, if you don’t want these menacing creatures circling above your head, make sure you keep a bed with you at all times.

In Java edition, once a player has gone three nights without sleep, Phantoms spawn in the Overworld at night or during a thunderstorm. According to the Minecraft wiki, they attempt to spawn every 1-2 minutes if the player is above sea level (y=64), and has access to the sky; so either air blocks or blocks with light opacity zero above the player, such as glass. Phantoms are also the only hostile mob that can spawn in mushroom fields, as they don’t spawn on the ground.

In Bedrock edition, Phantom spawning is simply based on light level, like most hostile mobs. If the light level is below 7, and the mob population cap has not been reached nearby, Phantoms can spawn.

Killing a Minecraft Phantom

Phantoms are one of the more difficult mobs to kill thanks to their movement. The blue, winged creature will swoop down from the sky to the same level as the player, then fly directly at you, so you must watch their actions, and attempt to hit them just before they hit you. As an undead mod, they are affected by the Smite sword enchantment, which will deal more damage than usual. Otherwise, a Minecraft Phantom will die naturally when exposed to sunlight, so you can always hide and wait for morning to come.

Minecraft Phantom Membrane: The option brewing UI shows a potion of slow falling

Minecraft Phantom Membrane drops

If you manage to get enough Smite-enchanted sword swipes in before it gets you, going head-to-head with this beast can be worth it for it’s rare loot drop: Phantom Membrane. You’ll only obtain Phantom Membranes when you kill the mob, and not if it burns in the sun.

Minecraft Phantom drops:

  • 0-1 Phantom Membranes (up to four with Looting)
  • 5 EXP orbs

A Phantom Membrane can, obviously, only be obtained from a Phantom, but it’s not so bad as their main use – repairing broken Elytra – only becomes useful in the late game, as you can only get Elytra themselves from End Cities. You can also use Phantom Membranes in Minecraft potions though, as they are used to brew the Potion of Slow Falling – great if you’re prone to falling off cliffs.

Hopefully, equipped with this information and a Minecraft diamond sword, you won’t be quite so afraid next time you hear the demonic screech of the Phantom above your head. Kit your tools and armor out with the very best Minecraft enchantments, including Smite and Looting, for an even better chance at success against these flying beasts. Then rest up, rid those Phantoms from the sky, and check out the newest Minecraft Live mob vote winner, the altogether more peaceful Minecraft Sniffer mob.