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Minecraft wither: how to spawn and defeat the wither boss

The Minecraft Wither is one of the game's two main bosses, and is the only way to get some very valuable loot, so here's what you need to know to defeat it.

Want to spawn and defeat a Minecraft Wither? Sounds a bit cruel, doesn’t it? Bring something into existence just to snuff its life right back out again. Well, that’s exactly what you’ll do with the Wither – but then none of us would be here if we looked too deeply into the wrongs and rights of some video game mechanics.

One of the most powerful Minecraft mobs, the Wither is a floating, three-headed mythical monster, and defeating one is the only way of obtaining a nether star. This rare resource is vital in crafting a beacon in Minecraft, which itself provides a range of boosts, so if you’re digging a big hole, crafting something spectacular, or building your own Minecraft maps, then you’ll probably want one. Or if you’re just a completionist. So here’s how to spawn – and defeat – a Minecraft Wither.

How to spawn a Minecraft wither: three wither skeleton heads rest on top of four soul sand in a t-shape

How to spawn a wither in Minecraft

To spawn a wither in Minecraft, you’ll need all the right resources. Just like spawning an Iron Golem, you’ll need four blocks in a t-shape, but three items to represent its three heads.

To spawn a Minecraft wither:

  • Place four soul sand or soul soil in a t-shape.
  • Place a wither skeleton skulls on top of each top block.
  • Stand back!

Spawning the wither is the easy bit, its gathering the materials to do so that might pose a challenge. Soul sand and soul soil should be fairly easy to find in the Nether, and will be found in abundance in Soul Sand Valley biome. However, wither skeleton skulls are hard to come by, and you’ll need to kill a lot of wither skeletons to get three of them, as they are dropped by the nether mob at a rate of 2.5%. Add the looting enchantment to your sword for increased drop rates.

Once these blocks have been placed correctly, the Wither will spawn, and will flash as it builds up its power, before flying away, firing explosive skulls as it goes. If your wither is not spawning, ensure that there is an air block underneath the right and left hand soul blocks, as a layer of snow, a flower, or another such item or block will prevent spawning.



How to kill a wither in Minecraft

A wither in Minecraft is immune to fire, lava, and drowning damage. Fortunately for us though it takes extra damage from weapons with the smite enchantment, so it’s worth using a Minecraft enchantment table for an extra boost on a Minecraft diamond sword.

Using a bow is always a good option, so you can keep your distance as a wither damages every block it touches – ouch. Make sure to enchant your bow with power and infinite and if you’re using a crossbow, the quick charge enchantment will ensure you don’t lag behind. Also make sure you stock up on plenty of bows, you don’t want to be caught short half way through the fight.

Although the wither is immune to most status effects, it is harmed by the instant health effect and healed by instant damage, unlike other undead mobs. Come armed with plenty of healing potions for health regeneration and strength potions to deal extra damage by using the Minecraft brewing process.

The wither will react differently depending on your difficulty setting, sometimes spawning wither skeletons at half health and doubling down on the amount of skulls it lobs your way. The wither will always become more aggressive when its health depletes below half way and has a habit of charging towards you, taking out everything in its path on its way. It will also gain armour at this point, letting you know it won’t go down without a fight, and making it one of the most powerful mobs in Minecraft.

Our top tip for defeating the Wither is to trap it in a small underground dug-out, as spawning it out in the open will cause it to fly away, destroying your world and making it more difficult to fight.

A Minecraft wither flies across the sky under a sunset

Minecraft wither skulls

When a wither attacks, it fires projectile exploding skulls, another reason to keep your distance. The wither shoots multiple skulls a second at a target, whether that be an innocent bystander or at you.

Black skulls: have a blast radius of one and cannot break blocks with a blast resistance above 20
Blue skulls: cause more damage than black skulls, but are slower, breaking blocks above a four blast resistance

Minecraft wither effect

If you’re struck by a wither skull your health hearts will turn black and, similar to poison, your health will slowly drain. To cure this, drink milk or use a totem of the undying.

Minecraft wither drops

Once the battle is over you’ll get to reap the rewards of killing the Minecraft wither boss – the Nether Star. The Nether Star is an extremely rare item that you can use to craft a Minecraft beacon, itself providing status effects to nearby players, such as jump boost, haste, and speed.

Now you know how to spawn and kill a Minecraft wither, go forth and defeat this terrifying boss, and add another achievement to your experience in one of the best PC games of recent years. Although it’s not as much of a challenge as this boss, our guide to a Minecraft phantom will aid you against this lesser evil, and the Minecraft Warden is a mob you won’t want to fight.