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Minecraft: how to find and defeat the Wither

Learn how to spawn and defeat the Wither boss in Minecraft

Want to know how to spawn and defeat the Wither boss in Minecraft? Minecraft 1.18 might be here with new sprawling terrain generation that gives the world a new look, but there's nothing wrong with revisiting the classics. The Wither is a powerful boss mob in Minecraft that you can summon for one hell of a challenge. This guide will cover everything you need to know to spawn, fight, and defeat the Wither in Minecraft, so gear up and read on to battle this terrifying monster.

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How to spawn the Wither in Minecraft

To spawn the Wither into your world, you need to create a specific structure using Soul Sand or Soul Soil and 3 Wither Skeleton Skulls. You can find all of these ingredients in the Nether. If you want to access the Nether quickly, check out our list of Seeds to find the ideal world for a Nether rush. Once you have the items you need, place them in the following shape:

Minecraft wither spawn structure soul soil and wither skulls

The Wither will not spawn unless the last block that you place is one of the Wither Skeleton Skulls, so make sure that you save one of them until last.

As soon as you place the final skull, the Wither will spawn into your world and the boss fight will begin. Grab any armour, weapons, potions, and food that you want before you place the last skull and start the fight.

How to defeat the Wither in Minecraft

Like the Ender Dragon, the Wither has a health bar that you must whittle down to zero. When the Wither reaches half health, its behaviour will change slightly, splitting this battle into two phases.

Minecraft wither boss spawning in over plains biome

Wither boss battle phase 1

Phase 1 begins when the Wither first appears in the Overworld. It will slowly get bigger until it explodes in a fiery burst, which damages everything around the Wither and kicks off the fight.

During the first phase, the Wither will hover around and search around for any players and mobs other than undead. When it finds a target, it will lock onto it and fire Wither Skulls from its three heads.

Upon impact, these Wither Skulls will cause an explosion that destroys most basic blocks, such as Cobblestone, Dirt, Sand, and Wood. This makes a fight with the Wither particularly catastrophic, as it will completely destroy almost any surface terrain.

Minecraft village destroyed after wither attack

The damage dealt by Wither Skulls depends on the difficulty. On Easy, they deal 5 hearts of damage. On Medium, you will lose 8 hearts if you are hit by a Wither Skull, and you will lose 12 hearts if you are playing on Hard.

Wither Skulls also cause the Wither effect, which will drain your health for 10 seconds on Normal and 40 seconds on Hard. This can kill you very quickly, but drinking a bucket of milk will completely remove the effect. Keep an eye on your hearts and drink some milk if they turn black, as this indicates that you have gained the Wither status effect.

If the Wither kills a mob that is standing on soil, it will plant a Wither Rose. When your character touches a Wither Rose, your health will slowly drain. This effect will end 1 second after you stop touching the Rose. To avoid Wither Roses, you should try not to stand near any mobs that the Wither will easily kill, like animals or villagers.

Whilst you are in the first phase, keep your distance and deal damage using ranged weapons, such as the Bow. These will hurt the Wither, whilst giving you plenty of room to dodge any Wither Skulls that come your way.

Throughout the battle, the Wither passively regenerates health, so you need to deal damage quickly and consistently to kill it. Killing mobs also grants the Wither a small health boost, so try to fight it away from villages or farms. This will also help avoid Wither Roses, as mentioned above.

Wither boss at half health with shield

Wither boss battle phase 2

When the Wither reaches half health, it cloaks itself in a hazy blue shield. This will protect it from damage caused by ranged weapons, meaning you will need to grab a melee weapon and get stuck into some close quarters combat.

The Wither’s attack pattern will remain the same during this phase in Java edition, so keep avoiding Wither Skulls as you approach and deal damage.

Make sure that you use either a Diamond or Netherite Sword, as these are some of the strongest melee weapons available in Minecraft. It’s best to have these enchanted with Smite, as the Wither counts as an undead enemy and takes more damage from this enchantment.

If you are playing in Bedrock Edition, you will need to change tactics and use melee weapons, just like in Java. However, the Wither will gain a ram attack which it will use sporadically. You can predict when this will happen, as it changes into a flat stance and then shoots forward at a high speed.

When the Wither uses this attack, it will cause damage to any mobs that are nearby, whilst also completely levelling the terrain. When you see it change stance, try to dodge out of the way before it unleashes the attack.

Minecraft nether star in plains biome

What do you get for defeating the Wither

When the Wither dies, it will remain still and shake for a brief moment before disappearing. EXP will drop onto the floor along with a Nether Star, which is needed to make the Beacon.

With that, you should now be prepared to find and defeat the Wither in Minecraft. If you’re interested in an even bigger challenge, get stuck into PVP with our list of the best Minecraft Servers. If you want the fight to be a visual spectacle, use our list of Minecraft Shaders to make it look even prettier. If you’ve already fought the Wither a bunch of times and are ready for something new, check out everything that we currently know about Minecraft 1.19, also known as The Wild Update, which will bring Frogs and Fireflies. It will also include the Warden, which could be the next fearsome foe you face.

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