How to summon and beat the Wither in Minecraft

No, not the Witcher. The Wither!

The Wither is a powerful boss in Minecraft that flies around and destroys everything in its vicinity. It’s a tough foe to beat, and you can’t just stumble across the Wither in the Overworld. 

No, it’s a lengthy process to defeat the Wither - a journey that begins in the Nether. Eventually, you’ll summon the Wither and beat him. Your reward? A valuable Nether Star and some hardcore boasting rights. This guide will show you how to summon and beat the Wither in Minecraft.

What You Need

Here's what you need to summon and beat the Wither:

  • 4x Soul Sand
  • 3x Wither Skeleton Skulls

These items are only available within the Nether, so let's begin there.

Enter the Nether

First, you must travel to the Nether, so make sure you are geared up before entering. You shouldn’t need a lot of valuable items, just weapons, armor, and food that will keep you safe against dangerous mobs. Once ready, construct a 4 x 5 Nether Portal with Obsidian blocks and then strike the middle with Flint and Steel to activate. Next, enter the Nether.

Within the Nether, search for a Nether Fortress. These fortresses cover a large area and look like constructions of bridges, towers, and corridors. Because nether fortresses are randomly generated, there’s no telling when or where you might find one. So, be prepared to travel far and wide to find a Nether Fortress. I recommend placing torches as you travel, to leave a path directly back to the Nether Portal.

When you’ve found a Nether Fortress, the real fighting begins. Specifically, you should be looking to fight Wither Skeletons for Wither Skeleton Skull drops. You need 3 of these to summon the Wither. Wither Skeleton Skulls only have a 2.5% chance of dropping, so you have 2 choices:

  • Kill Wither Skeletons for as long as it takes to obtain 3 Wither Skeleton Skulls.
  • Speed up the process by enchanting your sword with the Looting enchantment. You should do so before entering the Nether.

While killing Wither Skeletons and searching for skulls, you will most likely be travelling all around the fortress. Keep an eye out for netherwart rooms. Netherwart grows on Soul Sand, which is the other ingredient needed to spawn the Wither. You need 5x Soul Sand. Finding Soul Sand in a netherwart room (inside of the fortress) is faster than leaving the fortress and searching for it. That is, if you haven’t already come across it on the way here. 

With those materials found, find your way back to the Nether Portal. Return home when ready.

How to summon the Wither

To summon the Wither, first place the Soul Sand down in a “T” formation. Next, equip the Wither Skeleton Skulls and place them on top of the 3 blocks. One of the skulls must be placed last in order for the summon to work. Once you place that last skull, the Wither will appear.

Some things to know before summoning the Wither:

  1. The Wither will destroy everything in sight as it flies around. So, best not to summon the Wither anywhere near your home or a valued area. 
  2. The Wither can be summoned pretty much anywhere.
  3. Keep your distance when the Wither first summons in. Once its health fully charges, the Wither emits a large blast that will do lots of damage to your health.

Now, prepare to fight!

How to beat the Wither

Summoning the Wither above ground will give the Wither free reign to fly everywhere, making it more difficult for you to strike it. If this is how you’d prefer to fight the Wither, then by all means go ahead. However, this useful tip from YouTuber KDonnie is a bit more safe and one I much prefer.

To beat the Wither, build out a small fighting arena underground, as seen in the video above. This arena should provide enough space for you to fight the Wither. But it should also have an opening for you to escape if need be, but the escape route should be narrow enough so that the Wither can’t follow you out. Essentially, you’re trapping the Wither in this room until it dies.

As KDonnie advised, enchanting your sword with Smite will greatly improve your odds of winning. Smite provides your sword with double the damage and will help you beat the Wither faster. You’ll need this, too, as you’ll be more subject to the Wither’s explosions while in the arena. Food, especially golden carrots, will come in handy for this fight, as well.

When you’ve defeated the Wither, grab that Nether Star and congratulate yourself one hard-fought victory! You might even want to consider using that Nether Star to build a beacon.

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