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Minecraft: How To Defeat The Ender Dragon

While there’s no actual ending to Minecraft, defeating the Ender Dragon has always been considered a landmark in the game. With how much experience it yields, and with the added easy access to the End Cities where the Elytra can be found, it’s a boss battle that most players look forward to completing. For newer players, however, it might be a tough one.

The Dragon is still the largest mob in the game, and as such is immensely powerful. It deals quite a bit of damage, and shouldn’t be underestimated despite being one of the oldest mobs in the game. If you’re planning on setting out to defeat her, this guide will help you go in prepared and emerge successfully at the end.

Preparing For Battle

By now, you’ve most likely found a stronghold and activated the End portal. All that remains is to jump through, once you’ve adequately prepared for the task at hand. Before entering, it’s recommended to bring a bed to the stronghold’s portal room, so that if you do die during battle you can quickly take the portal back to the End recover your items.


The Ender Dragon is a flying creature, but he has a distinct movement pattern. During specific parts of his flight, he will only take melee damage, which is why you’ll need two types of weapons: melee and ranged.

  • Enchanted bow: this is a must-have. A powerful bow will work wonders while the Dragon flies around. Power IV, Infinity, and Unbreaking III are great enchantment choices.
  • Diamond sword: diamond is a minimum requirement, with Netherite tools being even better. When she perches above the fountain, the Dragon takes melee damage only, so Sharpness IV or V and Unbreaking III are a good start.


One of the greatest dangers of fighting the Dragon is being swept and tossed several blocks high in the air. This forces you to take devastating fall damage, so having great armor is key.

  • Full body diamond/Netherite armor: diamond is the minimum requirement and Netherite is even better if you can afford it, since it provides the best protection. For leggings and chestplate, look for enchantments like Protection IV or V and Unbreaking III.
  • Boots with Feather Falling IV: an absolute must-have, if you drop accidentally while destroying the End Crystals keeping the Dragon alive, these boots will soften the blow.

Foods And Consumables

Your health will take a big hit during the fight. The Dragon uses both projectiles to spread dragon breath around the End island, but will also fly through enemies on low ground, tossing both you and Endermen into the air.

  • Potions: potions such as Healing and Regeneration are a nice bonus to keep your health up. Speed will allow you to dodge the Dragon and run away from any aggressive Endermen. Strength potions add a bit of raw damage to your melee attacks when the Dragon perches. Slow Falling could save your life if you fall from a high place.
  • Golden apples and carrots: both normal and enchanted apples are nice, and the golden carrot has the highest food saturation in the game.
  • Totem of Undying: having one or two in your off-hand can seriously save you from having to collect your items by re-entering the portal after an unfortunate death.

Other Necessities

The End island is filled also with Endermen, and the danger of a drop into the Void is always present. Moreover, as you pass through the portal, there’s no guarantee where you’ll appear on the End island.

  • Cheap blocks: take several stacks of any cheap blocks, like cobblestone or netherrack so you can bridge your way to the main island in case the portal takes you slightly outside of it.
  • Ender pearls: farming for them during the fight is inconvenient but possible. If you get tossed into the Void, you can use a pearl to teleport back to the island, or even use it to reach one of the End Crystals.
  • Carved pumpkin head: if you have this on your helmet slot during the fight, Endermen won’t be aggressive towards you even if you accidentally look at them, though it will obstruct much of your view.

  • Bucket of water: a versatile, must-have tool as it can help you climb up the towers, or keep Endermen at bay since they take damage from water. If you’re fast enough, you can even use water to negate fall damage entirely.
  • Ladders: used mainly to climb up the towers to reach the End Crystals.
  • Six or seven beds: for seasoned players who have chosen to use the bed strategy to kill the Ender Dragon.

Dealing With The Endermen

One of the main annoyances of the Dragon fight is the abundance of Endermen that patrol the main island. Accidentally looking at them could spell death for you since Endermen deal a decent amount of damage, especially in groups.

You can create a platform at the base of one of the pillars that’s two blocks high off the ground. This allows only you to stand underneath it, while Endermen which are three blocks high will be out of your reach. The construction can be used as a safe haven if you find yourself overwhelmed with aggressive Endermen.

The water bucket is also your best friend when it comes to Endermen. Water is their worst enemy, and so placing a bucket of water down directly underneath yourself will push any Endermen away from you and also deal damage to them.

The best method, however, is to have a carved pumpkin head with you. While it can make shooting the Dragon difficult, it’s a nice way to ensure the Endermen will never be an issue to you throughout the entire boss fight.

Destroying The End Crystals

When you first enter the End island, the Dragon will regenerate any damage it takes due to being surrounded by towers with End Crystals on top of them. The main goal at first is to get to these crystals and shoot them or hit them with any tool that does damage. Beware of the explosion damage and stagger that they cause when destroyed.

The towers are all different in height. Some are low enough for you to snipe the crystals from afar with a bow and arrow. Some, however, are incredibly tall, and the crystal might be encased within iron bars which need to be destroyed first. In this case, you need to climb up to the tower.

You can use blocks to get up to a tower, or if that’s too slow, placing down ladders while climbing has been proven to be a good technique. In an emergency situation, you can even use a water bucket to climb up a tower by quickly placing and removing a water block and swimming up.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could use Ender pearls to teleport yourself to some of the higher towers with caged crystals. This might require some practice with Ender pearl throws first, however, and presents the risk of you missing your throw and ending up in the Void.

Slaying The Dragon

Once you’ve destroyed all the End Crystals it’s time to actually defeat the Dragon herself. The Dragon has a very specific flight pattern, with different phases. Being able to recognize these phases is key to knowing how to engage in combat.

Phase 1: Flying

During this phase, the Dragon will circle around the different towers and move somewhat freely around the island. Sometimes it might go fairly far away from the center fountain, and make huge loops. This phase requires you to use a bow and arrow to chip her health away progressively.

Phase 2: Perching

Eventually, the Dragon will move towards the center fountain and toss and turn around wildly. Eventually, it will become immobile and flap its wings. During this phase, any projectile damage is negated, and you need to get incredibly close to her to hit her with a melee weapon or use beds.

Phase 3: Post-Perch

As soon as the perch phase is done, the Dragon will fly low to the ground in one direction and sweep anyone in its vicinity off their feet, high into the air. You absolutely want to avoid being near her during this time, because one swoop could kill you instantly due to fall damage.

The Bed Strategy

Developed and popularized by Minecraft speedrunners, the bed strategy involves you using beds to kill the Dragon. Since beds explode in the End when interacted with and have a bigger explosion radius than TNT, they can deal a fair bit of damage. To do this, you need to place a few blocks in preparation on the End island fountain as shown in the picture.

Then, wait for the Dragon to perch. It’s vital you wait for this phase. Once it perches, you can Ender pearl yourself to the fountain and start placing beds on top of it, directly underneath the Dragon. Then quickly interact with them to explode them. Do this repeatedly and quickly, by placing and interacting and then placing again.

The whole process can be made easier when timed correctly. Ideally, you’ll want to explode the bed when the Dragon’s head is directly above it to inflict headshot damage. Press F3 and B to show hitboxes, which should give you a better idea of how to time this properly. There are also custom practice maps that let you try this out.

NEXT: Minecraft Complete Guide And Walkthrough

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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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