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How to find and kill the Ender Dragon in Minecraft

To the majority of players, there is no “end” to Minecraft. The only limitations are how creative one wants to be or how long they find enjoyment in setting their own goals. People have, and continue to, create entire worlds of their own design that push the limits of what many thought possible in a game that appears so simple on the surface. Right from the beginning, though, the game was made to push back on players. First, there were simple mobs, such as zombies and the explosive creepers, but over time, more variety and challenging creatures were added. To keep that sense of discovery and adventure exciting and difficult, monsters are tucked away in secret places that you aren’t likely to stumble upon by accident.

The Ender Dragon marks the “end” of Minecraft in the sense that defeating it will trigger the game’s credits. Of course, that doesn’t mean the game is over. You are returned to your world to enjoy the endless amount of content still waiting for you. Defeating this massive dragon is a challenging undertaking on its own, let alone the process of finding it. Here’s how you can find and kill the Ender Dragon in Minecraft.

Further reading

What to get before finding the Ender Dragon

Minecraft Crouch with Shield

The Ender Dragon is arguably the most difficult boss in all of Minecraft, with the Wither being the only other boss that might overtake it. It wasn’t implemented into the game until the official 1.0 launch of the game, and by then, the game had already been played by so many people for hundreds of hours that it took a while for the community to even find it. As eager as you probably are to slay this iconic beast, running in unprepared will just lead to a quick death.

Right off the bat, spend some time building up your weapons and armor. A full set of diamond armor is well worth the time it will take to acquire, offering the best protection possible outside of Netherite. In terms of weapons, a plain diamond sword is the bare minimum you should have, but ideally, you would want to enchant it to have as much sharpness as possible. You’re also going to be taking the role of an archer here, so get yourself a bow and as many arrows as you can craft. Or, if you are able to enchant the bow with infinity so it never runs out of arrows, all the better. The Ender Dragon, what with its massive wings, is a mostly aerial target, so you’ll be unloading a ton of arrows during the fight.

Other tools you should have in your pack include a trusty diamond pickax. Technically it doesn’t need to be diamond, but the faster you can break blocks during a hectic fight, the better your odds of survival will be. Depending on what type of blocks you want to carry with you, which you should have a full stack of in your inventory, you might also need a shovel if you pick dirt or sand. The pickax would still work on those, but obviously, a shovel rips through those materials much faster. If you roll with a stack of stone, you can leave the shovel at home. It might sound strange now, but take at least two or three buckets of water as well. Trust us, it will make sense later.

Food will be your next priority. Hopefully, you will come across a decent amount of gold as you’re mining for diamonds so you can craft at least a few golden apples. The recipe for these is just one apple surrounded by gold ingots, and they are by far the best food you can bring. Not only do they regenerate your health, but they also give you four extra golden hearts to absorb more damage. If you can’t get many of those, either supplement with regeneration potions or cooked meat.

One optional item you can bring is a carved pumpkin to wear on your head. This is useful to avoid aggravating all the Endermen that will be wandering around The End with the dragon. It will make aiming harder, plus fumbling to swap out helmets can be cumbersome, so use your judgment on deciding if it is worth it for you.

Finding the End Portal

Minecraft Stronghold

This dragon doesn’t live in the normal world, nor does it reside in The Nether with all the other dangerous mobs. He has his own domain called The End, and you will need to find and activate a special End Portal in order to go there. Unlike a Nether Portal, you can’t just gather the materials and create one wherever you like. There are a few steps you need to take in order to find and open up this portal, the first of which is gathering Eyes of Ender.

Eyes of Ender can be created by crafting together two difficult-to-gather items. The first are Blaze Rods, which you will use to make Blaze Powder. Blazes are the fire elemental-looking enemies found only in the Nether, so you’re going to need to make yourself a portal. Once inside, just like the overworld, you’ll be in a random placement. If you’re lucky, you’ll spawn close to a fortress, which is where you can find Blaze spawners. Finding one of these is essential since, as long as you don’t break the spawner, you can fight and kill Blazes over and over until you get as many Blaze Rods as you want. For our purposes, six is the minimum number of rods you will need, but it never hurts to grab a few extra. Just, you know, don’t get yourself killed doing it.

Step two is just as difficult, and that’s hunting Endermen for their Ender Pearls. You’re probably familiar with Endermen already and how tough they can be if you’re not equipped to fight them, but also how elusive they can be. Even if you find one, they have a tendency to teleport away. Find yourself a desert biome and wait until night to hunt them down. Each one has a 50% chance of dropping a pearl, and you will want at least 12 of them, but having more is always a safe bet.

Minecraft Nether Portal

Now, after converting your Blaze Rods into Blaze Powder (one rod equates to two powders), you will have 12 powders and pearls. Craft the two together to make your Eyes of Ender. These have two functions: Finding the portal and opening it. When you use the Eye of Ender from your hand, it will fly up into the air in the direction of the Stronghold holding the portal. Simply let it fly, follow the direction it goes, and collect it again if you can. We say if because they have about a 20% chance of breaking after each use, so we recommend using one and following that direction for a while before using your next one to check if you’ve gone past it or need to adjust course rather than throwing them over and over.

Eventually, they will lead you to the Stronghold, which will be underground, so look for when the eye floats close to the ground to know when it’s time to dig. Mine your way down until you break into the stone structure. Once you find it, take a moment to head back up and set your spawn nearby just in case. You’re about to face off against a dragon, after all.

Strongholds are a little confusing but also have some good loot inside. Resist the urge to just bash your way through the walls looking for the portal room, though, because a lot of bricks hold silverfish waiting to ambush you. Once you find the portal room — and you’ll know it when you see it — check out the ring above the pool of lava. There are 12 slots here that need to be filled with Eyes of Ender (hence why you should’ve made at least 12), but each slot has around a 10% chance of already having an eye in it. If you’re lucky, you might get two or three already there to make up for any bad luck with yours breaking when you used them to find the Stronghold. Once all the slots are filled, the black, starry portal will appear.

This is your point of no return. Once you go through this portal, you cannot leave The End without dying or killing the Ender Dragon, so only jump in when you’re fully prepared physically and mentally.

How to kill the Ender Dragon

Minecraft Ender Dragon

You’ve finally made it to The End. You will spawn on a little platform off from the main island, safe for the moment. Use whatever material you brought to make a bridge over and climb up to the surface. The Ender Dragon will be flying around, and his health bar will appear at the top of your screen. Keep your eyes on him to avoid accidentally looking at the numerous Endermen wandering around the arena.

Before you let loose your arrows, notice the massive obsidian towers around the area. Those have End Crystals sitting on top, some inside of protective cages — you can see shooting beams into the dragon whenever it flies near one. Those beams heal the dragon, so taking out the crystals is priority one. The good news is that these crystals break with a single hit from anything (one arrow or swing of the sword will do it), but they are more explosive than a block of TNT, so keep your distance when breaking them.

A good strategy is to target the nearest tower and either snipe it with an arrow from the ground if it is unprotected or start building up to it to break the cage. Once you deal with that one, quickly scan the others and shoot out any you can while you’re high up, and make a note of which others have cages you will need to climb up to. This is where your buckets of water become valuable. The dragon is obviously not going to leave you alone during all this. He will attempt to knock you off the towers by ramming into you or covering the ground in damaging purple fire. If you do start to fall or are ready to get down in a hurry, swap to your water bucket and drop the water just before hitting the ground to negate any fall damage. It can be tricky, but falling to your death is one of the most common ways to die in this fight.

Once all the crystals are destroyed, the Ender Dragon will add a new behavior to his cycle and periodically “land” on the altar-looking thing made of bedrock in the middle of the island. This is your opportunity to deal big damage with your melee weapon, but watch out for his purple breath attack. Most of the time, he will stick to the air, so now is the time to fire off the rest of those arrows you’ve stockpiled beforehand. Note that arrows can’t hurt the dragon when it lands, only swords or other melee weapons, so if you’re too far away when it happens, don’t bother wasting ammo.

Keep moving, heal up often, and avoid bringing any Endermen into the fight to finally bring down this beast. Once his health drops to zero, the dragon will fly above the center altar and explode into a shower of XP orbs, activate the center portal, and leave an egg where it perched during the fight. Once you hop in the portal, a very strange credits sequence will play out that we won’t spoil, and you will be spit out back in your world.

Can you fight the Ender Dragon again?

Minecraft Respawn The Ender Dragon

Now that you’ve done all the work in gathering materials, preparing weapons, and finding and activating the End Portal, it would be a waste if you had to start an entirely new world just to experience fighting the Ender Dragon for a second time. Thankfully, there is a way you can summon him back for round two, or as many times as you’d like, but it isn’t cheap.

What you’ll need are 28 blocks of glass, four more Eyes of Ender, and four Ghast Tears. Craft these together, and you can make four new End Crystals. Take them back through the End Portal you already found, and place each new crystal on the four sides of the portal that leads back to the overworld. Once all four are set, stand back because they will explode, the portal will deactivate, the original crystals on the towers will respawn, and the Ender Dragon will return to face you once again. Good luck!

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Jesse Lennox
Jesse Lennox loves writing, games, and complaining about not having time to write and play games. He knows the names of more…
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