Meet the Wither

Get inside the heads of this boss beast

A chilling sound rings out across the world and all its dimensions. The sky darkens. Somewhere, someone has done something either very brave or very foolish: they’ve summoned a Wither.

This undead triple-headed creature will then immediately attempt to destroy every living thing in the vicinity, spitting out skulls from each of its three heads and inflicting a creeping corruption on their target which turns a player’s hearts an unhealthy black. In its fury, the Wither will destroy blocks it comes into contact with - even if you survive the battle, there’s often precious little left standing nearby.

Sound like a good time? Here’s how to build one! Note: you have to stack these things together in the world, and not while using a crafting table. I’m just using the crafting table image below to make it super-clear how things fit together!

You’ll need: 4 x soul sand, 3 x wither skeleton skulls

But why would anyone do such a thing? What madness could possess them? Or what greed: summoning a Wither is, of course, the only way to kill one, and in so doing gain a Nether Star. And you’ll be needing a Nether Star if you want to craft a beacon - a mysterious light-beam-emitting block that grants special powers to those nearby. Plus, they look pretty bling, so why wouldn’t you risk life and limb battling one of Minecraft’s most deadly creatures just to obtain one?

It all started with the beacons - we needed a way of obtaining them. I wanted it to be some kind of boss fight and I was inspired by Terraria: in that game you always initiate the boss fights yourself. So, I already knew it should be some sort of summoning, and occult, too, relating to the undead of Minecraft. The name itself comes from a poison spell in an online roleplaying game I made before joining the Minecraft team, called Whispers in Akarra. Working on that game is how I met Daniel and Pontus [the awesome Oxeye Game Studio guys who made Cobalt]! I picked several inspirations from Whispers in Akarra actually - the Blaze is another! Jens Bergensten

Jens also added a painting to the game which hints out how to construct the Wither, but, as usual, Minecraft’s supersleuths quickly figured it out by looking at the code. So much for keeping such dark and dangerous rituals a closely-guarded secret!