They are one of the most famous enemies you can encounter in Minecraft. Their gray looks and their sharp arrows are definitely something memorable. However, as you progress in Minecraft and the normal skeletons you meet on your Minecraft server become easily handable, you meet more and more dangerous variants of the boney mob. In this article, we explain each and every variant of the Minecraft skeleton there is, where you meet them and how you can defend yourself against them, be it with a sword, trident, bow and arrow or something different.
Overview Minecraft Skeleton:
- basic, undead mob
- low health, low damage
- often comes with a bow
- has a lot of varieties
The Basic Minecraft Skeleton: The Humble Sniper
The normal skeleton is one of the earliest enemy mobs you can encounter in Minecraft. with only 10 hearts of health, the MC skeleton is easy to kill, but is especially dangerous in ranged combat. Their arrows do 1 to 2 hearts of damage, at least in easy mode, depending on how close you are to them. In melee, they only do 1 heart of damage, so they are not as dangerous. Still, they are a force to be reckoned with, especially when there are other mobs to keep you busy in close combat.
Skeletons usually spawn in groups of up to 4, provided the light level is 0 and they have a solid block to stand on. Their arrows and the durability of their bows are both infinite and they can even spawn with pieces of armor. But they also have a few weaknesses. A sunlight level of 11 or lower results in a spontaneous combustion, slowly killing the MC skeleton. Stray arrows that hit other mobs also cause these mobs to attack the skeleton, so clever positioning can make others kill the Minecraft skeleton for you.
With their drops, basic Minecraft skeletons don’t have that much to offer. In detail it’s the following:
- some XP
- their equipment
But if you see them, you should definitely hit them nonetheless. Having a few pieces of enchanted armor never hurts.
Tip: All skeleton variants are undead mobs, so they burn in sunlight and are vulnerable to healing effects, which turn into damage for them. The only exception to the first rule are wither skeletons, as they technically burn but are immune to fire damage, making the effect useless.
The Minecraft Skeleton Spawner
Spawners, which you can find in mineshafts, mansions and strongholds for example, can sometimes be a Minecraft skeleton spawner. Since you can’t change what type of monster the spawner produces, you should destroy the spawner before the skeletons overrun you. Alternatively, you can keep the spawner around and use it to farm for skeletons, in case you need bones or their equipment.
The Stray: The Frozen Hunter
If a skeleton wanders into powder snow and remains there for 7 seconds, it starts to turn into a stray. While strays also spawn naturally in snowy plains and other cold biomes, the turning of a skeleton is quite cinematic. Similar to their regular cousins, strays specialize in ranged combat, firing tipped arrows that give you the slowness effect on hit. While they are also not very healthy, having the same amount as the regular skeletons, the slowness effect can make any encounter quite the threat. Running around is usually a good tactic to avoid the skeleton’s arrows but once you’re slowed down, that advantage is gone.
Tip: Strays regularly drop tipped arrows and are not immune to the effect of slowness. So, if you find yourself surrounded, picking up a few arrows and shooting them back at the attackers might just do the trick.
Wither Skeletons: The Unknown Horror
For this black skeleton, Minecraft is a world filled with hostility. Not only are they hunted because they give you coal, something no other mob gives you on a regular basis. They are also the only reliable source of wither skeleton skulls, which are needed to summon the wither, their boss-variant. In Minecraft, wither skeletons spawn exclusively in the Nether, and replace basic skeletons there. They spawn in nether fortresses and require a light level of 0 to 7.
Just as strays had slowness imbued arrows, wither skeletons inflict the wither effect on hit. While they boast swords instead of arrows, the effect makes up for it, essentially poisoning you. Unlike regular poison, however, the wither effect turns your health bar black, masking how much life you have left. Also, while regular poison stops hurting you at half heart, wither can reduce your life to zero and kill you. Since you get the wither effect with every successful wither skeleton attack, it can easily overpower and kill you.
Tip:If you want to damage your enemies, the wither effect also hurts undead mobs (except the wither itself and wither skeletons). While the effect is a lot like poison, it does less damage, so you don’t have to worry about dying every time you get it. Also, if you want to get rid of it, simply drinking some milk will remove it.
Summoning the Wither
As you might have guessed due to the naming convention, wither skeletons have something to do with the wither, one of the two boss mobs in Minecraft other than the ender dragon. Beating the wither is one of the most prestigious things you can do in Minecraft, but to get your chance, you need to kill a few wither skeletons first. Not only do they help you train dealing with the wither effect, they can also drop wither skeleton skulls.
By putting three of those in a row in front of T-shaped blocks of soul sand and/or soul soil, you can summon the wither boss in Minecraft. Our blog article shows exactly how to defeat this boss.
Sometimes, if a spider spawns, it can be ridden by a Minecraft skeleton. This union is called a spider jockey and they combine the two strongest aspects of both. Spider jockeys are made of either a cave spider or a regular spider as well as a wither skeleton, stray or regular skeleton. The latter two keep their bows, so watch out for the stray’s slowness effect. The spiders also give these skeletons high mobility, making them enemies you should meet with caution. However, since the game treats them as separate entities, they have the regular amount of health of both spiders and Minecraft skeletons. So, technically they are not more dangerous than just a spider and a skeleton together.
Similar to the spider jockey, skeletons can also ride skeleton horses. These boney steeds spawn in thunderstorms if lightning strikes the ground. Keep in mind that only natural lightning strikes can cause a skeleton horse to appear. If you cause lightning strikes by the trident enchantment “Channeling” or a lightning rod, no skeleton horse will spawn.
If you come too close to the horse, the famed Minecraft skeleton jockey will appear, in tandem with 3 of its friends. These undead horsemen wear enchanted gear, both their armor and their weapons come with an enchantment. If you manage to kill them, however, the skeleton horse they leave behind is completely tame and you can ride your new friend into the sunset.
Tip: Like all undead mobs, skeleton horses take damage from healing effects and are healed by damaging effects. So, if you want to throw a potion of harm at the enemy, you don’t have to worry about your steed. Additionally, skeleton horses can breathe underwater, so crossing a river becomes a lot easier.
Conclusion: Minecraft Skeleton
The skeleton is not only one of the first mobs players encounter, it is also one that keeps reappearing even in the late game in the form of the wither. The simple concept of a weak but fast archer laid the foundation for a lot of different enemies that made the Minecraft world all the more richer. If you want to meet all the different skeleton types and want to test out your abilities in the fight against the wither, a Minecraft server from G-Portal is the solution for you!