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Since its introduction to Minecraft, the crossbow has become a staple for any player looking to slaughter mobs like a boss.
With high damage and some great enchantments, a crossbow is a must for any aspiring Minecraft player.
Keep reading to see how to make and use the crossbow and all the best enchantments you can put on it.
Acquiring a Crossbow
When getting your hands on a crossbow, there are three different ways to acquire it: crafting, mob & chest loot, and trading.
The first way to get a crossbow is by simply crafting one yourself. Because the recipe is more complicated than a bow, it is difficult to make in the early game.
You need three sticks, two strings, one iron ingot, and one tripwire hook to make the crossbow.
See the image below for the crafting recipe.
You might also like this guide to the Efficiency enchantment in Minecraft.
Mob & Chest Loot
In Minecraft, both Pillagers and Piglings (crossbow-wielding) have an 8.5% chance of dropping their crossbow. The drop chance can be improved by 1% per Looting level up to 11.5% with Looting III.
You can also find them in chests in some naturally occurring structures. The structures and the chances of them having a crossbow are:
- Crossbow: 9.8% (Bastion Remnant); 50% (Pillager Outpost)
- Damaged Enchanted Crossbow: 11.2% (Bastion Remnant Bridge Chest); 6.7% (Bastion Remnant Generic Chest)
The final way to get a crossbow is by trading with a Journeyman-level Fletcher Villager. They will sell you an unenchanted crossbow for three emeralds.
Once you get the Fletcher up to Master level, there is a 66.7% of selling an enchanted crossbow for 7-22 emeralds.
Read more about Fletchers and the fletching table in this guide.
How to Use the Crossbow
A Crossbow is a long-range weapon like the bow, but the similarities end here.
Check out this guide to spectral arrows for the regular bow here.
Firstly, the reload time of crossbow bolts is much longer to load than bow arrows, but once loaded, the arrow remains loaded until you fire.
It is a great way to always have a bolt ready if you are surprised by something.
The second difference between bows and crossbows is crossbows can shoot fireworks rockets.
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To load a crossbow with firework rockets, the fireworks must be in your offhand slot and will remain in the crossbow until fired.
If the firework rocket does not have an explosion effect, then it will deal no damage when shot at something.
But when you combine the fireworks with the multishot enchantment (see below), you can create a really deadly combo that’s great for crowd control of angry mobs.
Just make sure you fire it from a safe distance, or you’ll take some serious area damage yourself.
Crossbows shoot regular, tipped, and spectral arrows alongside firework rockets like regular bows.
But the crossbow comes with some unique enchantments of its own. Let’s have a look at the different enchantments:
Complete List of Minecraft Crossbow Enchantments
Now that you have your crossbow and plenty of projectiles to fire from, it is time to enchant it to kingdom come.
If you have not already set up your enchanting room, you will need the enchanting table, 15 bookshelves, and plenty of lapis lazuli.
1. Multishot Enchantment
Maximum Level: I
The multishot enchantment is an amazing enchantment. As the name suggests, Multishot allows the crossbow to fire three projectiles using only a single shot.
However, it will use up 3 durability points for arrows and 9 durability points if firing firework rockets.
Since it only fires one projectile, you can only pick up one arrow when using this enchantment.
The arrows shot from a crossbow with this enchantment are spread out in a horizontal fan shape and are perfect for hitting mobs in a group.
TIP: You can make it even more deadly by using the Fire Charge (Gunpowder + Blaze Powder + Coal) to create the Large Ball Firework Star (Fire Charge + Gun Powder + Dye). Then take 7 Firework Stars + Gunpowder + a piece of paper to create the deadliest rocket possible.
This combination will give you three huge explosions with the highest level of damage possible.
You can not have Multishot on a crossbow if it already has Piercing, as they are mutually exclusive.
2. Quick Charge Enchantment
Maximum Level: III
If you have ever tired of waiting for your crossbow to load, you are in luck.
Introducing, Quick Charge, the enchantment that cuts down the amount of time it takes to load a crossbow.
The total reload time of your crossbow is reduced by (Level * 0.25) seconds, with a Quick Charge III enchanted crossbow shooting slightly faster than a regular bow.
You can also use commands to give a crossbow Quick Charge V, making it reload instantly, but Quick Charge VI will make it impossible to reload.
TIP: The Quick Charge is a great enchantment for rapid fire, but you still need to reload, which of course, takes time.
But if you make several enchantment crossbows (fx with multishot and fireworks), you can fill your Hotbar with them, and simply fire one, switch to the next, fire that one, etc.
It’s expensive, but you can deal some serious damage this way.
3. Unbreaking Enchantment
Maximum Level: III
Unbreaking gives a chance that when a projectile is fired from the crossbow, it will not consume any durability.
The formula (Level / (Level + 1)) determines the chance percentage.
4. Mending Enchantment
Maximum Level: I
By far one of Minecraft’s most useful enchantments, Mending allows your tools to auto-repair themselves by consuming XP orbs.
You cannot get this enchantment through the Enchantment Table, though. The only way to get your hands on it is by trading with a Librarian.
While a Librarian of any level can trade it, you have the highest chance of getting it from a Master level Librarian.
5. Piercing Enchantment
Maximum Level: IV
Piercing is a crossbow and bow enchantment that allows an arrow to go through multiple entities.
The number of entities the arrow can pass through is [enchantment level + 1], and arrows shot with this enchantment can be picked up again.
You cannot have Piercing on a crossbow with Multishot as they are mutually exclusive.
6. Curse of Vanishing Enchantment
Max Level: I
Curse of Vanishing is a curse, meaning you do not want to put this on your crossbow intentionally.
What it does is cause your crossbow to despawn if you ever die and drop it.
However, you can override this if the game rule KeepInventory is set to true.
Minecraft crossbows are already pretty impressive but can become deadly carnage weapons when enchanting them.
Enchant your crossbow with Multishot and fireworks and combine it with Quick Charge to reduce reload speed, and you can easily keep multiple mobs away with a single arrow of crossbow fire.
The FAQ below shows a combination of the best crossbow enchantments that make a great build.
If you found this article helpful, check out how to put Frost Walker on your boots to turn water into ice. Until next time, happy gaming!
How to Repair a Crossbow
If you want to repair your favorite crossbow, combine it with a second crossbow in an anvil or grindstone.
You can also technically do this in a crafting table, but that will remove any enchantments on either crossbow.
The Best Minecraft Crossbow Enchantments combo
If you want to min-max your crossbow, then here is the best enchanted crossbow build that you can make in Minecraft.
- Unbreaking III
- Quick Charge III
You can replace Multishot with piercing, but you will typically get more use from a Multishot crossbow.
Can I Use Crossbows for Fuel?
Yes, crossbows can be used as fuel in a furnace, smoker, or blast furnace. A crossbow can burn 1.5 items, making it a poor fuel choice.
Can I use the Infinity Enchantment on a Crossbow?
No, the infinity enchantment can only be used for the regular bow.
Can I use the Flame Enchantment on a Crossbow?
No, the closest you can get to fire arrows is using crossbow bolts in combination with fireworks.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jan has played video games since the early 1980s. He loves getting immersed in video games as a way to take his mind off stuff when the outside world gets too scary. A lifelong gamer, the big interest led to a job as a lecturer on game sound at the University of Copenhagen and several written articles on video games for magazines.