Minecraft Enchanting

Much like crafting, enchanting is the way in which special bonuses are added to items such as weapons, tools and armor. Just like a Crafting Table is needed to craft an item, an Enchantment Table is used to enchant an item. In addition to an Enchantment Table, you also need the experience level required for the enchantment you want to perform. The player loses experience points each time an enchantment is done, but it allows you to give your armor, weapons and tools one or more bonus attributes such as protection from falling, fire and projectiles, extra weapon damage or even faster mining speed. It also makes the items glow with a slight hue.

Crafting Enchantment Table

Name Ingredients Input >> Output
Enchantment Table Book and Diamond and Obsidian Crafting Enchantment Table

Used to Enchant tools, weapons and armor.
Enchanting Grid

Enchanting Grid – The top picture shows an empty grid. The bottom shows an item placed on the table and the available enchantments. The player does not have enough experience for the last enchantment and the first enchantment is currently selected.

To enchant an item, first craft an Enchantment Table and place it on the ground. Right click the table and place an enchantable item into the square under the book image. Three random enchantments will appear in the menu on the right side. Enchantments that you have enough experience to perform will be displayed in lighter colors, while those that you don’t have enough experience for will be grayed out.

The only information that is displayed about the random enchantments are their levels which are displayed as a number in the bottom right corner of each listing on the right (see picture above). The foreign language/lettering is completely random so there is no way to determine what the spell is. To see a new random set of spells, take the item off the table and then put it back down or replace the current item with a stack of two or more of another enchantable items.

Selecting an enchantment will apply it to the item, giving it one or more of the many attributes described below. As previously mentioned, you will lose a number of experience points equal to the level of the spell you chose. It is important to note that all enchantments are permanent and while an item can receive more than one power during one instance of enchanting (randomly determined), an item can only be enchanted once.

When an item is placed on the table, the randomly generated enchantment levels available to choose from are actually determined using a formula (shown below). The formula depends on the number of bookshelves (up to a maximum of 30) that are near the table and a slot factor which corresponds to the low (0.5), medium (0.66) and high (1.00) level slots that one can choose from. Important Note: Do not place bookshelves right next to the enchantment table as this will cap it off at a maximum enchantment level of 5. You can place up to 30 bookshelves near the table, but none of them should be touching it.

UPDATE: As of 1.3.1, only 15 bookshelves are required to reach the maximum level of 30.

Enchantment Level Forumla
Available level = (1..5 + (B/2) + 0..b) × SF

B is the number of bookshelves near the table and SF is the slot factor for the particular enchantment slot of interest. 1..5 and 0..b represent a random number between 1 and 5 and 0 and b respectively (including the beginning and end numbers). For example, 1..5 can generate one of the following numbers: 1,2,3,4,5. Here are the minimum and maximum levels that can be generated by a certain number of bookshelves:

Bookshelves vs Level

Note: No levels or experience points are required to enchant items in creative mode.

Placing the Bookshelves

Bookshelves increase the enchantment levels available to choose from when using an enchantment table. When placing bookshelves around the table, make sure none of them are touching the table or the enchantment levels available when using it will only go up to a maximum of 5. A Bookshelf must be placed exactly 2 blocks away from an enchantment table and be on the same level or one level above it to be factored into the formula. The space(s) directly between the enchanting table and each bookshelf must be Air (even torches can block the effect of a bookshelf). The spaces that must be air (white space) and those that do not matter (question mark) are illustrated in the following diagrams:

Required Air Spaces Top

From the Top

Required Air Spaces Side

From the Side

To produce the maximum possible enchantment levels, a table can be surrounded by 30 bookshelves arranged in the pattern seen in the picture below. They should be placed in a square around the table, be stacked 2 blocks high and since the maximum is 30, a 2 block high doorway can be left for accessing the table.

Bookshelf Arrangement for Enchantment

Best bookshelf arrangement

Optimal Bookshelf Placement

Optimal Placement – 3D View

If you want to do a lower-level enchantment, an easy way to block the power of a bookshelf is to place a torch on it. A bookshelf with a torch on it will not be recognized by the table. This technique enables you to quickly and easily target a certain range of enchantment levels without having to modify the complete 30 bookshelf arrangement. Be sure to keep the area between the table and bookshelves completely clear. This is important because even objects like snow and water can cancel the effect of the bookshelves.

Enchantment List

The names for the enchantments are randomly generated from the list of words below. Three to five words are randomly selected from this list, put in a random order and then finally shown in the Standard Galactic Alphabet. The selected names or their order have absolutely no meaning and they do not determine the attributes that are added to the enchanted item. The only time they appear in the game is in the interface of an Enchantment Table.

Complete list of possible enchantment words:
towards inside sphere cube self other ball mental physical grow shrink demon elemental spirit animal creature beast humanoid undead fresh stale fire air earth water hot dry cold wet elder ignite snuff embiggen twist shorten stretch fiddle destroy imbue galvanize enchant free limited range of the scrolls klaatu berata niktu xyzzy bless curse light darkness

Important Notes:

  • Repairing an item or tool that has an enchantment on it will remove the enchantment.
  • When an enchanted weapon does bonus damage on a mob, circular particles will fly around the mob (similar to a critical hit).
  • Most enchantments have several levels of potency and each enchantment can give one or more attributes to the item.

Enchantable Items

Axes, pickaxes, shovels, swords and bows as well as every part of a set of armor (helmet, breastplate, leggings and boots) can be enchanted. Flint and steel, hoes, fishing rods and shears cannot be enchanted.

EID – Is the Effect Identification Number for a particular item in the code.

Armor Enchantments

EIDItem(s)NameEffect TypeMax LevelPer-Level BonusNotes
0 Armor Icon Protection Turns all damage from all sources into armor damage (except for The Void and the /kill command) IV Armor that has this enchantment cannot receive any other kind of Protection, except for helmets which can also have the Respiration and Aqua Affinity enchantments.
1 Armor Icon Fire Protection Protection against fire IV Armor that has this enchantment cannot receive any other kind of Protection, except for boots which can also have the Feather Falling enchantment.
2 Boots Icon Feather Falling Less fall damage IV +1 reduction of falling damage (equals half a heart) Can help prevent fall damage from Ender Pearl teleportations.
3 Armor Icon Blast Protection Protection against explosions IV Armor that has this enchantment cannot receive any other kind of Protection, except for boots which can also have the Feather Falling enchantment.
4 Armor Icon Projectile Protection Protection against projectiles such as arrows. IV Armor that has this enchantment cannot receive any other kind of Protection, except for boots which can also have the Feather Falling enchantment.
5 Helmet Icon Respiration Slows down air consumption while underwater. Increases time between damage when out of air while underwater. III Underwater breathing time increased by +15 seconds. Time between suffocation damage +1 second.
6 Helmet Icon Aqua Affinity Increases mining rate while underwater. I

Tool Enchantments

EIDItem(s)NameEffect TypeMax LevelPer-Level BonusNotes
32 Tools Icon Efficiency Faster mining rate. V +50% mining speed Level V (5) gives a 250% speed increase. The increase applies when mining blocks using the appropriate tool and for blocks that can be gathered by hand.
33 Tools Icon Silk Touch Blocks drop that exact resource (mining stone drops stone, not cobblestone). I Can collect blocks that are otherwise unobtainable such as grass, Mycelium and Huge Mushrooms. All tool requirements still apply (an iron or better pickaxe is needed to mine diamond, etc.)
34 Tools Icon Unbreaking Each time a block is mined, there is a chance that the tool’s durability will increase. III The tool lasts an additional full durability bar longer than a regular tool. The chance for an unbreaking level 3 (III) tool to decrease 1 durability point is (100/(3+1))% = (100/4)% = 25%. Therefore, level 3 tools will last an average of 4 times longer than a regular tool.
35 Tools Icon Fortune Chance to multiply the number of resources dropped from a mined block. III I: 30% * 2 (30% more),
II: 25% * 2, 25% * 3 (75% more)
III: 20% * 2, 20% * 3, 20% * 4 (120% more)
Applies only to item drops (diamond, redstone, coal, etc.). Increases the drop rate of seeds for wheat and tall grass. Increases drop rate of apples from trees. Does not affect drop rate of clay balls.

Sword Enchantments

EIDItem(s)NameEffect TypeMax LevelPer-Level BonusNotes
16 Sword Icon Sharpness Extra damage V Up to 1.5 hearts worth of extra damage per level. The extra damage dealt is random for every hit, but the minimum is 0.5 heart extra damage. A sword with Sharpness cannot have Smite or Bane of Arthropods.
17 Sword Icon Smite Extra damage to undead (zombies, enderman, skeletons, etc.) V Up to 2 hearts worth of extra damage per level. The extra damage dealt is random for every hit, but the minimum is 0.5 heart extra damage. A sword with Smite cannot have Sharpness or Bane of Arthropods.
18 Sword Icon Bane of Anthropods Extra damage to silverfish, cave spiders and spiders. V Up to 2 hearts worth of extra damage per level. The extra damage dealt is random for every hit, but the minimum is 0.5 heart extra damage. A sword with Bane of Anthropods cannot have Sharpness or Spite.
19 Sword Icon Knockback Increases the distance that players and mobs are thrown back when they are hit. II Further knockback Does not add to the knockback created by attacking while sprinting.
20 Sword Icon Fire Aspect Lights target on fire II Increases duration of burning. The meat gathered from the mob killed by the fire damage will be cooked.
21 Sword Icon Looting Chance that mob will drop more loot. III +1 to max loot drop The meat gathered from the mob killed by the fire damage will be cooked.

Bow Enchantments

EIDItem(s)NameEffect TypeMax LevelPer-Level BonusNotes
48 Bow Icon Power Extra damage V Increased damage dealt per hit. Level 1 multiplies the damage dealt by a normal bow by 1.5. Each additional level adds 0.25 to the multiplier up to a maximum of 2.5. Level 5 will kill most mobs in one shot.
49 Bow Icon Punch Additional knockback II More knockback
50 Bow Icon Flame Arrows and mobs are set on fire. I Mobs are set on fire when hit. Arrows are set on fire when they leave the bow.
51 Bow Icon Infinity Unlimited shots with one arrow. I Helpful when fighting the Ender Dragon in The End. Arrows shot cannot be retrieved.

How Enchantments are Randomly Generated

The algorithm used is a three step process. The green numbers shown on the three randomly generated enchantments available to choose from on the interface of an Enchantment Table are the costs of the spells in terms of “enchantment levels” or experience levels. “Enchantment power” describes the strength of a particular enchantment. For example, Unbreaking II has a power of 2. Here is how Minecraft determines the enchantments you can choose from when using an Enchantment Table:

Step 1 – Add Modifiers to Enchantment Level
First of all, the algorithm adds two modifiers to the default enchantment level. Both modifiers are restricted to a particular range of numbers, with the ones in the middle of the range being more common than those near the limits. One modifier is the enchantability of the item based on the type of item and the material it is made from. The code randomly generates a number between 0 and the enchantability (based on the table below) and adds that to the enchantment number and adds 1 to that total. Bows have an enchantability of 1. Values for the random number that are near half the enchantability are significantly more likely than the values near the limits (0 and the enchantment level).

Item Type and Material Enchantability

Enchantment Conflicts

Many enchantments conflict with each other, which means that only one of them can be enchanted on an item at a time. This reduces/removes the possibility of creating overpowered weapons. Here are the conflict rules:

  • All the protection enchantments conflict with each other. An item can only have one of them at a time.
  • All damage enchantments conflict with each other (Bane of Arthropods, Smite and Sharpness).
  • Every enchantment conflicts with itself (you can’t enchant an item with one type of enchantment more than once).
  • Fortune and silk touch conflict because silk touch can only mine ore blocks and not the actual resources such as coal or diamonds.

See Also

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