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How does the Piercing enchantment work in Minecraft?

Thanks to the Piercing enchantment, one arrow can strike through many targets (Image via Mojang)
Thanks to the Piercing enchantment, one arrow can strike through many targets (Image via Mojang)
Spencer Whitworth
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Minecraft has tons of enchantments, but Piercing can make a player's stock of arrows even more economical.

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The Piercing enchantment can only currently be applied to crossbows in vanilla Minecraft. Still, the enchantment benefits the weapon considerably, giving arrows the ability to pierce through entities and hit additional ones behind them. This effect applies not only to mobs but also to shields that are attempting to block an arrow. The number of entities a fired arrow can pass-through depends on the weapon's enchantment level (the entities permitted to pierce are equal to the enchantment level +1). The arrows fired can even be reclaimed after they have pierced multiple targets.


Minecraft: More info on the Piercing enchantment

Though Piercing can only be placed on crossbows, it still allows for conservation of ammo which is a huge help (Image via Mojang)
Though Piercing can only be placed on crossbows, it still allows for conservation of ammo which is a huge help (Image via Mojang)

Announced at Minecon 2018 and introduced into Minecraft during the game's 1.14 "Village & Pillage" update, Piercing as an enchantment has spent a few years within the game's growing collection. It is also featured in Minecraft: Bedrock Edition and was included in the same Village & Pillage update released in version 1.8.0 of the Bedrock platform.

There are three total advancements that players can earn by enchanting and using a crossbow with Piercing, including:

  • Enchanter - Enchant an item at an enchanting table.
  • Two Birds, One Arrow - Kill two phantoms with a Piercing arrow.
  • Arbalistic - Kill five unique mobs with one crossbow shot.

Crossbows themselves have only been available since the Village & Pillage update and are capable of being enchanted with a multitude of other effects. However, Piercing and Multishot specifically are not compatible outside console commands, wherein the crossbow will operate normally and fire arrows that both pierce and fire in a spread of three projectiles at once. Otherwise, the two are mutually exclusive in vanilla Minecraft and cannot be added to the same crossbow.

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In all, crossbows are capable of possessing three total unique enchantments. Quick Charge, Multishot, and Piercing stand as enchantments unique specifically to crossbows and do not apply to other weapons are tools without the assistance of mods or outside alterations. On a final note, even though crossbows can be loaded with rocket fireworks, Piercing does not affect these projectiles when fired, and they will not operate in the same way in flight as arrows do.


Edited by Yasho Amonkar
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