Minecraft enchantments increase the ability of items by giving them special powers such as more uses, more damage, and knockback to enemies.

Enchantment Methods

There are 4 different ways to add an enchantment to an item in Minecraft:

  • Using an Enchantment Table to receive a random enchantment for the cost of experience levels (which are viewed above the item hotbar)
  • Using an Anvil to combine an enchanted item with another of its kind
  • Using an Anvil to combine a weapon, tool, or piece of armor with an enchanted book
  • Trading emeralds with a priest villager for enchanted gear

Enchantment Tables

First, an enchantment table must be crafted. This requires 4 obsidian blocks, 2 diamonds, and 1 book. A GUI is then displayed with one slot for an item, and 3 bars on the side of the GUI box for enchantment level selection. When an item is placed in the slot for enchantment, three random level options are displayed to the right of the item in the “3 bars” area. They also include “names” for each level, which are written using symbols that aren’t important to the enchantment and were added by Mojang for decoration. The amount of levels is based upon the layout of Bookshelf blocks around it, which will be detailed in the next section. The enchantment received when clicking on one of the three level options is randomly selected, however a higher level enchant generally yields a greater reward. If a book is placed in the GUI slot and then enchanted, it will yield an “enchanted book,” which follows the same mechanics aside from only being able to receive one enchantment instead of the possible 3 enchants on any other type of enchantable item.

Enchantment Mechanics

Whenever an item is placed into an enchanting table to be given an enchantment, the level prices given are generated using the algorithm below.

Base Enchantment Level Cost Available = (1..8 + floor(b/2) + 0..b)

“b” is the number of nearby bookshelves (1 block away from the enchantment table in any direction, with no blocks in between), which is capped at 15. “x..y” generates a uniformly distributed random integer between x and y, inclusive. The numbers are then modified using this algorithm:

Top slot enchantment level = max (base / 3, 1)
Middle slot enchantment level = (base × 2) / 3 + 1
Bottom slot enchantment level = max (base, b × 2)

If a user is in creative mode, experience levels are not taking/required to enchant items. After the slot is chosen, two modifiers are applied to the base enchantment level. The first modifier is based on the item's “enchantability.” For this step, bows and books have an enchantability of 1. The number, if it has a decimal, is always rounded down after each step. The following algorithm decides the enchantability modifier:

modified enchantment level = enchantment level + Random(0, enchantability / 4 * 2) + 1

Next, a random amount is generated between 0.85 and 1.15. The modified enchantment level from before is multiplied by this value (increasing or decreasing the level by up to 15%) and then rounded down to the nearest integer. Next, the game makes a list of all enchantment types that can be applied to the soon-to-be-enchanted item, along with the degree of enchantment that each enchantment will have. Finally, the second modifier is generated and then applied. One enchantment is always guaranteed, which is picked with the following algorithm:

P(enchantment) = (enchantment weight) / ( ∑i=1number of possible enchantments〖enchantment weighti 〗)

After the first enchantment is generated, the chance for another enchantment on the same item is generated using this method, which only works for non-book items:

#Divide the modified level in half, rounded down. (This does not affect the possible enchantments themselves, because they were all pre-calculated in Step Two.)
#With probability (modified level + 1) / 50, keep going. Otherwise, stop picking bonus enchantments.
#Remove from the list of possible enchantments anything that conflicts with previously-chosen enchantments.
#Pick one enchantment from the remaining possible enchantments (based on the weights, as before) and apply it to the item.

Using Anvils

Anvils can be used to combine enchantments by taking two items and sacrificing one while adding its current enchantments to the other (and adding all durability left on the first item to the second one.) Items to be combined must be of the same type, so an iron pickaxe cannot be combined with a diamond one. The item to be repaired or for the enchantment to be added to must be place in the Anvil GUI’s first slot, with the item to be sacrificed being placed in the second. The item can also be renamed, at an additional cost. Also, there is an accumulating charge for prior work done on the anvil, which is limited by renaming the item. In survival mode, there is a limit of 40 levels for any anvil work—if a job costs more, it will be refused and the cost will show “Too Expensive!”

Using Books

A book can be placed into the item slot to be given a random enchantment by the same method as any regular item. However, books can only receive one enchantment. Books can be combined with an anvil, allowing multiple enchantments on a single book. Enchanted books can also give enchantments to items that could not be obtained from an enchantment table (e.g., An Unbreaking III Sword, Silk Touch Shears, Looting III Fishing Rod). In creative mode, books can be used to enchant any item.

Villagers and Enchanting

A villager priest has a small change to trade enchanting for emeralds. To enchant an item, the player places it, along with the requested emeralds, in the priest GUI’s trading slots and then receives the resulting enchanted item.

“God Tools”

God Tools are tools, items, or armor with the “perfect enchantment,” which is defined by the player. An example of a “God Sword” would be “Unbreaking III Looting III Sharpness V” for one player and “Unbreaking III Sharpness V Fire Aspect II Smite V.” These tools usually require an anvil to combine many enchantments to their highest level, and then combine them onto a sword.


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