Everything about the Thorns enchantment in Minecraft

Who said that armors can only protect you? The Thorns enchantment can turn every piece of armor into a deadly weapon against your aggressors. Today we are here to see how the Thorns enchantment works, what you can enchant with it, how to obtain it and if you should use it or not. Let’s start!

thorns minecraft

What the Thorns enchantment does

When a player or a mob attacks you while you are wearing a Thorns enchanted piece of armor, there will be a chance that they will take some damage back from that piece of armor. The attacker will receive damage whether they are attacking you with a physical attack or a projectile, like an Arrow for example. The attacker will also receive a knockback (related: How to enchant a Stick with Knockback).

Thorns goes from level 1 to level 3. The chances to inflict any damage is 15% x L, where L is the enchantment level. This means that Thorns I will have a 15% chance of dealing damage, while Thorns III will have a 45% chance of dealing damage.

The damage inflicted by a Thorns enchanted piece of armor will go from 1 to 4 (i.e. from half heart to 2 hearts). The 4 possible damage outputs (1, 2, 3 and 4 damage) each have a 25% of occurring.

If you are wearing more than one piece of armor enchanted with Thorns, the chances to inflict damage will stack addictively. The maximum damage inflicted for each attack received will always be 4 though.

Knowing the probabilities that dominate the damage outputs, it is possible to calculate the average damage inflicted to each attacker while wearing 1, 2, 3 or 4 Thorns III enchanted pieces of armor:

  • 1 item with Thorns: 1.125 damage
  • 2 items with Thorns: 1.997 damage
  • 3 items with Thorns: 2.637 damage
  • 4 items with Thorns: 3.09 damage

What it can enchant

You can apply the Thorns enchantment to every piece of armor:

How to get it

We already covered how to get every enchantments in the article How to get Silk Touch easily. The methods explained in that article will work for Thorns as well.

If instead you want to get this enchantment using cheats, you just need to check below.

How to get it – commands

You can enchant a piece of armor with the Thorns enchantment using cheats. To do so, keep that piece of armor in your hand, open the commands and type:

/enchant @p thorns 3

If you want to enchant it with Thorns I or Thorns II, you just need to change the ‘3’ with ‘1’ or ‘2’.

Should you use it?

It is important to note that every time that a piece of armor inflicts Thorns damage, that piece of armor will lose 3 durability instead of 1 (but only when the durability is lost, which doesn’t always happen: to see how durability works, you can check the Everything about the Unbreaking enchantment in Minecraft).

This durability penalty will drastically reduce the life of your armor. That’s why some players prefer to not apply the Thorns enchantment to their armors. Remember that you can always compensate this negative effect by enchanting your armor with Unbreaking and Mending.


The Thorns enchantment will deal damage to players and mobs that attack you. This damage will cost you some durability, making your enchanted armor last less, but if you also apply Unbreaking and Mending it could be worth it. Thank you very much for reading the article this far and I hope I’ll see you again around here. See you and take care!

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