I was reading the Minecraft Wiki about the enchantment "Bane of Arthropods" and the enchantment applies a slowness effect to spiders. But at the bottom of the enchantment there is a note that says:

Notably, the slowness effect applies not only to kills with the sword, but to any "arthropod" kills while holding the sword.

So what does that mean? Does it mean as long as a sword with that enchantment is in my inventory and/or my hotbar it applies the effect to Arthropods, or am I misunderstanding this?

  • 1
    I think it's kind of like the looting thing; as long as the sword is in your hand when they're hit, it applies the effect. Practically speaking, this means you have to hit them with the sword. But if you shoot an arrow at a spider, then quickly switch to the sword, it might apply the effect. Not certain about that though.
    – Unionhawk
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 16:32
  • I agree with Unionhawk, it's more of an implementation detail. Rather than the game saying "player hit spider -> was spider killed by sword? -> does sword have BoA?" It says "player hit spider -> was player holding sword? -> is sword enchanted?" It's a subtle difference that probably rarely affects things. I suppose if you could build a trap or other automated thing that the game somehow read as you causing the damage yourself, it'd apply the effect if you held the sword. I don't know enough about how it decides who did the damage to give a solid answer on that though. Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 19:39

2 Answers 2


Holding the sword literally means holding it - having it on your hotbar and selected (should appear in hand). How minecraft applies enchantments is when a player deals damage, it will check the player's selected slot for a enchanted item. if the item is enchanted, then the appropriate enchantment is applied. This works with any enchantment so a good trick is to throw an damage potion and then before the potion lands, switch to a looting sword and the looting will apply.

  • I had the idea to try this with a mob grinder's output. The thing was clogged for half an hour and the server almost crashed, but so much loot !
    – Quentin
    Commented Sep 25, 2014 at 7:14

The enchantment only applies if you are holding the sword, not just in your hotbar, it must be in your hand when the kill happens.

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