Minecraft Dungeons guide: How to beat the Skeleton Horsemen

Minecraft Dungeons Boss Skeleton Horsemen
Minecraft Dungeons Boss Skeleton Horsemen (Image credit: Windows Central)

In Mojang Studios' franchise-expanding ARPG Minecraft Dungeons, there are a total of eight bosses. Four of these bosses are weaker "mini-bosses" that may appear in a multitude of places throughout, and the other four are stronger "main bosses" that only show up at pre-determined locations. In this Minecraft Dungeons guide series, we'll go over each and every boss, their strategies and attack patterns, how to fight them, and ultimately the best ways to come out on top in every battle, even on Apocalypse Difficulty.

The skeleton horsemen are the least common of all the mini-bosses, and frankly the most boring of all of them as well. Here's everything you need to know about them, and how to beat them on any difficulty.

What are the skeleton horsemen in Minecraft Dungeons?

Minecraft Dungeons Boss Skeleton Horsemen

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

As of now, there are four mini-bosses in Minecraft Dungeons. Three of them show up regularly, and each have their own strengths and weaknesses, and their own personalities. They all deserved a full guide, in some way shape or form. I can't say the same of the skeleton horsemen. As cool as these super unique mobs are in vanilla Minecraft (if only because they're incredibly rare), their elusiveness does not equate to a challenging battle in this third-person loot-them-up.

Skeleton horsemen make a big fuss when they appear in a flash, surrounding the players, using their bows to deal ranged damage as they run around. However, they're let down because individually skeleton horsemen are extremely squishy, and it's far too easy to pick them off one at a time, ending the battle in a matter of seconds. While it's understandable that each of up to four parts can't be super strong, it's still a let down.

If that's all the info you need, you're free to go. Otherwise, read on for a little bit more info on how skeleton horsemen attack, and how to deal with them.

How can I beat the skeleton horsemen in Minecraft Dungeons?

Minecraft Dungeons Boss Skeleton Horsemen

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The skeleton horsemen will ambush you with two to four mounted skeleton archers, and they'll run circles around you and attempt to take you down with ranged attacks. Their ranged attacks actually deal a fair bit of damage, so slow moving players may struggle a bit more here, but it's easy to pin down skeleton horsemen and take them down quickly, minimizing the risk they pose.

Melee-focused players

Minecraft Dungeons Build Melee Generic

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

If you use melee weapons primarily, your strategy is simple: run at the skeleton horsemen and wail on them. Artifacts that increase speed (especially the Death Cap Mushroom) can help you track them down, as skeleton horsemen don't like to stop moving. Once you've got one, however, it's usually the end for it, since they're not effective at escaping from close quarters. Once once is dead, move on to the next one. It'll be over in no time.

Range-focused players

Minecraft Dungeons Build Range Generic

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Ranged players can pretty much stand in one place and pick off the skeleton horsemen. Artifacts that increase damage temporarily, like the Flaming Quiver, are a good option here, since skeleton horsemen can do some damage to an unmoving and squishy target. Keep an eye on your health here, and use your health potion sparingly. If you need to move quickly, artifacts like Light Feather let you maneuver to a better position.

Souls-focused players

Minecraft Dungeons Build Souls Generic

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Since skeleton horsemen are almost always moving, it can be annoying to hit them with a souls-focused artifact like the Corrupted Beacon without inadvertently wasting your souls, so it's probably better to resort to your primary weapons, and more straightforward abilities like the Harvester, which is a simple "everything in the area explodes" attack that can rip apart skeleton horsemen. Once again, it won't take long.

Companion-focused players

Minecraft Dungeons Build Companions Generic

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Normally players that use companions would have some caveats attached to their playstyle preferences, but in the case of skeleton horsemen it doesn't make much of a difference. In fact, being able to engage multiple targets at once can be an advantage for companion-focused players, so you might find that once you've finished off one skeleton horseman the others are already falling. Just make sure to join the frey, and keep an eye out on your health.

What are some tips for every boss fight in Minecraft Dungeons?

Minecraft Dungeons Landscape Obsidian Pinnacle

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Every boss is different, and every player approaches these bosses in a unique way. However, there are always tips and tricks that work in any fight in Minecraft Dungeons, regardless of how you play. Here's a list of all the essential tips for every boss fight, which should aid you in winning even on Apocalypse Difficulty.

  • Choose your playstyle, and build your loadout around that. Minecraft Dungeons gives you a constant revolving door of new loot to try out, meaning you should be able to narrow down the direction you want to go in. Different gear compliments each other (like dual-wielding weapons with fast armor, or a bow with armor that increases arrow drops), so you can customize a perfect set for how you want to play. To get ahead of the curve, read up on our lists of weapons and armor.
  • Artifacts are essential for any player. No matter how you decide to play, artifacts are the special sauce that exponentially increase your capability in Minecraft Dungeons. There's a good variety to experiment with, from artifacts that are clearly aimed at certain players, to more niche ones that players will find creative uses for. It's always a good idea to keep at least one of each artifact so you can test new combinations as you go, but you can also read our comprehensive list of artifacts.
  • Unique gear takes things to the next level. Where things truly get interesting in the later game is using unique weapons and armor to augment your loadout. These unique weapons possess attributes and characteristics that set them apart from the standard gear they're related to, giving you an extra ability on top of what you can add with artifacts and enchantments. Uniques can truly narrow down what you're going with, whether it's the ultimate battle mage, or a super-nippy rogue that heals as they shred their opponents. Here's a list of all the unique gear to get you started.
  • Not all weapons are created equal, and enchantments are the difference. Finally, enchantments on your gear are the final push that takes you from "capable" to "everything is exploding and I heal five times a second." You get enchantment points as you level up, so you should always be spending these points to make your gear even better. These enchantments are pseudo-random, as well, so even two identical pieces of gear can have completely different enchantments. Make sure to check these constantly, as a weapon with different enchantments or an extra slot can overhaul your entire loadout in one fell swoop. Here's a list of all the enchantments to get you started.
  • Keep moving, and use the "Dash / Dodge" button wisely. It's important to keep moving in Minecraft Dungeons, to prevent enemies from surrounding or pinning you down. It also helps to avoid some of the more devastating attacks, especially from big bosses. Dungeons also gives you a dash that lets you roll out of trouble once every few seconds, which can be crucial in a fight. Use this button wisely, as you can't spam it and you'll have a temporary period of slow down immediately afterwards.
  • Don't hesitate to retreat, if necessary. Minecraft Dungeons is not particularly liberal with their health potions, forcing you to wait a not-insignificant amount of time between health top-ups. If you're in a tough fight, there's nothing wrong with backing up to wait for your next health potion to come in, or to allow your artifacts to cooldown for another use. To this end, the dash button can help you evade immediate danger and give you a chance to retreat.

A disappointing boss

When I first ran into the skeleton horsemen (which was a good ways into my playthrough) I was instantly struck with excitement, which was almost immediately followed by disappointment. The skeleton horsemen might be the most boring boss in the entire game, if only because no matter my loadout or difficulty, they were always the easiest thing on the screen to contend with. Hopefully Mojang Studios makes some tweaks to this mini-boss and ramps up the difficulty, cause as it stands the skeleton horsemen are a tad boring and simple.

Minecraft Dungeons


Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.