Piercing is an enchantment used on crossbows in Minecraft. It lets players fire arrows that can go through entities and shields.
Piercing can be done by using enchanted tables or combining enchanted crossbows via the anvil block. With an anvil, players can also use enchanted books to change how crossbows work.
No matter how players get Piercing, the enchantment is a great help in combat, especially when using a crossbow. But it does have some restrictions and problems that you should be aware of.
Minecraft’s Piercing enchantment explained
Piercing has a total of four enchantment levels. Each level increases the number of entities that a crossbow can fire a projectile through, up to the enchantment level plus one, or five in vanilla Minecraft. Even though the projectiles can go through many things, including shields, they can still be retrieved once they hit the ground.
This makes Piercing an offshoot of the bow enchantment Infinity. As long as players shoot their crossbow arrows through targets and into the ground, they can be retrieved, giving them a theoretically endless supply of arrows. But arrows can’t be retrieved if they go through a target and fall into something like lava or the void.
Also, Piercing has no effect on firework rockets fired from crossbows, even though other enchantments do.
If an enemy is using a shield, a piercing-enchanted arrow will still hit through it, even if the shield is being used to protect.
One of Piercing’s biggest problems is that it can’t be used with the Multishot enchantment by default. But if the enchantments are combined with commands, the two will work as expected. Each arrow shot from Multishot will have the appropriate Piercing enchantment.
If Minecraft players make a crossbow using both Multishot and Piercing, they can make a powerful weapon that can skewer whole groups of enemies.
But if players don’t want to turn on cheats and use commands to make the weapon, they’ll have to use the vanilla crossbow enchantments. In this case, Multishot and Piercing are incompatible.