Now You See It, Now You Don’t: A Guide to Minecraft’s Curse of Vanishing

Dan Westrop
Dan Westrop
10 Min Read

There’s plenty of magic to be found in Minecraft – whether it’s the simple joy of building a Bond villain-Esque palace atop a lava fountain, the delight of living off the land in the world’s blockiest farming simulator, or the thrill of taking part in a huge multiplayer server that may bring forth collaboration and conflict, there’s never been a shortage of that wonder and awe many would call magic.

But when it comes to the more literal definition of the word, Minecraft doesn’t come up short. Since the very first Java edition of the game, players have enjoyed the freedom to become sorcerers, alchemists, and magicians, not least of all through the enchanting mechanic.

As Minecraft has grown and developed, these mechanics have become increasingly complex, and now players can explore the magical potential in fishing rods that give players the Luck of the Sea, armour that reflects damage back at attackers, and even boots that give them the ability to walk on water.

But as any fantasy fan knows, it’s not all amazing powers and convenient spells.

Today we’ll be venturing into a darker side of Minecraft magic – much like its sister enchantment Curse of Binding, Curse of Vanishing can be a real headache for Minecraft players.

What does Curse of Vanishing do in Minecraft?

So what’s the fuss about? What does Curse of Vanishing do in Minecraft?

Curse of Vanishing is an enchantment, but where most Minecraft enchantments will yield an overt benefit to the player, Curse of Vanishing instead puts them at a real disadvantage. As the name suggests, this malevolent curse causes the affected item to completely disappear from the game when the player dies.

Curse of Vanishing

Of course, death in Minecraft is often less an obstacle for players than it is an inconvenience (as long as molten lava isn’t involved). If they retrace their steps from their respawn point to the scene of their demise, they can reclaim their belongings and (slightly depleted) experience points, shake off the blow, and keep going on their merry way.

Curse of Vanishing puts a hole in this safety net – re-crafting items takes time and resources, and losing a pickaxe enchanted with Efficiency and Fortune but afflicted by Curse of Vanishing will mean the tool is gone forever, and may set the player back some way.

Whats is for?

So what’s the point? If it’s such a pain for players, why is it in the game at all? And why would anyone willingly put the curse on one of their items?

It’s difficult to give concrete answers to the first two questions – the ways of the team at Mojang are mysterious and the game is ever-evolving, and so it’s perfectly possible future developments will widen the horizons of how the curse will factor into the wider mechanics of enchanting and how players may be able to use it to their advantage.

As to the second, in its current form, Curse of Vanishing only really has a few immediately evident practical uses, and they both apply only to the multiplayer Minecraft experience.

The first would be relevant in a server with Player vs Player (PvP) settings enabled – meaning the game allows for combat between human players, making Minecraft a fight not just for survival against a hostile world, but between the very gamers sat at their keyboards. PvP is often a fairly ruthless and unforgiving game mode, and so it may be the case that if you’re in possession of an item that gives you a particular advantage – a heavily enchanted diamond sword, for instance – you really don’t want it falling into the hands of your fellow players in the event of your murder.

In such an event, Curse of Vanishing may actually be a desirable attribute to enchant an item with, simply to prevent your enemies using your own assets against you.

And the other use?

Pure laughs. Steal a friend’s prized armour from their chest and curse the lot, leaving them on the edge of their seats every time they put it on and venture out into the world, then sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

It’s a little cruel, but hey, that’s the beauty of multiplayer gaming.

How to apply Curse of Vanishing

Unlike a lot of other enchantments in Minecraft, Curse of Vanishing cannot simply be added to items at an enchanting table.

Instead, to afflict an item with the curse, players must use a tool less widely associated with magic outside of Minecraft, but one that will nonetheless be familiar to players accustomed to the game: the humble anvil.

So, we have the item that we want to enchant with Curse of Vanishing, and we have our trusty anvil at the ready. The one thing we’re missing is the crucial part of the equation: the enchanted book we’ll need to successfully put Curse of Vanishing on the item.

Minecraft Anvil

This requires actually finding the book somewhere within your world, which usually means stumbling upon it in a dungeon chest, catching more than you bargained for when out fishing, or – the easiest method if you’re actively looking to find the Minecraft Curse of Vanishing enchanted book – trading emeralds with villagers in exchange for the book.

Once the book is acquired, all the player needs to do to place the curse on an item is combine said item with the book at their anvil (pictured below).

curse of vanishing combined

How to remove Curse of Vanishing

So what if you yourself fall victim to a cruel joke at your expense, or just wish you hadn’t used the enchantment in the first place?

Unfortunately, there aren’t yet any real way to remove curses in Minecraft, so your options are limited – but there are options. Here’s how to remove the Minecraft Curse of Vanishing:

Once upon a time it was possible to remove the curse simply by repairing the item with another of the same item. If you’re playing on a version earlier than Java Edition 1.16, you may still be able to solve your problem this way. But as you can see from the below screencap, the latest versions maintain the curse even after repairs.

remove curse of vanishing

If you’re up to date, you’re left with two choices. It may run a little contrary to the hardcore survivalist within you, but if Curse of Vanishing is proving a real concern, you may want to use the in-game commands to set the keep inventory gamerule to True (see below). This simply changes the game settings so that you don’t drop your inventory on death in the first place.

/gamerule keepInventory true
set the keep inventory gamerule to True

Your other option – apart from keeping the afflicted item locked away safely at all times – is to use a shulker box to store the item within your inventory. Shulker boxes essentially act as a kind of chest-ception device: items stored within stay within when the box is mined and even when the player is killed, meaning it, and the item inside it, can be retrieved like any other item.

shulker box

This provides a safe workaround to the Curse of Vanishing. This may not be possible, as to craft a shulker box requires a perilous trip to the far corners of the End to harvest shulker shells, but if by chance you manage it, your problems with Curse of Vanishing in Minecraft are truly over.

crafted shulker box

We hope this guide has given you an insight into one of Minecraft’s two notorious curses – avoid it if you can, or use it wisely if you just can’t help yourselves! Thanks for reading, and happy crafting!

Share This Article
Dan Westrop, founder and Executive Editor for GadgetGang. Loves getting hands-on with the latest tech and only writes true, honest, and unbiased reviews.
Leave a comment