How to Kill All Skeleton Types in Sea of Thieves

Learn the secret to killing all the types of skeletons in Sea of Thieves, including the new colored shadow skeletons and the various bosses.


The main enemy a pirate will encounter in Sea of Thieves is the mighty skeleton. This bony minion comes in various types, all of which will put your skills to the test. If you want to make it as a pirate, you’re going to need to know all the skeleton types and how to kill them.

Skeleton Types and Weaknesses

There are several different skeleton types in Sea of Thieves, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and their own captain. Typically, you will only encounter one type of skeleton at a time during a regular quest like the Order of Souls voyages. The only time where all skeleton types will appear is during a skeleton fort raid.

  • Bone Skeleton
  • Bandana Skeleton
  • Plant Skeleton
  • Shadow Skeleton
  • Gold Skeleton
  • Captain Skeleton

Bone Skeleton

The bone skeleton is your bog-standard white enemy that can appear just about everywhere. These skeletons are by far the easiest to kill. They have no overt strengths or weaknesses and are susceptible to all forms of attack.

Blue Bandana Skeleton

A skeleton wearing a piece of clothing like the bandana, eyepatch, or arm band, are exactly the same as the regular bone skeletons, but they have more health and are more aggressive. These skeletons are usually found during Order of Souls voyages or during Skeleton Forts. Some of the other skeleton types can wear clothing as well, but they are defined by their main feature.

Plant Skeleton

A plant skeleton might look friendly, all covered in flowers and leafy-greens, but don’t let that fool you, these skeletons are exceptionally tough. Their leafy cover acts as a sort of body armor which is strengthened whenever they touch water. Keep these skeletons away from water at all cost, else their armor will refresh. When out of water, they will dry up and become more brittle. Don’t bother shooting them, as their armor simply absorbs the blast, use the cutlass to hack them down.

Shadow Skeleton

The shadow skeletons (sometimes called ghosts, spectral or ethereal skeletons) are black, misty skeletons that look all foggy and creepy with beedy little eyes. These skeletons are invulnerable whenever it is nighttime and the only way to make them vulnerable is to equip the lantern and raise it up. The shadow skeletons will immediately react, recoiling from the light while their bodies become whole.

With the release of the Fort of the Damned came new types of Shadow Skeletons. These skeletons have different colored eyes and the only way to make them vulnerable is to match your lantern color to their eyes. Thankfully, if you've started the Fort of the Damned, you can quickly change your lantern color by going into the arena and finding the right statue.

Gold Skeleton

Gold skeletons are the toughest skeleton types in Sea of Thieves. The gold skeleton is all but invincible when it first spawns. It will take a lot of blunderbuss shots, cannonballs, and explosives to kill them, unless you know their weakness: water. Throw a bucket of water on a gold skeleton or lead them to the ocean and watch them rust. Once the gold skeleton is rusty, use one of the three gun types to kill them. A blunderbuss is by far the best option.

Gunpowder Skeletons

Gunpowder skeletons were one of the first new additions to Sea of Thieves, brought in for the Bilge Rat Adventure that tasks pirates with hunting down and killing gunpowder skeletons in large groups. These skeletons are easily identifiable by the large gunpowder barrel that they hold. Whenever a player gets too close to one, the skeleton will light the fuse and give chase, and if the player doesn't get away fast enough, the skeleton will explode.

Killing these is as simple as taking aim with a weapon and shooting the gunpowder barrel, causing it to explode, taking down the skeleton and any surrounding skeletons. Corralling a group of gunpowder skeletons together and causing one to explode will set off a tremendous chain reaction, so be careful!

Now that Stronghold gunpowder barrels have been added to Sea of Thieves, you might find that some skeletons pop up carrying one. If you're a good enough shot, you can destroy the skeleton without setting off the barrel, which can then be sold for several thousand gold!

Captain Skeleton

As mentioned above, each of the skeleton types has a captain variant. This is a bigger version of the skeleton that retains the same attributes as its smaller minions. A gold skeleton captain will be weak to water, a shadow skeleton captain must have light shined on it, etc. Skeleton captains will only appear after their minions have be slain, so use this to your advantage by keeping one minion alive if you need time to recover and get resources. Also, they’re easily spotted by the unique hat they wear, and the big orange name above their head.

Skeleton bosses

sea of thieves skeleton bosses

There now exist in Sea of Thieves skeleton bosses. These are similar to skeleton captains in that they're larger than the other skeletons, but skeleton bosses have unique attacks exclusive to their kind. A skeleton boss includes the likes of Briggsy, Graymarrow, the Gold Hoarder, the Two-Faced Scoundrel, The Duchess, and the Mutinous Helmsman.

To defeat a skeleton boss, bring a lot of firepower. Consider using blunderbusses, gunpowder barrels, and even cannonballs. While attacking them, look out for their own attacks. They can slam two chests together knocking you back and dealing huge damage, summon more skeletons to fight on their behalf, and even teleport.

Your reward for killing a skeleton boss varies depending on what you're doing. If you're completing a Tall Tale, you will likely get a quest reward. If you're finishing a fort, it will be a fort key.

There will likely be more skeleton types to come as Rare continues to support Sea of Thieves. We’ll be sure to update this as more skeletons pull themselves out of the ground to fight us! Check out our Sea of Thieves guide if you want more insights into the various features and items in the game.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can message him on X: @SamuelChandler 

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