Introduction to Minecraft 1.17

Sit tight and get your picks ready! If you’re somehow not already aware, Minecraft is getting ready to receive one of the biggest updates in the history of the game. Most have already seen glimpses of what is to come and some may have already managed to load up a game or two via snapshots. For years, players have been waiting for a new major update to grace their screens, and Mojang’s announcement last year about their 1.17 Caves and Cliffs update was just the thing to get everyone stirred up and hyped about a massive update that will change just about everything we know about our beloved block game. 

Firstly, its release date has been a little messy — with everything going on around the world with the global pandemic, unfortunately, there have been several delays in the completion of this new update, much to the players’ disappointments. Ultimately, Mojang has announced that they’ll be releasing the update in two parts to ensure that everything’s been tested and is completely error-free for launch day. Part one is set to release on June 8th — yup, that’s next week! So, we at Team Visionary thought that it would be a good time to go over everything to look forward to in the upcoming update, and everything you need to know about the 1.17 Caves and Cliffs update. 

What exactly does this split release date mean for us as players and content creators? Well, the first party, coming out next week on June 8th, is all ready and set to bring us the wondrous new monsters and creatures to be found in the 1.17 update, as well as the numerous building blocks and cool new items. Part two will bring us everything relating to world generation, which is really quite a massive part of the new version. This means, unfortunately, that we won’t be getting the new caves and mountains until much later. But in the meantime, we can still all enjoy the cute, cool and horrifying new mobs and items! 

The official release date of part two of the Minecraft 1.17 Caves and Cliffs update is still kind of in the air and there’s been no official word about it from Mojang to our knowledge. However, we do know that it’s most likely going to be released around the holidays, which means that we’re sure to get it before the end of the year of 2021. With this being the gargantuan update that it is, it’s adding hundreds of new things in terms of items, creatures, mobs, blocks, mechanics and world generation, so we certainly don’t blame anyone who immediately got overwhelmed looking at the changelogs or new update wiki page. So, let’s go over everything that’s set to come with part one and two of the 1.17 Caves and Cliffs update in much greater detail. 

Caves and Cliffs: Part One

The first part of the update brings us some absolutely amazing things, from ore to mobs, and items to mechanics. To start us off, let’s look at some of the new blocks that are going to be joining Minecraft’s incredible variety of building blocks. 


First on the list, we have amethyst. Amethyst is a gorgeous light purple gemstone that spawns in nodes in the deep dark of Minecraft caves. Amethyst comes in many different variations, and also has some incredibly cool properties. As mentioned above, you can find amethyst nodes in caves, and they act as light sources when they’re fully grown. (Yup, you heard right! They grow!) During any of your mining trips, you may now find budding amethysts which grow from a geode block. Be warned, however, that you cannot pick up the geode block itself, and any attempts to mine it will result in it shattering into nothingness, leaving you with empty space and no drops. 

When you find this delightful purple gem naturally in the wild, you can find amethyst in four stages. The first stage is when it’s just started to bud and is super tiny and cute. Letting it grow for a bit will result in it becoming medium sized, before it expands into a super large size. Finally, if you let the node grow for long enough, you’ll end up with the final stage: a beautiful amethyst cluster on the ground! You can mine amethyst clusters with a pickaxe to gain 4 amethyst shards (keeping in mind that you only get two shards if you use any other method to break the amethyst, such as with your fists or with a piston). These shards are definitely affected by the Fortune enchantment, meaning that if you break the cluster with a pickaxe that’s enchanted with the Fortune enchantment, the node will yield much more shards, depending on the level of the Fortune enchantment itself. 

As with almost any other ore and gemstone, you can craft blocks of amethyst with the shards! Blocks of amethyst are, similarly to blocks of diamond, gold, emerald and iron, a decorative block that can be used for tons of builds and unlocks the geodes that you can mine to pick up. 


Next up, we have something that’s been flourishing in modpacks for years and years — something that a ton of players have been waiting with bated breath for. Starting from 1.17, you can now find copper ore alongside other ores. Like all other ores and gemstones, copper as a metal can be crafted into a block of copper, a la a 3×3 in the crafting bench, as usual. Something incredibly cool about this block is that like in real life, copper in Minecraft oxidizes after being placed in the open air for a certain amount of time. This amount of time is different and random per block, but inevitably, blocks of copper will go from orange to a turquoise – green when placed down in the open. You can also use honeycombs to apply a wax layer onto copper blocks to give them a nice new shiny look. 

The introduction of copper also means that there’s a couple of new items that you can use copper to craft, more on that in the next section though! One of those things is cut copper — you can craft cut copper with 4 blocks of coppery, then use cut copper to craft stairs and slabs. Everything made from copper will oxidize — but if you’re not a fan of the oxidized copper, don’t worry — because you can remove oxidation by using an axe on the oxidized block. 

Raw Metal

While not exactly a new ore, this is a massive enough change that affects ores and metals that we figured it deserved an honorary mention in this section. From now on, whenever you mine iron, gold, or copper — without a silk touch pickaxe — instead of getting the ore block, you’ll get an item called raw ore. Raw ore can then be smelted to get ingots. What this means is that Fortune enchantments will now work when mining iron! This in turn means that you’ll have the ability to obtain more than one raw iron from a single ore block, potentially doubling, tripling or even quadrupling the amount of ore that you get from each ore block mined, whereas previously, one iron or gold block only yielded one ore no matter what in vanilla survival. You can also use 9 raw metals to craft a single raw metal block of any sort, which can be a lovely little aesthetic block to put in your base to flaunt your wealth. 


Deepslate is a new block that will now generate in areas deep underground. It’s a dark gray stone that generates in blobs at around 0 to 16 block height. It’s just a little harder than cobblestone, but can be mined with all pickaxes. There are a total of 5 different variations of this block. When mined you get cobbled deepslate, which you can use to craft the other variations, such as polished, brick, tiled and chiseled deepslate.

Minecraft Slab Example

Deepslate can also contain ore! Deepslate ore can contain all currently available ore, with the only difference being that it takes twice as long to mine. 

Glow Lichen

Glow lichen is a type of grass that can be found rarely in the new twisting and winding caves that Minecraft 1.17 adds, which you can collect by using shears. One really cool thing about the glow lichen is that you can place it in water and water does not break it, allowing for some lovely decor and aesthetic ideas. As with most plants, you can use bone meal to grow it manually, if its natural growth speed is a little too slow for your liking, or if you need it in bulk to decorate your home with. 

Sculk Sensor

The next block is one of the brilliant new things that has excited countless among the hordes of players who are awaiting the new 1.17 patch: the sculk sensor. Though this block does not naturally generate as of now (though it is planned to be naturally generated in future updates, most likely during the second part of the Minecraft 1.17 version) you can spawn it in using the /give command. 

The sculk sensor is a massive game changer for redstone builds as it essentially introduces wireless power into Minecraft!! This is stuff that players have only been able to achieve through heavily modded Minecraft, and we know that all the farmers, grinders and redstone experts out there are just salivating over this juicy new addition. Take a look at some of the recommended Team Visionary minecraft minigames selections too.

 This block has the ability to detect vibrations which can be triggered in many ways, such as block placement, footsteps and even projectiles flying by. When triggered, the block also sends out a redstone signal to anything attached to it, effectively making it a redstone power source when triggered. The true wireless power comes into play when you start to daisy chain the sensors, because when one is triggered by a sound, the block itself also makes a rattling sound and that in turn alerts other sensors nearby. Thanks to this mechanic, you are able to effectively create a redstone signal that can travel through the air.


The dripleaf is an incredibly unique plant concept, and I for one cannot wait for the content creators to get their hands on it and start using them in maps and whatnot. The Dripleaf is a plant that you can stand on, but don’t get too comfortable though! The leaves will start to bend as you stand on them and after about 1.5 seconds, you will lose your footing and fall through it.This plant uniquely shows how much time you have as it starts to till the longer you stand on it; this tilting feature can also be triggered by hitting it with a projectile, sort of like those folding plants that respond to physical stimuli!

What’s more is that you can power it with a redstone signal to avoid the tilting mechanic completely and keep the plant upright. The addition of dripleaf is surely to bring tons of more creativity and unique build ideas into Minecraft

Moss Blocks

With the addition of dripleaf also comes a new material block that the plant can grow on: the mossblock. The moss block is an opaque block with a grass – like texture that can be fertilized using bonemeal to grow grass and azaleas. This can also expand it along stone surfaces and grow moss carpet on top of the stone. The moss carpet looks exactly the same as the moss block except it is only 1 pixel thin, which makes for a perfect, nature-y carpet.

Glow Item Frame 

Besides the major stuff, there are also a ton of small and unique quality of life additions being added in terms of blocks and items. One such example is the glow item frame, which can be crafted using an item frame and a glow ink sac — that is, ink sacs dropped from the all new glow squid, more on that later! The Glow Item Frame allows for whatever item you place into the frame to receive a cool glowing effect. 


Another nifty little addition is a new type of stone called the dripstone. You can find the dripstone in the all new dripstone cave, as well as in small clusters that can be found regularly and naturally generated in caves. The drip stone can be crafted using 4 pointed dripstones — pointed dripstones naturally generated inside of caves in the form of stalagmites (those pointy rocks hanging from the ceiling) and stalactites (those pointy rocks “growing” from the ground). Stalagmites add a whole new danger to exploring caves, forcing avid spelunkers and miners to proceed with caution in the new caves, since these tend to fall right onto unsuspecting heads if they’re not attached to something when they generate, and can even cause some hefty damage depending on how high they fell from. 


Those are just about the main blocks to cover in the 1.17 Minecraft update: Caves and Cliffs! However, that’s just scratching the surface of all the new content that this update has to offer. Let’s get started on the cool new items that you’re going to get to look forward to in this new 1.17 update! 

Though there aren’t nearly as many items as there are new blocks, these items also offer a new and fresh feeling to Minecraft as they’re all things that we as players have been anticipating for quite some time now — besides the pleasant surprises that we had no idea about, of course! 


The very first item (hah) on the list is item bundles! If you’re a Minecraft player at all, I’m sure that we’ve all felt the pain of wanting to keep mining, farming, grinding or fighting…. but coming to the sinking realization that you’ve run completely out of inventory space in your cluttered backpack. 

Starting from 1.17, however, you can kiss your inventory management problems goodbye! (Well, until you fill them up with bundles, too…) Bundles are a new item and mechanic that can be used to store other items inside them. They can only hold one stack of a single item, but they have the ability to hold multiple different items! This… doesn’t really eliminate problems when it comes to things with small stack sizes such as snowballs and ender pearls, but it truly makes a dent when it comes to plentiful materials like food and ingredients! You’ll be able to bundle them all up together now into a nice little package that only takes up one inventory slot.  Take a look at some of the Team Visionary awesome resource packs to see more great examples.

The bundles come with their very own unique GUI that shows exactly what’s inside the bundle, and how many of each item is in the bundle, when you hover over the bundle in your inventory with your mouse. As bundles are incredibly unique and a completely new concept in Minecraft, they do come with their very own tutorial the first time you use one, so you’ll never have to worry about how exactly they function, and can just learn how they work on the fly without having to spend time looking it up.

Glow Berries, Glow Ink Sac and Light Sources

1.17 adds amazing caves that can at times stretch for hundreds of blocks and sometimes with those caves can come just as much darkness. In order to remove the darkness and show off the beauty of the caves, we’re getting some amazing lighting options! We’ve already talked about one of these: the glow lichen that lights up the bottom of water bodies in caves. But having only the water glow doesn’t really offer too much help when you are trying to navigate the cave, and so we also have the new glow berries. 

Glow berries grow on vines and also provide light when on the vines. They can be harvested from the vines, but as soon as you harvest then the vine will lose its glow, unfortunately. Glow berries can be consumed to regain 2 hunger and offer tons of convenience when you are exploring caves as you no longer have to resurface if you run out of food!

We also have the glow ink sac, which can be obtained from the new glow squid mob. Though the name might hint, the sac itself does not offer light or glow when dropped but if you were to combine it with a sign, it will make the text on that sign glow. If you combine it with an item frame, you’ll get a glowing item frame that makes items placed inside of it glow.

Last but certainly not least, we have a new light source called light blocks. Light blocks can’t be obtained through normal gameplay and only through the /give command but we figured we might as well talk about them as they are important for mapmaking, or simply if you are trying to light up a cave in creative mode to show off its beauty without having any physical blocks. Light blocks can only be spawned in but are a great source of light and offer optimal lighting without having a physical block. They are, physically, similar to barrier blocks — they can not be touched or broken, except that instead of a physical barrier it’s a invisible light source.

Mobs and Monsters

Of course, all these items and blocks are lovely and all in terms of both improving the mechanics of the game and refining quality of life gameplay… but let’s be real. How many of us are eagerly twiddling our thumbs right now and waiting for some information on the axolotls, or the Warden that was shown at the Minecraft Live 2020 event? Yup, same here. So without further ado, let’s get into the nitty gritty of all these new adorable and terrifying mobs that are coming to join our Minecraft world!

The Warden

Starting off strong is the monster that blew everyones’ minds in the update announcement. The Warden (as if the name wasn’t scary enough!) is a terrifying hostile mob coming in the 1.17 – Caves and Cliffs update. The Warden will be the first blind mob to be added to Minecraft. Instead of following the player normally, it uses the sculk-like sensors on its head to detect vibrations, ambling along in the dim caverns aimlessly until it detects any vibrations or sound, at which point it breaks into a grotesque run in an attempt to kill the source of the sound. Sounds like it’s straight out of a horror movie, doesn’t it? 

A good defense to use in order to avoid fighting the Warden is to sneak or throw projectiles such as snowballs or arrows to distract it. It was shown in the reveal that the Warden will be attracted to projectiles that produce a sound. You can also always take it on in a fight, but it’s highly unrecommended unless you’re properly geared up — it packs a punch! Mojang developers themselves have even stated that this mob is not meant to be fought, but rather is a means to atmospheric horror to pique emotions and fear in players (which it certainly did for me!)

The Warden seems like it gets faster when attacked, and it deals so much damage that it can kill a player wearing full netherite armor in two hits (any weaker armor or no armor will result in the player being killed in almost 1 hit). The Warden won’t hear the player if they sneak past it, but if the player attacks it enough, it will lock onto them and won’t get distracted by other noises. At this point, it will begin charging at the player significantly faster than before. For other news on updating version of Minecraft, check out the Official Minecraft update page here.

Its heartbeat is audible as well as visible, and the more it is attacked, the stronger it gets, and the stronger it gets, the more its soul-filled heart flashes.

Overall, this is just REALLY not a mob you want to mess around with under almost any circumstances, even if you have the best armor in the game. It’s incredibly cool to encounter a monster that’s not meant to be fought, but rather, comes with unique mechanics of distraction. Mojang really outdid themselves with this one


Axolotls are tamable, aquatic mobs that will spawn in the rivers of the lush caves. Clicking on it with a water bucket will yield a bucket of axolotl. There are different color variations which are Leucistic (pink with dark pink frills), Wild (brown with dark brown frills), Cyan (has pink frills), Gold, and a rare blue one with orange frills that has a 1/1200 chance of spawning!

The axolotl prey on fish and squids. If an axolotl is picked up in a bucket by the player, it is considered tamed by the player. After doing so, the player can set them free in a more common environment or use them in marine adventures to help fight against drowned, guardians, and elder guardians. While swimming around, the axolotl may be distracted by nearby fish, and eventually lose the player if too much time is taken. When attacked, the axolotl will play dead for a brief minute to be left alone and gain health back.

Though these are nowhere near the combative or atmospheric power of the warden, these little guys quickly stole the hearts of all viewers and took the live update preview by storm! I mean, just look at them — how can you say no to those little eyes? I know that as soon as the update drops, I’ll be first and foremost heading down to the lush caves with lots of empty buckets!