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Minecraft 1.17 update - Caves and Cliffs part 1 features

Goats, axolotl friends, and plenty of new blocks

A mountain goat has just rammed a cow off the cliff. The cow is very confused and hurt by this betrayal.

Looking forward to the release of Minecraft update 1.17? For years, Minecraft players have been asking for a big update to the rather bland underground areas – you may know them as caves. They’ve not really changed all that much since vanilla Minecraft launched over a decade ago, while new biomes have been added constantly to the game. So it was hugely exciting to get confirmation of the Minecraft Caves & Cliffs update.

While the cliffs do get new snow effects, powder snow blocks, and goats, the really fascinating stuff that’s being added is all found beneath the surface. All you’ll need to do to find these new areas is tunnel downwards. Three new underground biomes were discussed during this year’s Minecraft Live presentation, filled with new plants to harvest, new materials to gather, and new Minecraft mobs to encounter.

Yes, Minecraft Caves & Cliffs does add a terrifying-sounding monster, but it also gives players not one, but two potential best friend mobs that can help them take down pesky enemies. Here is everything you can look forward to when Minecraft 1.17 goes live.


The Minecraft Caves & Cliffs release date has been split, with the first part arriving June 8 and the second set for the holiday season, for both the Windows 10 and Java Editions. It was first announced during this year’s Minecraft Live presentation.

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So what exactly do we mean by the “release date has been split”? Well it turns out that some things were easier to implement than others, so rather than delay the entire update to much later on, the Caves and Cliffs update will be released in two separate updates: 1.17 and 1.18. Here is what you can expect from each update:

  • 1.17 update: Previously known as the ‘Summer update’, this includes the new mobs like the goats and axolotls, and building blocks like dripleaf and deepslate. The new items for copper are also arriving in this update
  • 1.18 update: Previously known as the ‘Holiday update’, this one will include anything to do with world generation: new caves/mountains, placing of new biomes, and world height. Mojang is also trying to get this update to work with all existing Minecraft worlds. By the time part two launches, up to new 91 blocks will be added to the game.

There is one more feature that’s being delayed even further down the line, and that’s archaeology. As explained by vanilla game director Agnes Larson, Mojang wants to give it more time for development as it’s a brand new system and above all else “Minecrafty”.

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Minecraft goats appear in the cliff areas and jump really high, two full blocks to be precise! Goats are rather fickle beasts though and if you annoy them enough, they’ll bash into you and send you flying off the snowy mountains. You can milk them and there’s even a small chance that these goats will be screaming goats (with slightly different sounds).

When Goats ram into a block, there’s a chance they’ll drop a Goat Horn, which you can pick up and use to generate the same trumpeting blare you hear at the start of a raid. This may have further consequences – we’ll let you know when we find out more.

A swimmer and a fleet of Axolotls are destroying an enemy underwater.


While they will eventually be found in the Lush Caves, Minecraft’s Axolotls are currently found in narrow underwater paths in caves and, well, just look at them. They’re utterly adorable aren’t they? These are real creatures that are relatives of the cave salamander. They have the cutest yawns too.

In Minecraft, these vicious predators are your best friends for underwater adventures. Just scoop up as many as you can in buckets and deploy a large number of Axolotls to help with exploring underwater caves. They will attack enemies on sight, play dead to recover health, and overwhelm more powerful foes with sheer numbers, because why wouldn’t you want your own Axolotl army?

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Given the nature of the split update, it’s easier to just list which blocks are coming and where you can find them. The new Minecraft blocks in 1.17 are:

  • Copper ore – found underground close to mine shafts
  • Dripstone and Pointed Dripstone blocks – found in caves
  • Amethyst geodes – found in caves
  • Glow lichen – found in caves
  • Powdered snow – found on mountain tops
  • Deepslate – found close to bedrock in the underground area
  • Moss – found in shipwreck chests (can use bone meal to rapidly grow them)
  • Glow Berries – found in mineshaft chests
  • Azalea – use bone meal on moss for a chance to find it
  • Dripleaf plant – use bone meal on moss for a chance to find it

Note that you can also find some of these items by trading emeralds with wandering traders. Outside of these new blocks, the new textures for ores will also appear in the Minecraft 1.17 update. They were redesigned due to accessibility issues for colourblind players.

Let’s go into a bit more detail about some of these blocks:

The Amethyst cave with several crystals growing in specific spots.


In rare circumstances, caves can lead to Amethyst geodes. Walking on crystals emits a sound effect that sounds like a wind-chime.

You can break the crystal plants, but you can’t take the specific blocks that crystals grow on. The puzzle will be working out a network of harvesting the crystals at the source efficiently. Crystals have uses in making items, namely in making the new Telescope, which you can use to zoom in on details from far away.

The roof of a house that is made with a copper roof. Several blocks are oxidising.


Telescopes also require Copper, a new resource. They are similar to iron but have an orange hue to the ores. They are found in ore veins rather than blobs, can be used like Iron to make blocks and steps, and Copper ages over time as it is exposed to oxygen, taking on a turquoise colour instead of browny orange.

Copper can also be used to make lightning rods. These are used to direct lightning to the poles instead of more flammable materials. You’ll probably need to use a blast furnace to melt the copper ingots into usable materials.


Crafted from an amethyst shard and copper ingots, it allows the player to zoom in on specific locations for a closer look.


You can light up the darkness with Candles in the 1.17 update – crafted from string and honeycomb, they can be dyed a variety of colours, and – of course – popped on top of a cake to celebrate someone’s birthday.

The Dripstone Caves are filled with lava and water pools. Several stalactites and stalagmites can be seen in the distance.


Stalagmites and stalactites are what make the new caves stand out. Destroy the blocks at the top of the stalactites to drop the rest from above. Stalagmites act like spikes and can hurt friends and foes alike. Stalactites also drip water, so you can use a bucket to collect the water. This gives you a renewable source of water.

You are able to combine multiple stalagmites and stalactites to make them as long as you can imagine. Stalactites will not only drip water, but they are also able to drip lava, which can be collected in a cauldron below, just in case you need it for later. It’s also noted that, if you were to throw a trident at a pointed dripstone, the dripstone will break.

Minecraft 1.17 beta release date

If you own the Bedrock edition of Minecraft, you can now play the beta, although only the first phase of new features are available including goats and the powdery snow. Find out how to play Minecraft Beta snapshots in both Java and Bedrock editions, by following the steps outlined in our guide.

There are important differences between both versions, and it seems that the Java edition is slightly ahead. A recent update is the Caves & Cliffs snapshot 21w14a, that makes important changes to iron, copper, and gold. Now these blocks generate raw minerals when mined, putting it in line with coal and diamonds. If you’re a purist and like how the ore blocks look, you can still collect the ore blocks by using the Silk Touch Minecraft enchantments.

Related: Here’s how to take part in Minecraft beta builds

Snapshot 21w06a introduced the brand new cave system – so you can now explore those cheese and spaghetti caves yourself, and go diving for Minecraft diamond in an aquifer. Previous snapshots added Minecraft copper, bundles, powder snow, lush cave blocks, glow squids, axolotls, and dripstone caves.

And that is everything we know about the upcoming Minecraft Caves & Cliffs update. Some exciting new areas to explore and one terrifying monster to face. It’s certainly best to come in prepared, even if Netherite weapons and armour don’t do much against wardens.