Minecraft: Java Edition gets first snapshot for Caves and Cliffs Update, tests tons of features

Minecraft Caves and Cliffs Update Image
Minecraft Caves and Cliffs Update Image (Image credit: Mojang Studios)

What you need to know

  • The Caves and Cliffs Update is the next major release for Minecraft, and it's going to be massive.
  • After weeks of anticipation, players can finally get their hands on the first official Caves and Cliffs Update snapshot.
  • This adds a ton of new features, items, and more for players to try out in Minecraft: Java Edition.
  • There's nothing new for the Bedrock Edition, but all of these features will come to all supported versions of Minecraft.

Big news for Minecraft players today, as the first signs of the upcoming Caves and Cliffs Update are appearing in Minecraft: Java Edition with the release of Snapshot 20w45a. The newest snapshot for Minecraft's legacy PC version includes a very long, healthy list of new features that will be included in Minecraft's future massive update, coming Summer 2021, and lets anyone who fancies diving into a potentiall buggy build test out all the new goodies included in the snapshot.

There's nothing new for Minecraft: Bedrock Edition here, but all the features present in today's Java Edition snapshot will come to all supported versions of Minecraft, but Mojang Studios wants to get the features out for testing as they're ready for each edition. If you're not sure how to get involved, you can find out how to enroll in Minecraft: Java Edition's snapshots.

Of course, Minecraft remains one of the best games for kids, who will be able to enjoy everything there is in the Caves and Cliffs Update when it fully releases.

The changelog for Snapshot 20w45a includes:

New features

  • Added bundles!
  • Added candle!
  • Added lava cauldron!
  • Added copper!
  • Added amethyst!
  • Added lightning rod!
  • Added spyglass!
  • Added tinted glass!
  • A shulker hitting a shulker with a shulker bullet can make a new shulker


Amethyst blocks

  • Amethyst comes in block form inside the geodes in two ways: block of amethyst and budding amethyst
  • All types of Amethyst blocks (clusters included) create beautiful sounds when you walk on them, break them, place them, or hit them with a projectile—go make some music!

Amethyst clusters

  • Amethyst clusters grow from budding amethyst, which can be found inside geodes
  • Clusters have four growth stages: small amethyst bud, medium amethyst bud, large amethyst bud, and amethyst cluster
  • Clusters can only grow when they are placed on budding amethyst blocks
  • Fully-grown amethyst clusters drop four amethyst shards (or more with Fortune) when an iron pickaxe or higher is used, and drop nothing otherwise when broken
  • Clusters can be silk touched at any stage

Amethyst geodes

  • These huge geodes can be found anywhere underground in the Overworld
  • Amethyst geodes have an outer layer of a new stone called tuff
  • Amethyst geodes have a second layer of another new block called calcite
  • Amethyst geodes have an inner layer of various amethyst blocks

Amethyst shards

  • Amethyst clusters drop four amethyst shards (or more with Fortune)

Budding amethyst

  • On any side of a budding amethyst block where there is air or a water source block, a small amethyst bud will eventually grow
  • Amethyst Buds can only grow when attached to budding amethyst and will grow until they become amethyst clusters


  • Bundles are items that hold other items
  • A bundle can hold a mixture of items, but only one stack's worth. For example, a bundle could fit:
    • 64 dirt
    • 32 dirt + 32 stone
    • 32 dirt + 8 ender pearls
    • One of every color of wool, concrete, carpet and terracotta (64 blocks in total)
    • Or one diamond helmet
  • Use right-click to put an item into a bundle
  • Right-click a bundle to empty it
  • Wrap a present in a bundle and give it to your friend!


  • Candles come in all 16 colors + one uncolored variant
  • Up to four can be placed in one block
  • Candles allow you to properly wish someone a happy birthday
  • Waterloggable! (But you cannot light them underwater, silly)
  • Wish anybody a happy birthday with a candle cake!


  • Cauldrons can now be filled with buckets of lava!
  • Filled lava cauldrons give off a redstone signal of strength 1


Copper blocks

  • Craft nine copper ingots to a copper block
  • Craft cut copper, cut copper stairs and cut copper slabs
  • Use honeycomb to craft waxed copper blocks

Copper ore

  • Copper ore can be found in ore blobs across Overworld, similar to iron and coal (this is not the final generation for copper…)
  • Smelt copper ore to get a copper ingot

Lightning rod

  • The lightning rod is crafted from three copper ingots
  • Keep your builds safe (well, as long as the closest area around the lightning rod is fireproof) during thunderstorms!
  • The lightning rod will protect an area of 4 * 16 blocks around it from the, sometimes devastating, lightning strikes!
  • Lightning rods give off a redstone signal when struck by lightning


  • Copper will oxidize over time
  • There are for stages: copper, lightly weathered copper, semi-weathered copper, and weathered copper
  • It takes 50-82 Minecraft days (in loaded chunks) for a copper block to oxidize one stage
  • Waxed copper blocks will not oxidize
  • You can wax any oxidation stage—how lovely, that means you can keep that pretty lightly weathered copper block in it's lightly weathered stage forever!


  • You can use your spyglass to see faraway things
  • Pretend to be a sea captain, or catch your neighbor in the act as they dye your sheep lime green
  • The spyglass is crafted from two copper ingots and one amethyst shard

Tinted glass

  • Tinted glass is a type of glass that does not allow light to pass through.
  • Tinted glass is crafted by putting a glass block in the middle of four amethyst shards
  • Tinted glass can be obtained without silk touch; it does not shatter like normal glass


  • Experience orbs now sometimes merge when in large quantities to improve performance. This does not change the rate at which the player can absorb them—it simply limits the amount of separate orbs floating around in the world. Orbs that merge will gain the lifetime of the most recently created one
  • Particles now appear when pistons break blocks
  • Simple firework rockets with one gunpowder can now be crafted using the recipe book
  • Dirt paths (formerly grass path) can now be made by using a shovel on dirt, podzol, mycelium, or course dirt (as well as grass)
  • Minecarts and rails work in water


  • All rails can be waterlogged (works with a dispenser & water bucket too)
  • Flowing water doesn't break rails
  • Minecarts can pass through water, but get slowed down more than usual

Technical changes

  • Entities are now saved separately from terrain chunks
  • Added loot table function set_banner_pattern
  • Pack format in version.json has been split into data and resource versions
  • Servers can now require custom resource packs to be accepted

Custom server resource packs

  • A dedicated server can enforce custom resource packs by setting require-resource-pack in server.properties. When this option is used, players will be prompted for a response and will be disconnected if they decline the required pack

Entity storage

  • Entities have been extracted from main (terrain) chunks and are now stored in a separate entities directory (similar to POI storage)
  • Those new files are still region files with NBT

Loot tables

  • Sets tags needed for banner patterns
  • patterns—list of pattern objects:
    • pattern—name of pattern (square_bottom_left, bricks, etc.)
    • color—name of color (light_gray, etc.)
  • append—if true, new elements will be appended to existing ones instead of replacing

Bug fixes

  • Experience orbs follow dead players
  • Chunk-wise entity lists often don't get updated correctly (Entities disappear)
  • Lava burning items or XP orbs sound muted when "Friendly Creatures" slider is turned off
  • /replaceitem makes quite an obnoxious sound, which is not heard by the person whose items are being replaced.
  • Experience build up in furnace when using a hopper which can cause severe lag
  • Cartographer villager freezes or crashes the game when unlocking explorer maps
  • When a structure loads, water sources in the structure spread into waterloggable blocks
  • Blocks can't be placed normally on a full cauldron
  • Dead Entities are saved to chunk
  • XP orbs causing severe lag
  • taiga_fisher_cottage_1 is filled with water
  • Incorrect jigsaw setting in snowy_small_house_8
  • Skeletons don't burn in minecarts while being exposed to daylight
  • Putting item in a spectator's hand plays sound "Gear equips" for other players
  • Drowned arm texture is reversed by the model
  • One door is open in taiga_shepherds_house_1
  • One log in taiga_butcher_shop_1 seems to be misrotated—causing the side roof to look asymmetrical
  • Entrance in snowy_medium_house_2 is asymmetrical
  • Equipping sound plays when mobs picking up non-armor items
  • Removing a plant from a flower pot still plays generic armor equipping sound / shows Gear equips in subtitles
  • Using a bucket in Survival mode still plays generic armor equipping sound / shows Gear equips in subtitles
  • Milking a mooshroom for stew still plays armor equip sound / shows Gear equips subtitle
  • Some entities do not render inside of spawners and producing error log spam in console, potentially causing lag
  • Lag when opening a shipwreck chest containing buried treasure map
  • plains_stable_1 misplaced blocks
  • plains_stable_2 misplaced blocks
  • Misplaced trapdoor on taiga_decoration_6
  • Wall incorrectly placed on certain taiga houses
  • Zombies picking up items play the gear equipping sound and subtitle
  • Eating food items that return empty containers still play gear equipping sound
  • plains_animal_pen_1 misplaced block
  • plains_animal_pen_3 misplaced blocks
  • Comparator in compare mode can schedule unneeded tileticks
  • Small cleanup for skylight propagation code
  • Referencing empty item tag in recipe can crash client
  • Jack o'Lantern doesn't come after Carved Pumpkin in Creative Inventory
  • Baby piglins that pick up leather don't despawn, cluttering the Nether with unnecessary baby piglins
  • Border chunks do not enforce neighbors to be loaded, causing light updates to get stuck
  • ReplaceBlobsFeature changed from 1.16.1 to 1.16.2, affecting Basalt Delta generation
  • If the angle in /spawnpoint is set to ±infinity, and the player dies, it will kick the player, and upon rejoin will crash the game
  • Making piglins and piglin brutes angry at certain entities (like dropped items) crashes the game
  • Drowned navigation causes memory leak / performance degredation



Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.