New Minecraft: Java Edition snapshot tests new Caves and Cliffs Update features

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

What you need to know

  • The next major update for Minecraft is going to be the Caves and Cliffs Update, coming later next year.
  • The update will be absolutely massive, and testing has already begun for some of its features.
  • A new Minecraft: Java Edition snapshot builds on features tested in an earlier snapshot, with some new changes and additions.
  • The new snapshot includes powder snow, a trap-like block that slows down entities inside, and slowly freezes them.

Minecraft players are quickly building up more and more excitement for Minecraft's next massive release, the Caves and Cliffs Update, releasing sometime in Summer 2021. Tests have already begun for some Caves and Cliffs features for Minecraft's various editions, and Snapshot 20w46a is available now for Minecraft: Java Edition, building on top of the first snapshot that tested Caves and Cliffs Update features. The new update doesn't include a ton of changes, but it does incorporate powder snow and its unique features for players to try out.

Powder snow is a new trap-like block in Minecraft, that slows down and halts any entity unlikely enough to sink into it. Entities that become trapped in powder snow will become frozen over time, and take freeze damage if they're not able to escape. Players will be able to don leather armor to prevent becoming trapped, and lessen or negate freezing damage entirely. This is certainly a unique block, and it's exciting to be able to try it out in person.

If you're interested, you can find out how to enroll in Minecraft: Java Edition snapshots. And, of course, Minecraft continues to be one of the best games for kids on Xbox, or whatever other platform you're playing on.

The full changelog for Minecraft: Java Edition Snapshot 20w46a includes:

New features

  • Added powder snow

Powder snow

  • Powder Snow is a trap block that causes any entity that walks into it to sink in it
  • You can pick up and place powder snow with a bucket
  • Wear leather boots to prevent yourself from sinking into powder snow blocks
  • Leave a cauldron outside in falling snow and it will fill with powder snow


  • Standing in powder snow will slowly freeze an entity
  • Once frozen, freeze damage is done every few seconds to the frozen entity
  • Each piece of leather armor warn causes an entity to freeze more slowly
  • Wearing a full set of leather armor prevents freezing entirely


  • The range in which a lightning rod attracts lightning has been doubled
  • Copper blocks are now crafted from four copper ingots
  • Sky color now varies smoothly when moving between different biomes
  • Buttons that change value (like Difficulty) can now be controlled with mouse wheel
  • Clicking on button that changes value while holding shift key changes to previous value
  • "Debug" world type can now be accessed while holding alt key (was shift)


Changed a number of the textures for blocks and items introduced in the previous snapshot:

  • Cut copper
  • Lightning rod
  • Calcite
  • Amethyst block
  • Budding amethyst block
  • Tinted glass
  • Candle item icons
  • Copper ingot item icon
  • Amethyst shard item icon
  • Bundle item icon

Technical changes

  • Removed /replaceitem command
  • Added /item command
  • Added item modifiers, which reuse loot table functions syntax to describe item modification in /item command
  • Data pack version is now 7
  • Loot tables can now access scoreboard values by UUID
  • Loot table values inside random number generators can now be nested
  • Default mode of structure blocks is now Load. Data is now hidden (but can be accessed by clicking mode button while holding alt key)

Item modifiers

  • The function part of loot tables can now be defined as separate data pack resource in item_modifiers directory
  • Such files can contain a single function (i.e single JSON object) or an array of functions


  • ITEM
  • Modifies item or block inventory
  • This command has three forms:
    • /item <target> replace <item stack> [<count>] - same as old replaceitem
    • /item <target> modify <modifier> - modifies item (without copying).
    • /item <target> copy <source> [<modifier>] - copies item for source to target(s), optionally applying modifier
  • Possible sources and targets:
    • entity <selector> <slot>
    • block <x> <y> <z> <slot>

Loot tables

  • New conditions
  • Checks range of value
  • Parameters:
    • value - see "New value providers" section (currently combination of random generators and score)
    • range - min / max range
  • Changed conditions
  • entity parameter has now been replaced with target
  • It can either contain value from old entity field (like this) or be an score holder name in form {"name": "..."}
  • Changed functions
  • This function now has add parameter. If true, change will be relative to current damage. If false, damage will be replaced with current value (default behavior)
  • This function now has add parameter. If true, change will be relative to current item count. If false, item count will be replaced with current value (default behavior)
  • source parameter can now be set to {"storage": <namespaced id>}, to access command storage
  • New functions
  • Modifies enchantments on item
  • Parameters:
    • enchantments - map of enchantment id to level value (can be score or random number)
    • add - if true, change will be relative to current level. If false, level will be replaced with current value (default behavior)
  • New value providers
  • Returns scaled scoreboard value
  • Parameters:
    • score - scoreboard name
    • target - same as target in score predicate
    • scale - scaling factor (float)

Data packs

  • Changes to data packs for version 7:
    • Removal of /replaceitem (replaced with /item replace)
    • score loot table condition: entity parameter has been replaced with target

Resources packs

  • Changes to resource packs for version 7:
    • Drowned texture mirroring has changed
    • Slots for the game mode selector are now 26 pixels instead of 25

Bug fixes

  • TNT animation ends at 80 ticks, ignores fuse length changes
  • Endermen don't attack endermites spawned using spawn eggs or /summon
  • Inconsistency between block names
  • As of 1.9, the wither health bar doesn't go up during spawn
  • Cannot remove horse saddle using /replaceitem
  • Using empty map in creative mode can create additional map with ID 0
  • Crafting via the recipe book can delete items if picking up items while crafting
  • Additional map is created when using an empty map in Creative in a newly created world
  • block.minecraft.banner.base.<color> displays raw translation string (is untranslated)
  • Gamemode switcher icons in the F3+F4 menu are not centered
  • Min and max are both required in entity_scores condition
  • Kelp generates on top of Magma Blocks
  • Food pops off of campfire when extinguished
  • LAN World screen buttons are selected in the wrong order when using Tab
  • "Off" is not completely capitalized for the Distortion Effects and FOV Effects sliders, which is inconsistent with other sliders
  • Pufferfish gives poison IV instead of II
  • Creating a superflat world with nothing but air crashes the game
  • Crash when clicking "Presets" after setting the superflat preset with a non-existent biome
  • Shulker boxes animate when shulkers do
  • Decorations don't generate in the Nether
  • Unable to pick up experience orbs
  • Arm when using Spyglass aligned wrong on Multiplayer
  • Amethyst buds do not drop themselves with silk touch
  • Command modified bundle has a bigger progress bar than a slot
  • Cats & Ocelots are missing one of their legs
  • Some mobs won't despawn when switched to peaceful
  • The armour stand model floats above its base
  • Levitation particles go on forever when killed by a levitating creeper
  • Floating creepers / creeper with no AI



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.