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Block of the Week: Blackstone

A darker shade of cobblestone

Cobblestone is (let’s be honest) no-one’s favourite block. During the course of survival play you end up with so much of it that it gets boring fast, even though it inevitably finds its way into almost every build, often to fill empty space in between prettier blocks.

But it does play a vital role in Minecraft – serving as the basis for an entire tier of tools and weaponry. This became a problem when we were designing the Nether update. We wanted to make sure people could still supply themselves with the equipment they were accustomed to, especially on longer trips to the fiery dimension. But there’s no stone in the Nether, so we needed a new solution. Enter our block of the week – blackstone. 

Blackstone only generates naturally in the Nether. You’ll find it under the lava ocean, in Bastion remnants, in veins near the bottom of the world, and all over the place in basalt deltas biomes. You’ll need a wooden pick or better to mine it out. In a pickle without a pick? Trade with the piglins – some will happily part with blackstone in exchange for gold. 

You might be wondering what you can do with Blackstone. Well – as promised – you can make stone tools and weapons out of it. You can also make furnaces and brewing stands, as well as stairs, walls and slabs. It can be polished up into polished blackstone, which can then also be chiseled. In Java Edition it can even be used to repair stone tools in an anvil. 

But blackstone is more brittle than regular cobblestone, so it can’t be used to make things with complex internal moving parts, like levers, pistons, dispensers, droppers or redstone components. It also can’t be used to make andesite or diorite, as they’re Overworld minerals. Sorry, but that’s just the way that geology works. 

In the real world, blackstone is not actually the name of any type of mineral but it is a common place, company and family name in the English – speaking world. It’s particularly common in Chicago – which has a Blackstone Hall, Blackstone Hotel, and Blackstone Library. 

But perhaps the world’s strangest “blackstone” is Chicago magician “The Great Blackstone” who wowed crowds of the early 20th century. He performed the vanishing bird cage illusion, the sawing a woman in half illusion, and most notably his signature piece – the floating lightbulb, where he’d take a bulb out of a lamp and float it, still glowing, through a small hoop and then out over the heads of the audience.  

So next time you’re feeling creative and need to wow your friends on your Minecraft server, try recreating Blackstone’s illusion with a command block and a redstone lamp. They’re sure to be impressed! 

Duncan Geere
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Duncan Geere

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