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Taking Inventory: Armor Stand

Greave for your old armor sets

When you upgrade your armor in Minecraft, you’ve got several choices for what to do with the dirty, sweaty old set that you’re removing. You could throw it in the sea and never speak of it again. You could toss it in a chest and forget about it. But why not celebrate the triumphs it brought you by putting it in pride of place in your home? For that, you’ll need our item of the month – the armor stand.

Armor stands were added to Minecraft in the Bountiful Update, released almost a decade ago in September 2014. Wow, suddenly I feel old. When originally added they looked like a weird wooden stick figure, but they’ve been upgraded a bunch of times since and if you haven’t built one in a while then I’d definitely recommend checking out its new features.

“What features?” I hear you cry. Well, armor stands can be used to store wearable items like armor, mob heads, carved pumpkins and elytra for safe-keeping. They’re easy to use – just hold the thing you want to store, point at the armor stand, and hit the “use” key. To get back, point at it and hit the “use” key again.

But that’s not all. Armor stands can be pushed by pistons, moved by flowing water, bounced by slime blocks, and pulled with fishing rods. Oh, and unlike most Minecraft items they obey gravity – falling when the block underneath them is removed. If you put enchanted armor on them, the effect is usually disabled but Frost Walker, Depth Strider, and Thorns enchantments will still work.

If you’re comfortable using the /summon command (and if not, what a good excuse to learn it!) then you can create armor stands with arms, and in all kinds of poses – including with the ability to equip and dual-wield weapons. Perfect for creating a row of terrifying unliving warriors outside your base to scare away foes. There’s a good guide on the unofficial (but very helpful) Minecraft wiki.

To make one, you only need sticks and a wooden slab. Pretty easy. But if even that is too much for you, you can also steal one from an armory in a taiga village – as well as the iron helmet and chestplate that they’re holding.

In the real world, armor stands have likely been around since shortly after the invention of armor – when someone needed somewhere to put their armor after they took it off, so it didn’t just corrode in a pile on the floor. 

The earliest proof of body armor being used is found on the Stele of the Vultures – an artifact found in what is today Iraq but dating back to around 4,000 years ago – which shows various battle scenes and celebrates a victory of the city-state of Lagash over its neighbor Umma.

It’s likely that humans were wearing and storing body armor long before that – it was just made of non-metallic substances that have long-since rotted away. And the stands they used would likely have rotted away too. So it’s probable that we’ll never know when armor stands were originally invented, and so we’ll have to just be grateful that they exist today. Thanks, armor stands!

Duncan Geere
Duncan Geere

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