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"Minecraft": 5 Overlooked Building Blocks to Add Variety to Your World

Daniel is an avid Minecraft player, who has been playing since 2011.

Minecraft is a world of near-infinite blocks and possibilities. While some blocks are used far more frequently than others (think Oak wood versus Red Sandstone), with a little resourcefulness and imagination, all blocks can find a place in a builder's palette. This article is going to take a look at five blocks that may not get as much love as others, some of which many players may not even realize exist. These blocks are difficult to obtain, extremely rare to find, and/or take many steps to craft, but they all have one thing in common: they add variety to any Minecraft world. So grab your pickaxe, and let's dig a bit deeper into five overlooked building blocks to add variety to your world.

An example of a build using Red Nether Brick.

An example of a build using Red Nether Brick.

#5 - Red Nether Bricks

In Minecraft, the Nether is a dangerous, somewhat scary, dimension where it pays to be cautious. Among the Zombie Piglins, the Ghasts, and the Hoglins lies a near endless amount of netherrack. Easy and quick to mine, netherrack is often used to create Nether Bricks. However, if you add two nether wart (which can be found inside of Nether Fortresses and farmed using Soul Sand) to two Nether Bricks, you wind up with Red Nether Brick blocks. These blocks retain all of the qualities of Nether Brick: they are highly blast resistant, fire proof, and can be crafted into stairs, slabs, and walls. It is their rich, deep red coloring which makes Red Nether Brick an excellent alternative to regular brick or Nether brick blocks. However, obtaining enough nether wart to craft large amounts of Red Nether Bricks can be quite difficult, and so many players never go to the lengths required to use these bricks. If you go through the effort of starting a nether wart farm, though, I can assure you that it will be worth it. Red Nether Bricks mesh well with stone, deepslate, and most wood types, making them an excellent addition to any block palette.

Warped Fungus Slabs and Stairs are used as a roof on this Gas Station build.

Warped Fungus Slabs and Stairs are used as a roof on this Gas Station build.

#4 - Crimson/Warped Fungus and Hyphae

While we're on the subject of the Nether, lapsed players may not have heard that the Nether was the subject of a Minecraft update in 2020. The 1.16 update brought new biomes to the Nether. These include the Crimson and Warped Fungus Forests. These forests are named for the Warped and Crimson Fungus that grows in each biome, which can be crafted into warped and crimson planks that function as a source of wood in the Nether.

The main difference between fungus and wood planks is that Fungus planks are fire-proof, making them an excellent building material for safely building in the Nether. However, the true reason for acquiring these blocks is the beautifully textured blocks that can be crafted from them.

Warped fungus planks have a deep teal color, whereas Crimson fungus planks have a deep, faded red hue. Fungus planks can also be crafted into all of the same items as wood, such as doors, slabs, stairs, and trapdoors. They can also be crafted into six-sided Hyphae blocks, which share the same color and animated texture of the Fungus blocks, but on all six-sides. These blocks are great for adding color, detail, and life to many Minecraft builds.

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Smooth Stone Slabs used as a foundation block on this Museum build.

Smooth Stone Slabs used as a foundation block on this Museum build.

#3 - Smooth Stone Slabs

Whereas Warped and Crimson Fungus are relatively new blocks, Smooth Stone Slabs have been in Minecraft since very early in the development of the game. Smooth Stone was added in Minecraft Beta 1.3, making it among the oldest blocks in the game. However, because it takes smelting stone into smooth stone before crafting into slabs, these blocks often get overlooked by many builders. It is worth going through the effort to craft these blocks, though, as Smooth Stone Slabs are among the most unique blocks in the game. Placing two of these slabs on top of one another does not create a Smooth Stone block, but has it's own double-brick texture that is unlike any other double-slab in the game. Personally, I wish more blocks (such as smooth sandstone slabs) would act like this, as there are not nearly enough brick types in the game for my liking.

In addition to this unique behavior, the Smooth Stone Slab works in many different color palettes. The neutral, gray coloring of smooth stone makes them an excellent way to accent many different combinations of blocks. This versatility makes them useful in several building styles, such as industrial, residential, and even in more abstract builds.

Bone blocks have an interesting texture that can resemble siding, as shown in this farmhouse.

Bone blocks have an interesting texture that can resemble siding, as shown in this farmhouse.

#2 - Bone Block

Bone blocks are a rarely-used block in building, because it can be difficult to get enough bones to craft into blocks. However, if someone were to go through the effort of finding a skeleton spawner and creating a farm, they would be gifted an endless supply of bones. And what a gift!

Bone blocks are an interesting block, with their off-white, textured appearance, and their ability to be faced in specific directions like wood blocks. These unique characteristics make bone block one of the most useful of the white blocks in Minecraft. The smooth side of a bone block does a great job of simulating the look of plastered walls, making it highly useful for interior decoration, while the other sides of the block have a circular texture that works well for detailing a build.

Dead Brain Coral blocks are used as the foundation of this house, in place of stone.

Dead Brain Coral blocks are used as the foundation of this house, in place of stone.

#1 - Dead Coral Block

Coral blocks are very rare and non-renewable, making them a seldom-used block for building purposes. These blocks can often be difficult to find, as they only generate in warm ocean biomes. They can also be obtained through trading with a wandering trader, but this can become quite expensive as each single block costs one emerald. There are many different variations of coral, though, each with a unique texture that truly add variety to any Minecraft world.

Builders will often use living coral to decorate aquariums and other underwater scenes, to beautiful effect. While living coral blocks are colorful and interesting to look at, dead coral blocks can be even more useful as a building material. Dead coral blocks all bear a strong resemblance to cobblestone, but with greater texture and color variation. This makes them an excellent substitute in builds where cobblestone would usually be used, but with a more interesting look. Dead coral blocks have a slight reddish shade to them, that can make for some interesting palettes when combined with terracotta, concrete, or several other blocks.

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