Minecraft Block Types

Minecraft Profile | Survival Guide | Monsters | Block Types | Controls

 

Minecraft features randomly generated worlds consisting entirely of blocks. Since your character's continued existence depends on crafting things with said blocks -- at least in the game's monster-filled survival mode -- it's important to know which types are worth gathering and which should stay put. What follows is a list of the various block types you'll encounter in your ​Minecraft travels and what you can do with them.

01
of 21

Dirt

Caucasian teenage boy using computer
Eric Raptosh Photography/Getty Images

Yes, dirt actually comes in blocks, not clumps or piles, so you don't need a backhoe or bulldozer to shape the world in Minecraft -- a shovel will do just fine. You can either transform the land by digging out dirt blocks or simply use the soil to plant things. You can also use blocks to create a makeshift shelter, but only if you're desperate -- dirt's neither durable nor particularly attractive.

Primary use: farming.

02
of 21

Wood

Wood is quite easy to come by in Minecraft, as the blocks will spring forth from trees once you've started bashing (with your fists) or chopping (with an axe). Wood is the most important building block early in the game, as you'll use it to create charcoal and planks. Charcoal is a fuel type and a key component in creating torches.

Planks are not only a favorite among punitive pirates, but they also make serviceable structures in Minecraft. Yet the most important use of planks is for making crafting tables. A crafting table is essential in Minecraft since it allows you to make advanced items like tools. Planks can also be converted into sticks for crafting torches, arrows, swords and bows.

Primary uses: building, crafting.

03
of 21

Stone

Another plentiful block type, stone is a versatile building block that can be used to create just about anything you can think of, from walls and roads to statues and fences. Stone blocks can also be used to make buttons and pressure plates for more elaborate (re: evil genius) designs.

Primary uses: building, crafting.

04
of 21

Sand

Sand is one of the few block types that actually follows the laws of gravity, making it difficult to use for building things. It does, however, have several other interesting functions in Minecraft. Sand is the principle ingredient used in creating glass for windows and TNT for blowing things to smithereens. You can also make a sturdier block type, sandstone, with four blocks of sand

Primary use: crafting.

05
of 21

Gravel

Another block type affected by gravity, gravel can be used for converting pools of water into land, sealing off caves, creating makeshift stairways, and for other building projects that don't require the strength or durability of stone. You can break gravel blocks to obtain flint, a key component in making arrows and for crafting the fire-starting flint and steel tool.

Primary use: building.

06
of 21

Clay

While clay looks similar to stone blocks, it has a smoother texture and often appears near bodies of water and sand. Clay by itself can be used for building, but it's more useful to break the blocks into clay pieces for making bricks.

Primary use: crafting.

07
of 21

Ice

Useful if you've always wanted to build your very own Fortress of Solitude. Just make sure you keep it away from fire or you'll be left with a Fortress of Slopitude.

Primary use: building.

08
of 21

Snow

Snow blocks can also be used to create forts, but a more comical use of the white blocks is for creating snowballs. Snowballs can only be thrown and don't cause any damage, but they can knock back creatures with a well-timed hit.

Primary use: recreation.

09
of 21

Cobblestone

Commonly found in Minecraft's underground dungeons, cobblestone is easily recognized by its surface, which looks like multiple stones stuck together. It otherwise has the same general uses as normal stone. One key difference is that cobblestone is needed to build furnaces, which gives you the power to smelt items to create new objects.

Primary uses: building, crafting.

10
of 21

Sandstone

Featuring the look of sand but the durability of stone, sandstone is a fantastic choice for building structures that look like something from Ancient Egypt. Pyramids, anyone?

Primary use: building.

11
of 21

Moss Stone

Moss stone is essentially fungus-covered cobblestone, with green streaks of moss growing atop the stone's surface. It is exclusively found in Minecraft's dungeons, and it functions like cobblestone.

Primary use: building.

12
of 21

Obsidian

Obsidian is an extremely durable, distinctive-looking block type that is only found near lava. Ten obsidian blocks are used to create a purple-hued portal to Minecraft's underworld realm, the Nether.

Primary uses: building, portals.

13
of 21

Coal Ore

Coal ore can be identified by black flecks on what otherwise looks like a stone block. You'll usually find it anywhere you'll find stone -- particularly in mountains, caves and cliffs. Each coal ore block generates coal for use in creating torches, smelting things in a furnace and powering mine carts.

Primary use: crafting

14
of 21

Iron Ore

Iron ore, identified by tan flecks on a grey block, is found deep underground. Smelting iron ore in a furnace will generate iron ingots used to make stronger types of armor, tools and weapons. An iron ingot is also required to make the flint and steel tool, which will allow you to start fires at will without having to master pyrokinesis.

Primary use: crafting.

15
of 21

Gold Ore

Gold ore is needed to make gold ingots, used for the same purposes as iron but with less durable results. You can also use the ingots to create gold blocks, for a more decadent look to your palatial estate. Of course, you'll be the only one in the world to admire it, as monsters don't seem all that impressed by overt displays of wealth.

Primary uses: building, crafting.

16
of 21

Diamond Ore

Diamond ore generates diamonds, surprisingly enough, which is the strongest material available for crafting armor and tools. While you can also create diamond blocks with the diamonds, they're impractical for building since the ore is so rare. Keep digging deep underground until you find the block type, which features light blue flecks on its surface.

Primary use: crafting.

17
of 21

Redstone Ore

Grey blocks with crimson flecks are redstone, a relatively common ore type that has several interesting uses. Destroying this ore block will generate redstone dust, used to build various mechanical contraptions in Minecraft. Some of the objects you can create with the dust include a compass, clock and wire, which when combined with pressure plates and buttons, activate doors and other devices.

Primary use: crafting.

18
of 21

Lapis Lazuli Ore

If you see a grey block with dark blue flecks, it's Lapis Lazuli, a rare ore that contains blue dye when broken. Use the blue dye to create Smurf-blue blocks, blue wool, and so forth.

Primary use: crafting.

19
of 21

Netherrack

As suggested by its name, Netherrack is exclusively found in the Nether. A reddish version of moss stone, netherrack is a nice block to use if you want to build an imposing structure with blood-like walls.

Primary use: building.

20
of 21

Soul Sand

This Nether-exclusive block type behaves in a manner similar to quicksand, slowing those who cross over it. Soul sand doesn't have much practical use in a residential application, but as a trap or defense, it works quite well. If you have to have enemies, it's best that they have a difficult time trying to reach you.

Primary use: building traps.

21
of 21

Glowstone

Found only in the Nether, glowstone gets its name from its light-emanating blocks.

Primary use: building.