Minecraft 1.9 Combat Update – Feature Overview

Minecraft 1.9 Combat Update - Feature Overview - McModder.net

The Minecraft 1.9 Combat Update was officially released after a week of pre-releases and bugfixing. It features a plethora of new stuff to play with. If you haven’t been keeping up with the changes, or just need a reminder, look no further because we’re looking at the main features it brings to the table…

Combat Update

Unsurprisingly, the Minecraft 1.9 Combat Update features huge changes to the combat system. The most noticeable change is the addition of an offhand slot that shows up right next to the armor slots. Putting an item in the offhand slot will make it show up in your non-dominant hand and be completely usable with the mouse right-click. For example, if you put a torch in there, you can place them down while still having your pickaxe ready for mining.

Minecraft 1.9 Combat Update - Feature Overview - McModder.net

To accompany this change, Mojang also added a new item – the shield. It’s the perfect offhand item for hardcore battles as it allows you extra protection. You can combine it with a banner to give it a cool pattern. The Combat Update also features some more subtle changes to combat, like changes to armor protection levels and the effectiveness of tools as weapons (for example, axes will be slow and strong while hoes will be quick but weak).

Minecraft 1.9 Combat Update - Feature Overview - McModder.net

To spice up ranged combat, the Combat Update features new arrow types – potion tipped arrows. These come with a variety of lingering effects from attack reduction to plain old damage over time. There are also spectral arrows that “mark” the struck entity (mob/player) and give them an outline which can be seen through walls and even when the entity is invisible.

Minecraft 1.9 Combat Update - Feature Overview - McModder.net

There’s some new enchantments too, the most exciting of which is Frost Walker. This new enchantment, obtainable only through enchanted books that spawn in loot chests around the world, allows you to walk on water by freezing it in a radius of 3 blocks around you. The ice then melts away over a couple of seconds, making this a nice perk, but not something that you can abuse to farm ice.

Anyway, Elytra are really freaking cool and you can do amazing stunts with them. They also have the potential to revolutionize multiplayer combat in some situations like castle sieges. We’ll see what the community makes of this amazing new feature.

World Generation Changes

There are two main changes to world generation when it comes to the overworld. The first is that strongholds are no longer limited to 3 per world, but can now spawn up to 128 times in a world. This change should make many multiplayer fans very happy.

minecraft-1-9-combat-update-igloo

The second main change is actually an addition of a new structure that generates in cold biomes – the igloo. These tiny white houses are fully furnished and sometimes even have a hidden basement with some creepy stuff going on – a zombie villager and a witch await inside, so that should explain that part.

Snapshot News Igloos 15w45a - McModder.net

New Blocks and Items

The Combat Update also adds a plethora of new items and blocks, some of which I’ve already mentioned as a part of the other features. However, three additional new goodies require special attention:

Minecraft 1.9 Combat Update - Feature Overview - McModder.net

  • Roads can now be made from grass/dirt blocks by right clicking with a shovel. They provide a speed boost and have a special new neat texture
  • Purpur is a new type of stone block that spawns in End cities and has regular, brick, and slab varieties
  • Beetroots are a new crop found in villages that can be crafted into stew

Boats 2: The Boatening

Moving onto boats, they’ve received a full rework, adding versions of the boat for all wood types as well as completely changing how they work by adding paddles. They should act less clunky now and this hopefully means they will be used more since previously they were too buggy and slow to be useful.

Snapshot News - Flying and reworked boats are here! - McModder.net

Boats are now controlled using the A and D keys by default, and not using the camera and W. Yes, that does mean you can finally look around without turning the boat! The keys correspond to each paddle so if you want to go right you have to paddle with A for the left paddle. Holding both keys will move you purely forward faster that before, topping out at the speed of sprinting.

Snapshot News - Flying and reworked boats are here! - McModder.net

Captions and New Sounds

A new system has also been added that allows captions aka subtitles to function within Minecraft. This can be useful in lots of scenarios, for example for people with hearing problems, or to no longer be extremely prone to creeper sneak attacks while listening to music.

Snapshot News Igloos 15w45a - McModder.net

It’s a great feature and it’s about time it made it’s way in. If the picture above does not explain it well enough, there’s a very neat short gfy Dinnerbone posted to showcase how it works.

But captions aren’t the only new sound addition in town as a ton of new sounds were added to the game for all kinds of things from enemies to ambient effects. Play the Combat Update to experience them all first-hand!

Technical Stuff

While we’ve covered most of the cool shiny new features, the 1.9 Combat Update was not just about those – there’s a ton of bugfixes and optimizations done to make the game run better, there’s changes to command blocks and resource packs and various other things that will benefit the talented creators our community has and allow them to do cool new things.

Still no word on the modding API, though…


That’s about it for the Minecraft 1.9 Combat Update. I’ve tried to cover most of the main things you should know about, but there’s plenty more. While Mojang’s blog post isn’t very in-depth, redstonehelper (a legend among mortals) over on the Minecraft subreddit has compiled everything into a giant delicious list of changes, so for more details – and I do mean even the nitty gritty changes you would probably never even notice – head on over to his chain of comments.

We hope you’ve found this feature overview informative, and encourage you to stick around and stay tuned for even more Minecraft news, as well as our usual mod reviews and other cool stuff!

The Minecraft 1.9 Combat Update can be downloaded using the Minecraft launcher.

Like always, feel free to discuss the update and voice any feedback you might have in the comment section below.