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Lazy bone zone

The 1.16 update has made the Nether much cooler. Instead of endless chunks and chunks and chunks of Netherrack and lava, you’re now able to explore a collection of weird and wild new biomes!

The traditional Nether is still there, in the Nether Wastes biome, but has been joined by Crimson Forests, Basalt Deltas, Warped Forests, and the Soul Sand Valley – which is the biome we’re featuring today.

An aura of silence and stillness haunts this place. Plants are nonexistent in the somber soul sand and soul soil, except for the occasional patch of crimson roots here and there.

The Soul Sand Valleys must have seen better days, though – there are ginormous fossils all over the biome that must have once been a part of gigantic creatures that roamed the land. “Those fossils weren’t easy to implement,” explains former Mojang developer Maria Lemon. “Things that worked well in the Overworld like placing a premade structure had to be reinvented and done again when doing it in the Nether.”

Whatever vast beasts those skeletons belonged are long-gone today, replaced by skeletons, Ghasts and the occasional Strider. Interestingly, you’ll also find Endermen tourists here, suggesting that perhaps there’s something they’re looking for...

The Soul Sand Valleys are, obviously, the ideal place to collect some soul sand. It’s also the only place in the game where soul soil can be collected – a new block that doesn’t slow mobs down, can be lit on fire to make soul fire, and allows for the creation of basalt. Soul soil is also a crafting ingredient for soul torches and soul campfires, and can be used in place of soul sand to spawn a Wither.

You’ll find huge pillars of basalt in the Soul Sand Valley, as well as glowstone, magma blocks, lava springs, gold ore, quartz ore, and ancient debris. There are Nether fortresses and bastions to be found in this biome too, so tread carefully!

Despite the rich pickings in terms of resources, it’s hard to suggest setting up home in a Soul Sand Valley. Sure, you’re unlikely to fall into a lava sea – but the commonly-found Ghasts and Endermen mean that any shelter you build is unlikely to last very long. It’s a place to get in, get what you need and then get out before you attract too much attention.

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