We all know the old rule of thumb. Dig down to about Y=11 and build a branch mine with two rows of blocks between each tunnel. That’s because in the old ore distribution system, diamond, redstone, iron, lapis lazuli, and gold were all found in significant quantities at this one level. There was no variety in block height aside from the much newer copper which was more likely to be found around Y=48. All of this was changed with the release of Minecraft 1.18 and that remains true today in 1.20. Let’s dig into the changes and explain where lapis lazuli is now found.
What Did Minecraft 1.18 Change?
Just about everything, it turns out. The build height is now 320 with blocks found as high as 256. Y=0 is no longer roughly the layer of bedrock. Instead you can dig as deep as Y=-64. That’s a whole lot of new blocks to fill!
In an attempt to make things more diverse and reward the exploration of different biomes, Mojang has completely rebalanced ore generation. That means you’ll need to target different world heights for the various materials going forward.
What is the Best Level/Height to Find Lapis Lazuli?
Lapis Lazuli used to appear between about Y=0 and Y=28. The distribution of lapis increased as you approached Y=15 or so, meaning around there was the best place to dig. Most people just used the aforementioned Y=11 approach, however, because it contained enough lapis alongside better odds for all other materials.
Now the ore starts generating at Y=-64, at bedrock, all the way up to Y=64. That’s a huge range to cover. An increase up to 128 levels in comparison to the 28 levels from before. If you’re cave mining and not branch mining, you can literally explore anywhere in those zones to find what you need. However, there is a secondary distribution of lapis lazuli from Y=-32 to Y=32 with a peak at Y=0. If you’re setting up a branch mine for the purposes of lapis farming, Y=0 is where you want to dig.
An important change, however, is the added effect of reduced air exposure. From a technical standpoint, this means when the world is being generated and a lapis ore block is about to be placed in a location where it would be exposed to open air (like in a cave), there’s a chance that the ore will be skipped instead. In short, this means there is a higher chance of finding lapis lazuli if you’re mining. If you’re the type of player who prefers to delve in caves and only mine what you visually come across, you’re going to get fewer lapis lazuli.
If you don’t know what level you’re at, hit F3 to display your current information and look for the XYZ values. This is also where you can confirm you’re in a mountain biome.
At this level you should also be able to find a small amount of diamonds and emerald (only in mountain biomes), gold, copper, and redstone. You may also bump your head on the occasional coal block.
Want to see the changes for yourself? Here’s the official ore distribution map from Mojang.
It’s a bit hard to parse, but you see that blue triangle in the comparison? That means lapis lazuli ore slowly increased in number as you approached Y=15. In the new distribution on the left, the ore is now static between T=-64 and Y=64 and also becomes more prevalent around Y=0 because of the second, reduced air exposure distribution.
While you’re here you can use that chart to figure out where to get the other ore types, but we’ll also be writing up guides to help decipher it all since it can be a big confusing. You can find our explanation for diamond ore here and our iron ore guide here.