Minecraft Xbox 360's latest update is out tomorrow, which means you've got somewhere in the region of 24 hours to become a master of all things alchemical and sorcerous. Now, now - screaming and running in circles won't help anybody. Put the chair down! We've got your back in the form of (a) our previously published guide to the best Minecraft Xbox 360 enchantments, and (b) the below guide to potion-brewing.
Like enchantments, potions are designed to give Minecraft more of an RPG-feel, allowing the player in need of a chemical fix to boost his or her attributes in various ways. If you're more interested in lowering the attributes of your enemies, you can also combine potions with Gunpowder to create what are, in effect, really nasty grenades.
To brew potions, you'll need a Brewing Stand, and to make a Brewing Stand, you'll need to be tough enough to venture into the Nether and beat up a few of the new Blaze mobs. Not familiar with Blazes? They're toughened clusters of magma and ash which fly and spit unblockable fireballs. Not exactly the kind of thing you want to bump into while you're exploring the inside of a volcano. Pro tip: snowballs are surprisingly effective against Blazes, so make sure you scoop up a few before heading through the portal.
Blazes drop Blaze Rods, and one Blaze Rod plus three Cobblestone blocks equals a Brewing Stand. To make a potion, you'll need three Water Bottles (made by combining three glass blocks, then waggling the results at a water source) or existing potions plus an ingredient. Mixing in Nether Wart produces the Awkward Potion, which has no effect by itself, but serves as a basis for all other potions. You can also brew up Mundane and Thick potions from water, but the range of potion types they provide access to is comparatively limited.
It's possible to craft scores of different potions by experimenting with item formulae. Once you've concocted a potion, you can optimise the effects further with modifying ingredients. Glowstone Dust increases the potency of the potion, Redstone increases the duration of its effects, and Fermented Spider Eye is used to reverse the potion's effect (e.g. "Swiftness" becomes "Slowness").
There's a handy diagram of potion combinations over at the Minecraft wiki. Being the community-spirited fellow that I am, I've singled out a few that seem particularly useful. 4J has yet to confirm that all potions currently available to Minecraft PC owners will be present in the next Minecraft Xbox 360 update, so take the below with a pinch of salt.
Potion of Poison
Made by adding a Spider Eye to an Awkward Potion. Enhance it with Redstone and Gunpowder to create a throwable poison bomb which inflicts up to 96 points of damage over two minutes. It won't actually finish off the target, however, so make sure you're around to land the killing blow.
Potion of Invisibility
Made by adding a Golden Carrot to an Awkward Potion to create a Potion of Night Vision, then blending the latter with Fermented Spider Eye. Add in some Redstone to extend the duration to eight minutes, and bear in mind that you'll still be visible to hostile mobs while you're wearing armour. Given a bit of Gunpowder, Invisibility Potions can also be applied to friendly and passive mobs. Invisible Snow Golems, people!
Potion of Swiftness
Sugar plus an Awkward Potion results in a concoction that not only increases your movement speed and jumping distance, but also expands your field of view. We're looking forward to finding out how much damage this does to the frame rate. And also, to doing Minecraft Superman impressions.
Potion of Night Vision
As you'd expect, this hikes up the brightness of your surroundings, and is thus a good pick if you're journeying into Abandoned Mineshaft and can't be faffed with torches. We're not sure whether it affects Void Fog, the artificially induced gloom that kicks in as you get closer and closer to the bedrock.
For more about the forthcoming Minecraft Xbox 360 update, read our round-up of most anticipated features. The End hasn't made the cut, sadly, but you can expect it in title update 8.