South-East rule

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The South-East Rule is an unintentional mechanic in Minecraft wherein various effects occur based on compass rose directions. Generally, these effects occur in a South-East variant. This rule was formerly known as the South-West Rule, as in a prior update the sun's rotation was changed. It could be better described as the Z-X-Rule because in the current version, south is in Z+ direction and east is in X+ direction. Referring to the coordinates applies to all Minecraft version, since these axes weren't changed.

  • Unpowered tracks will curve south or east when they are initially placed at a "T" intersection or a "+" intersection.
  • Sometimes, Villagers will try to cram into any house that is mostly in the southern-eastern area of the village.
  • Mobs being spawned by spawn eggs or monster spawners will always appear to be facing the southern direction. This also goes for utility mobs (Iron golems, snow golems, and the Wither) as well as newborn baby animals.
  • TNT cannons tend to fire farther when facing east or south. Designs that don't account for spread also exhibit horizontal drift eastward/southward as well.

This mechanic may be used to help build simple railways and predict minecart travel.

Furthermore, this mechanic may also be used to help determine direction without the use of a compass, if one is in the Nether and it does not function properly, or if the player is underground without a compass and cannot see the sun. Since a compass does not determine direction, merely direction towards the spawn point, which in SMP one might wish to find another player's base which would require use of a compass.


1.6 Prevented dispensers from firing arrows, eggs, or snowballs through a solid block right next to the dispenser if the dispenser is facing west or south.
Official release
1.0.0 Beta 1.9-pre4 Changed the South-West rule to the South-East rule.


  • The debug screen displays direction using the value "f" under coordinates such that 0 is South, 1 is West, 2 is North and 3 is East.
  • Trees in the Nether warp when grown, and this warping is parallel to a line going south-east.
  • Other consistent directional behaviors are listed on the Trivia: Block Orientation page.