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The Shield is a Minecraft defense tool that has replaced "Sword Blocking" as of the 1.9 update. Only one type of shield currently exists. However, it is possible to customize a shield using a banner. Banner patterns are not proportionate to the shield, however, so the design will display on the shield differently than on the banner.
A player may equip a shield in a special armor slot. Once equipped, a player can right-click to raise the shield and block incoming attacks from enemy mobs or players. Attacks coming fron within a 180° radius in front of the player will be blocked. In close range, it is possible to deflect arrows with a shield, directing them back at the enemy who fired said arrow, making it both a defensive and offensive tool in these situations. A player's movement speed is decreased while the shield is raised.
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