Damage types

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Damage is any means by which unit's current health can be reduced. Heroes, creeps, ancients, Roshan and fountains are all capable of dealing damage.

Damage sources[edit | edit source]

Damage can be dealt by attacks, abilities and items. Attack damage is the damage dealt per attack, and is displayed on the sword icon in the HUD. Heroes start off with a basic damage plus 1 extra damage per point of primary attribute. As heroes level up, they gain primary attributes and therefore gain damage. Items that grant increased "Damage" increase attack damage, and do not affect abilities and items. Abilities and items can also deal damage. These are generally fixed. However, some abilities can be upgraded with Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter, while others scale with hero stats, conditions or enemy hp etc.

Damage types[edit | edit source]

All forms of damage in Dota 2 are classified by damage types. There are 3 primary damage types: Physical, Magical, and Pure. Physical Damage can be reduced by Physical Armor or Damage Block, Magical Damage can be reduced by Magical Damage Resistance, while Pure Damage cannot be reduced by either armor or magical damage resistance. All 3 primary damage types have some interaction with other damage-related game mechanics as noted in the table below. There are two additional damage types that can reduce a unit's current health: HP Removal and Negative Regeneration; however, these two types are unaffected by almost all other damage-related game mechanics.

Game Mechanic Damage Type's Interaction with the Mechanic
Physical Attacks Physical Abilities Magical Pure Other
Armor reduced reduced normal normal normal
Damage Block reduced normal1 normal normal normal
Magic Resistance normal normal reduced normal normal
Ethereal no effect no effect amplified normal normal
Evasion may miss normal normal normal normal
Blind may miss normal normal normal normal
Damage amplification2 amplified amplified amplified amplified normal
Damage reduction2 reduced reduced reduced reduced normal
Damage negation2 no effect no effect no effect no effect normal
Anti-Magic Shell normal normal no effect normal normal
Invulnerability no effect no effect no effect no effect depends3
Spell Immunity depends4 depends4 depends4 depends4 normal

1 Exceptions: The Swarm icon.png The Swarm, Earth Splitter icon.png Earth Splitter and Omnislash icon.png Omnislash

2 These categories only count ability effects which directly manipulate damage, reducing, amplifying or completly blocking them, such as Bloodrage icon.png Bloodrage, Bristleback ability icon.png Bristleback and Refraction icon.png Refraction. They do not include abilities which amplify or reduce damage by increasing/reducing magic resistance/armor of units, such as Veil of Discord icon.png Veil of Discord, Spell Shield icon.png Spell Shield, Amplify Damage icon.png Amplify Damage and Warcry icon.png Warcry.

3 Some source of HP removal are coded to not harm invulnerable units, but some are able to harm them through invulnerability.

4 By itself, Spell Immunity does not interact with any damage type. All spells are rated as to whether or not they can pierce spell immunity independent of their damage type. Thus, spell immunity only governs if a spell will have any effect, not how much damage it will inflict. To receive no effects from a spell, the spell must not pierce Spell Immunity and the target would require both Spell Immunity and 100% damage reduction of the damage type the spell inflicts.

Physical[edit | edit source]

Physical Damage can be inflicted by regular attacks from all units (including structures), and by certain abilities. Physical damage is modified by both armor and damage block, is unaffected by magic resistance, and cannot affect ethereal units.

Physical damage is further divided into attack type categories that modify damage based on the target's armor type. All physical damage is affected by both armor and armor type. For example, piercing damage deals 150% damage to unarmored units (such as lane creeps) but only 50% damage to heroes. Such resistances are applied in addition to resistance from armor value. A full list of the attack types of creeps and summoned units can be found here. (Table of attack and armor types)

The only exception to this is damage from cleave, which is reduced by armor type and damage block but not by armor value. Practically speaking this means armor is worthless against cleave damage. Splash (from ranged attacks) is reduced as normal.

The abilities Guardian Angel icon.png Guardian Angel and Cold Embrace make their targets completely immune to physical damage, although they can still be targeted by attacks and abilities.

Effective physical damage by attack type and armor type

Armor Type
Unarmored Light Medium Heavy Fortified Hero
Normal 100% 100% 150% 125% 70% 75%
Pierce 150% 200% 75% 75% 35% 50%
Siege 100% 100% 50% 125% 150% 75%
Chaos 100% 100% 100% 100% 40% 100%
Hero 100% 100% 100% 100% 50% 100%

Balance changelog[edit | edit source]


  • Changed piercing damage to heavy armor to 75% from 100%


  • Chaos damage now does 40% damage to fortified (down from 50%)


  • Chaos Damage now does same as hero damage to structures, 50% instead of 100%

Attack damage formula[edit | edit source]


  • Focus Fire icon.png Focus Fire is considered general damage multiplier in the formula.

Physical damage abilities[edit | edit source]

Physical damage from abilities are treated as Hero damage, and deals full damage to all units except for structures and siege creeps. Damage from abilities can be reduced by armor value and some by damage block, but will not trigger abilities that check for attacks such as Counter Helix icon.png Counter Helix. Such abilities cannot be evaded. The following abilities deal physical damage. Ward abilities are not listed.

Acid Spray icon.png Alchemist - Acid Spray Unstable Concoction icon.png Alchemist - Unstable Concoction
Mana Break icon.png Anti-Mage - Mana Break1 Counter Helix icon.png Axe - Counter Helix
Wild Axes icon.png Beastmaster - Wild Axes Shadow Walk icon.png Bounty Hunter - Shadow Walk
Quill Spray icon.png Bristleback - Quill Spray Return (Centaur Warrunner) icon.png Centaur Warrunner - Return
Searing Arrows icon.png Clinkz - Searing Arrows Poison Touch icon.png Dazzle - Poison Touch
Shadow Wave icon.png Dazzle - Shadow Wave Exorcism icon.png Death Prophet - Exorcism
Diffusal Blade icon.png Diffusal Blade (3150) - Feedback1 Earth Splitter icon.png Elder Titan - Earth Splitter2 3
Echo Stomp icon.png Elder Titan - Echo Stomp2 Sleight of Fist icon.png Ember Spirit - Sleight of Fist1
Omnislash icon.png Juggernaut - Omnislash3 Diabolic Edict icon.png Leshrac - Diabolic Edict
Feast icon.png Lifestealer - Feast1 Entangling Claws (Spirit Bear) icon.png Lone Druid - Spirit Bear - Entangling Claws
Mana Break (Necronomicon Warrior) icon.png Necronomicon - Necronomicon Warrior - Mana Break1 Vendetta icon.png Nyx Assassin - Vendetta
Eye of the Storm icon.png Razor - Eye of the Storm Backstab icon.png Riki - Backstab1
Bash (Roshan) icon.png Roshan - Bash1 Shadow Blade icon.png Shadow Blade (2800) - Shadow Walk1
Silver Edge icon.png Silver Edge (5450) - Shadow Walk1 Bash icon.png Slardar - Bash1
Slithereen Crush icon.png Slardar - Slithereen Crush Headshot icon.png Sniper - Headshot1
Land Mines icon.png Techies - Land Mines Suicide Squad, Attack! icon.png Techies - Suicide Squad, Attack!
Meld icon.png Templar Assassin - Meld Anchor Smash icon.png Tidehunter - Anchor Smash
Fury Swipes icon.png Ursa - Fury swipes1 Nethertoxin icon.png Viper - Nethertoxin1
The Swarm icon.png Weaver - The Swarm3

1 Damage is directly added to the unit's attack damage.

2 Half of damage dealt is physical.

3 Damage is blocked by Damage Block.

Magical[edit | edit source]

Magical Damage is caused primarily by spells, although not all do magic damage. Magic damage is reduced by magic resistance, and deals higher damage against ethereal units. The majority of abilities in Dota 2 deal magical damage.

All abilities not explicitly listed under another damage type section inflict magical damage.

Pure[edit | edit source]

Pure Damage is a damage type that is not reduced by magic resistance nor amplified by magical damage amplification like Veil of Discord icon.png Veil of Discord or Ancient Seal icon.png Ancient Seal. It also fully ignores armor and damage block. However, it can be reduced or amplified by skills which reduce/amplify every damage type, like Dispersion icon.png Dispersion or Soul Catcher icon.png Soul Catcher. Pure damage affects spell immune units (since spell immunity doesn't block damage by itself), but that does not mean that a spell with pure damage can target spell immune units (eg Brain Sap icon.png Brain Sap deals pure damage, but cannot be cast on spell immune units). It does not affect invulnerable units. The following abilities deal pure damage:

Mist Coil icon.png Abaddon - Mist Coil1 Brain Sap icon.png Bane - Brain Sap
Nightmare icon.png Bane - Nightmare Blade Mail icon.png Blade Mail (2200) - Damage Return
Blood Rite icon.png Bloodseeker - Blood Rite Rupture icon.png Bloodseeker - Rupture
Test of Faith icon.png Chen - Test of Faith Doom ability icon.png Doom - Doom
Impetus icon.png Enchantress - Impetus Midnight Pulse icon.png Enigma - Midnight Pulse
EMP icon.png Invoker - EMP Sun Strike icon.png Invoker - Sun Strike
Laguna Blade icon.png Lina - Laguna Blade2 Summon Spirit Bear icon.png Lone Druid - Summon Spirit Bear3
Mystic Snake icon.png Medusa - Mystic Snake4 Spiked Carapace icon.png Nyx Assassin - Spiked Carapace
Purification icon.png Omniknight - Purification Arcane Orb icon.png Outworld Devourer - Arcane Orb
Stifling Dagger icon.png Phantom Assassin - Stifling Dagger Sun Ray icon.png Phoenix - Sun Ray
Meat Hook icon.png Pudge - Meat Hook Sonic Wave icon.png Queen of Pain - Sonic Wave
Glaives of Wisdom icon.png Silencer - Glaives of Wisdom Desolate icon.png Spectre - Desolate
Psi Blades icon.png Templar Assassin - Psi Blades Chakram icon.png Timbersaw - Chakram
Timber Chain icon.png Timbersaw - Timber Chain Whirling Death icon.png Timbersaw - Whirling Death5
Laser icon.png Tinker - Laser Urn of Shadows icon.png Urn of Shadows (875) - Soul Release
Wave of Terror icon.png Vengeful Spirit - Wave of Terror

1 Mist Coil deals pure damage to the caster, but magical damage to the target.

2 Laguna Blade deals pure only when upgraded by Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter, else it deals magical damage.

3 When the Spirit Bear dies, Lone Druid takes 10% of his max hp as pure damage.

4 Mystic Snake deals pure damage to units turned into stone by Stone Gaze icon.png Stone Gaze, and magical damage to all others.

5 Whirling Death deals pure damage if it cuts trees within its 300 radius on the same cast, else it deals magical damage.

Flags[edit | edit source]

Several abilities are flagged certainly, so that they behave differently in certain situations. There are 2 different flags: The HP removal flag and the No-reflection flag. All spells can be flagged, regardless of what damage type they use.

HP Removal flag[edit | edit source]

Spells flagged as HP Removal fully ignore any form of damage manipulation (with a few exceptions listed below), means they cannot be amplified, reduced or blocked except by magic resistance incase of magical damage and armor incase of physical damage. They also ignore and do not trigger any on-damage effects, making them unable to cancel consumables for example. Almost every spell flagged as HP removal deals pure damage. The HP removal flag also causes damage to ignore invulnerability, however, this is not the always the case.

This flag is usually used on instantly killing effects (this includes the expiring summoned units or expiring dominated units with e.g. Enchant icon.png Enchant, or summons dying due to re-summoning), on spells which damage the caster (as health cost) or as a damage delaying effect.

The following abilities instantly kill units (usually by dealing their current or max health as damage). Their damage type is pure, flagged as HP removal:

Ice Blast icon.png Ancient Apparition - Ice Blast1 Culling Blade icon.png Axe - Culling Blade1
Bloodstone icon.png Bloodstone (4900) - Pocket Deny2 Primal Split icon.png Brewmaster - Primal Split3
Holy Persuasion icon.png Chen - Holy Persuasion4 Death Pact icon.png Clinkz - Death Pact5
Glimpse icon.png Disruptor - Glimpse6 Devour icon.png Doom - Devour5
Demonic Conversion icon.png Enigma - Demonic Conversion5 Hand of Midas icon.png Hand of Midas (2050) - Transmute5
Helm of the Dominator icon.png Helm of the Dominator (1800) - Dominate4 Sacrifice icon.png Lich - Sacrifice5
Hex (Lion) icon.png Lion - Hex6 Mana Drain icon.png Lion - Mana Drain6
Summon Spirit Bear icon.png Lone Druid - Summon Spirit Bear3 Stone Gaze icon.png Medusa - Stone Gaze6
Divided We Stand icon.png Meepo - Divided We Stand7 Supernova icon.png Phoenix - Supernova3
Life Drain icon.png Pugna - Life Drain6 Scythe of Vyse icon.png Scythe of Vyse (5650) - Hex6
Hex (Shadow Shaman) icon.png Shadow Shaman - Hex6 Suicide Squad, Attack! icon.png Techies - Suicide Squad, Attack!2

1 These spells kill their targets instantly when their health is below the threshold. Although their regular damage type is magical, the killing blow is pure.

2 These spells instantly kill the caster.

3 When all 3 brewlings die, Brewmaster is instantly killed. Same applies to Phoenix (and the allied hero inside) when the Supernova dies and the the Spirit Bear (without Aghanim's Scepter upgrade) when Lone Druid dies.

4 Upon exceeding the max number of allowed units, the oldest persuaded or dominated unit is instantly killed. Dominated units are also instantly kiled upon losing the item.

5 These spells instantly kill the target.

6 These spells instantly kill targeted illusions.

7 When one Meepo dies, all other Meepoes are instantly killed.

The following abilities use HP removal to create a health cost effect. They are not lethal so units cannot die to them. Their damage type is pure as well, flagged as HP removal:

Armlet of Mordiggian icon.png Armlet of Mordiggian (2320) - Unholy Strength Burning Spear icon.png Huskar - Burning Spear
Overcharge icon.png Io - Overcharge Fire Spirits icon.png Phoenix - Fire Spirits
Icarus Dive icon.png Phoenix - Icarus Dive Sun Ray icon.png Phoenix - Sun Ray
Soul Ring icon.png Soul Ring (800) - Sacrifice Soul Rip icon.png Undying - Soul Rip1

1 Units within a radius around Undying (allies and enemies alike) unwillingly pay health for the spell.

The following abilities are flagged as HP removal for other means, mostly to create a delayed damage effect. Only very few spells which just deal damage are flagged as HP removal, so they do not cancel consumables. As such, not all of their damage types are pure:

Ghostship icon.png Kunkka - Ghostship1 Heartstopper Aura icon.png Necrophos - Heartstopper Aura2
False Promise icon.png Oracle - False Promise1 Dispersion icon.png Spectre - Dispersion5
Sunder icon.png Terrorblade - Sunder3 Poison Sting icon.png Venomancer - Poison Sing4
Envenomed Weapon (Vhoul Assassin) icon.png Vhoul Assassin - Envenomed Weapon4 Time Lapse icon.png Weaver - Time Lapse3

1 These abilities delay damage. The delayed damage is pure and has the hp removal flag.

2 Heartstopper Aura was supposedly changed to be negative regeneration. However, as evidenced by the game files, its damage type is still pure, flagged as HP removal.

3 These spells set a unit's health to a certain value. This value can be lower than their current health.

4 These are the only spells which have the HP removal flagged which deal magical damage. As such, they are still affected by magic resistance and magical damage barriers.

5 Dispersion's damage is based on the received damage type, so it can be physical, magical and pure.

No-reflection flag[edit | edit source]

The no-reflection flag causes every spell which has the flag to not interact with the damage of spells which also have the flag. This is to prevent infinite damage loops (for example 2 opposing heroes with Blade Mail icon.png Blade Mail).

Ultimately, the below listed spells can never proc each other due to the flag. Besides these, Bloodrage icon.png Bloodrage also does not amplify outgoing damage which has the no-reflection flag and Sticky Napalm icon.png Sticky Napalm does not proc on flagged damage.

The following sources of damage are flagged

Blade Mail icon.png Blade Mail (2200) - Damage Return Spiked Carapace icon.png Nyx Assassin - Spiked Carapace
Corrosive Skin icon.png Viper - Corrosive Skin Fatal Bonds icon.png Warlock - Fatal Bonds

Removed Damage Types[edit | edit source]

The following damage types were removed in patch 6.82 to simplify the game mechanics.

Composite[edit | edit source]

Composite damage (also known as mixed damage) was a damage type that was reduced by both armor and magic resistance. It pierced spell immunity and did not affect ethereal units. This damage type was used by Acid Spray icon.png Acid Spray, Wild Axes icon.png Wild Axes, Diabolic Edict icon.png Diabolic Edict, Summon Spirit Bear icon.png Summon Spirit Bear's backlash damage, Land Mines icon.png Land Mines and Suicide Squad, Attack! icon.png Suicide Squad, Attack!. All of them were changed to physical damage, except for the backlash damage from the Spirit Bear, which was changed to pure damage.

Universal[edit | edit source]

Universal damage was a damage type that pierced spell immunity and was affected by magic resistance. This damage type was previously used by Pulverize (Earth) icon.png Pulverize, Doom ability icon.png Doom, Echo Slam icon.png Echo Slam's initial damage only, Midnight Pulse icon.png Midnight Pulse, Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter upgraded Laguna Blade icon.png Laguna Blade, March of the Machines icon.png March of the Machines, and Flaming Fists (Warlock's Golem) icon.png Flaming Fists. Doom, Midnight Pulse, Flaming Fists and Aghanim's Scepter upgraded Laguna Blade were changed to deal pure damage, allowing them to still pierce spell immunity, while Pulverize, Echo Slam's inital damage and March of the Machines were changed to deal magical damage, and thus no longer pierce spell immunity.