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. Damage may also have the HP Removal flag, causing the damage to ignore some mechanics which would manipulate it otherwise.

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

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

Attack damage[edit | edit source]

Main article: Attack damage

Attack damage is dealt by regular physical attacks. The formula to calculate the exact value is displayed below:

Physical damage types[edit | edit source]

Main article: Attack damage types

Physical damage is further divided into 4 attack damage type that modify damage based on the target's armor type (from which there also are 4 different types). All physical damage is affected by both armor and armor type. For example, siege creeps do increased damage (150%) against structures, while ranged lane creeps do very little damage to them (35%). This is due to the siege creep's attack type being "siege" and the ranged creep's type being "pierce". Siege type is most effective against structure armor type, while pierce damage is the least effective type against it.

Physical damage abilities[edit | edit source]

Physical damage from abilities is usually unaffected by armor type, as they are not considered to be attacks. There are some exceptions to this. However, if a physical damage ability adds its damage directly to the hero's attack damage, then it is treated like hero attack damage and thus affected by armor types. The hero attack damage type deals 50% to structure armor type (used by all buildings and siege creeps), and 100% to all other types. They are all affected by armor value, some by damage block, but none by evasion. The following abilities deal physical damage. Summoned units (including wards) are not included.

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

2 Damage from these abilities are affected by armor type as well.

3 Half of damage dealt is physical, the other half magical.

4 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 does not block damage by itself), but that does not mean that a spell with pure damage can target spell immune units (e.g. 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:

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 in case of magical damage and armor in case 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:

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 to 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 killed upon losing the item.

5 These spells instantly kill the target. Sacred Arrow only instantly kills when it is a non-hero, non-ancient creep.

6 These spells instantly kill targeted illusions.

7 When one Meepo dies, all other Meepos 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:

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:

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.

Besides all sources of damage manipulation, the following abilities and items do not react on damage which has the HP Removal flag.

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

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%