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, 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|
|Ethereal||no effect||no effect||amplified||normal||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|
2 These categories only count ability effects which directly manipulate damage, reducing, amplifying or completly blocking them, such as Bloodrage, Bristleback and Refraction. They do not include abilities which amplify or reduce damage by increasing/reducing magic resistance/armor of units, such as Veil of Discord, Spell Shield, Amplify Damage and 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.
Effective physical damage by attack type and armor type
Balance changelog[edit | edit source]
Attack damage formula[edit | edit source]
- 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. Such abilities cannot be evaded. The following abilities deal physical damage. Ward abilities are not listed.
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 or 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 or 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 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, 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, 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, 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:
|Ancient Apparition - Ice Blast1||Axe - Culling Blade1|
|Bloodstone (4900) - Pocket Deny2||Brewmaster - Primal Split3|
|Chen - Holy Persuasion4||Clinkz - Death Pact5|
|Disruptor - Glimpse6||Doom - Devour5|
|Enigma - Demonic Conversion5||Hand of Midas (2050) - Transmute5|
|Helm of the Dominator (1800) - Dominate4||Lich - Sacrifice5|
|Lion - Hex6||Lion - Mana Drain6|
|Lone Druid - Summon Spirit Bear3||Medusa - Stone Gaze6|
|Meepo - Divided We Stand7||Phoenix - Supernova3|
|Pugna - Life Drain6||Scythe of Vyse (5650) - Hex6|
|Shadow Shaman - Hex6||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 (2320) - Unholy Strength||Huskar - Burning Spear|
|Io - Overcharge||Phoenix - Fire Spirits|
|Phoenix - Icarus Dive||Phoenix - Sun Ray|
|Soul Ring (800) - Sacrifice||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:
|Kunkka - Ghostship1||Necrophos - Heartstopper Aura2|
|Oracle - False Promise1||Spectre - Dispersion5|
|Terrorblade - Sunder3||Venomancer - Poison Sing4|
|Vhoul Assassin - Envenomed Weapon4||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.
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).
Ultimately, the below listed spells can never proc each other due to the flag. Besides these, Bloodrage also does not amplify outgoing damage which has the no-reflection flag and Sticky Napalm does not proc on flagged damage.
The following sources of damage are flagged
|Blade Mail (2200) - Damage Return||Nyx Assassin - Spiked Carapace|
|Viper - Corrosive Skin||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, Wild Axes, Diabolic Edict, Summon Spirit Bear's backlash damage, Land Mines and 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, Doom, Echo Slam's initial damage only, Midnight Pulse, Aghanim's Scepter upgraded Laguna Blade, March of the Machines, and 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.