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, while others scale with hero stats, conditions or enemy health etc.
Damage classification[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|
|Ethereal||no effect||no effect||amplified||normal|
|Damage negation2||no effect||no effect||no effect||no effect|
|Magical damage barrier||normal||normal||no effect||normal|
|Invulnerability||no effect||no effect||no effect||no effect|
2 These categories only count ability effects which directly manipulate damage, reducing, amplifying or completely 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, Corrosive Haze and 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 has any effect, not how much damage it inflicts. 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. All sources of spell immunity also provide 100% magic resistance to the unit (similar to Fate's Edict), so a magical damage spell which pierces spell immunity, although technically still fully applying its damage, deals 0 damage to spell immune units, due to the 100% magic resistance it gains from spell immunity. A 0 damage instance is still registered and may proc on-damage effects. If a spell does not pierce spell immunity, then it does not attempt to damage the target in the first place, so that no 0 damage instance occurs.
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 and 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]
Attack damage types[edit | edit source]
Physical damage done by attacks is further divided into 4 attack damage types 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 creeps' attack type being "siege" and the ranged creeps' 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, but none by evasion and Damage Block (except for Moon Glaive and The Swarm, which are affected by Damage Block).
- Alchemist - Acid Spray
- Alchemist - Unstable Concoction
- Anti-Mage - Mana Break1 2
- Battle Fury - Cleave2
- Beastmaster - Wild Axes
- Bounty Hunter - Shadow Walk
- Bristleback - Quill Spray
- Centaur Warrunner - Return
- Clinkz - Searing Arrows
- Dazzle - Poison Touch
- Dazzle - Shadow Wave
- Death Prophet - Exorcism2
- Diffusal Blade - Manabreak1 2
- Dragon Knight - Elder Dragon Form splash2
- Elder Titan - Earth Splitter3
- Elder Titan - Echo Stomp3
- Ember Spirit - Sleight of Fist1 2
- Juggernaut - Omnislash
- Kunkka - Tidebringer2
- Leshrac - Diabolic Edict
- Lifestealer - Feast1 2
- Luna - Moon Glaive4
- Magnus - Empower (cleave and splash)2
- Necronomicon Warrior - Mana Break1 2
- Nyx Assassin - Vendetta
- Razor - Eye of the Storm
- Riki - Cloak and Dagger1 2
- Roshan - Bash1 2
- Shadow Blade - Shadow Walk1 2
- Silver Edge - Shadow Walk1 2
- Slardar - Bash of the Deep1 2
- Slardar - Slithereen Crush
- Sniper - Headshot1 2
- Spirit Bear - Entangling Claws
- Sven - Great Cleave2
- Templar Assassin - Meld
- Tidehunter - Anchor Smash
- Tiny - Grow cleave2
- Ursa - Fury swipes1 2
- Viper - Nethertoxin1 2
- Weaver - The Swarm4
1 Damage is directly added to the unit's attack damage.
2 Damage from these abilities is 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 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 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 deals pure damage, but cannot be cast on spell immune units). It does not affect invulnerable units.
The following abilities deal pure damage:
- Abaddon - Mist Coil1
- Axe - Counter Helix
- Bane - Brain Sap
- Bane - Nightmare
- Bloodseeker - Blood Rite
- Bloodseeker - Rupture
- Chen - Test of Faith
- Doom - Doom
- Enchantress - Impetus
- Enigma - Midnight Pulse
- Enigma - Black Hole
- Invoker - Sun Strike
- Iron Talon - Chop
- Lina - Laguna Blade2
- Lone Druid - Summon Spirit Bear backlash
- Medusa - Mystic Snake3
- Nyx Assassin - Spiked Carapace
- Omniknight - Purification
- Outworld Devourer - Arcane Orb
- Pudge - Meat Hook
- Queen of Pain - Sonic Wave
- Silencer - Glaives of Wisdom
- Spectre - Desolate
- Templar Assassin - Psi Blades
- Timbersaw - Chakram
- Timbersaw - Chakram
- Timbersaw - Timber Chain
- Timbersaw - Whirling Death4
- Tinker - Laser
- Urn of Shadows - Soul Release
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 Mystic Snake deals pure damage to units turned into stone by Stone Gaze, and magical damage to all others.
4 Whirling Death deals pure damage if it cuts trees within its 300 radius on the same cast, else it deals magical damage.
Spell damage[edit | edit source]
Spell damage is all damage which is not dealt by physical attacks. This includes all spells which deal magical, physical or pure damage. Even the damage dealt by attack modifiers counts as spell damage, as long as the effect deals its damage in a separate instance from the attack damage.
For heroes, spell damage is amplified based on their intelligence, gaining 1% of amplification per 16 intelligence points (which is 0.0625% per intelligence). Besides intelligence, spells can also be amplified with Aether Lens. The damage amplification sources stack all additively. The amplification does not only affect spell damage dealt against enemies, it also causes damage afflicted to allies or the own unit to get amplified.
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 always the case.
This flag is usually used on instantly killing effects (this includes expiring summoned as well as with Enchant dominated units, and 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 - Pocket Deny2
- Brewmaster - Primal Split3
- Chen - Holy Persuasion4
- Clinkz - Death Pact5
- Disruptor - Glimpse6
- Doom - Devour5
- Enigma - Demonic Conversion5
- Hand of Midas - Transmute5
- Helm of the Dominator - Dominate4
- Juggernaut - Omnislash5
- Lich - Sacrifice5
- Lifestealer - Consume5
- Lion - Hex6
- Lion - Mana Drain6
- Lone Druid - Summon Spirit Bear3
- Medusa - Stone Gaze6
- Meepo - Divided We Stand7
- Mirana - Sacred Arrow5
- Phoenix - Supernova3
- Pugna - Life Drain6
- Scythe of Vyse - Hex6
- Shadow Shaman - Hex6
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 Instantly kills 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. Omnislash only instantly kills non-player controlled units, except Roshan.
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 usually not lethal so units cannot die to them. Their damage type is pure as well, flagged as HP Removal:
1 Blast Off!'s self-damage is flagged as HP Removal and is lethal.
2 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 them deal pure damage:
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.
Besides all sources of damage manipulation, the following abilities and items do not react on damage which has the HP Removal flag:
- Aegis of the Immortal - Expire Restore
- Bane - Nightmare
- Batrider - Sticky Napalm
- Blade Mail - Damage Return
- Blink Dagger - Blink
- Bloodthorn - Soul Rend
- Bottle - Regenerate
- Bristleback - Bristleback
- Broodmother - Spin Web
- Clarity - Regenerate Mana
- Elder Titan - Echo Stomp
- Healing Salve - Regenerate Health
- Heart of Tarrasque - Health Regeneration
- Invoker - Cold Snap
- Keeper of the Light - Recall
- Lifestealer - Open Wounds
- Mjollnir - Static Charge
- Monkey King - Tree Dance
- Monkey King - Mischief
- Nyx Assassin - Spiked Carapace
- Octarine Core - Spell Lifesteal
- Orchid Malevolence - Soul Burn
- Regeneration Rune - Regeneration
- Spirit Bear - Return
- Tidehunter - Kraken Shell
- Urn of Shadows - Soul Release
- Viper - Corrosive Skin
- Visage - Soul Assumption
- Visage - Gravekeeper's Cloak
- Warlock - Fatal Bonds
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 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:
Removed damage types[edit | edit source]
The following damage types were removed in patch 6.82 in order 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, 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 initial damage and March of the Machines were changed to deal magical damage, and thus no longer pierce spell immunity.
Balance changelog[edit | edit source]