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.
- 1 Damage sources
- 2 Damage classification
- 3 Flags
- 4 Damage manipulation
- 5 Removed damage types
- 6 Version history
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.
Attack damage is dealt by regular physical attacks. It is influenced by a couple of factors such as the value of the attack damage itself, the according attack damage types, armor and the armor types, damage block and others.
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 14 intelligence points (which is 0.07% 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.
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 attack damage
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.
Physical spell damage
Physical damage from abilities (and theoretically items) 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 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 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
- Jakiro – Macropyre2
- 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 and Macropyre deal pure damage only when upgraded by Aghanim's Scepter/by the respective level 25 talent, else they deal 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.
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
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
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:
There are several ways to affect the final value of a damage instance. Damage can be manipulated on both ends, from the dealing unit (outgoing damage) and the receiving unit (incoming damage). Armor and magic resistance are the most common damage manipulators, affecting incoming physical and magical damage respectively (no similar trait exists for pure damage). They usually reduce damage, but can also amplify it if their values are negative. Spell damage amplification is the main trait for amplifying (but not for reducing) outgoing spell damage (no similar trait exists for attack damage). Besides these, there are some other ways to manipulate damage, ranging from amplifying damage, reducing damage and even negating damage completely.
Removed damage types
The following damage types were removed in patch 6.82 in order to simplify the game mechanics.
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 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.
- Removed Strong armor type.
- Moved the following units to the soft armor type (effectively 125%->100% from basic damage, 75%->150% from pierce damage and 125%->100% from siege damage): All neutral creeps, Eidolon, Skeleton Warrior, Treant, Greater Treant, Forged Spirit, Spiderling, Spiderite, Boar, Lycan Wolf, Spirit Bear, Plague Ward, Techies' mines and Psionic Trap.
- Moved the following units to the hero armor type (effectively 125%->75% from basic damage, 75%->50% from pierce damage and 125%->85% from siege damage): Earth, Storm and Roshan.
- Siege damage against heroes increased from 75% to 85%.
- Removed the Light attack type and moved the following units to the Standard attack type (effectively 40->50% vs structures): Centaur Conqueror, Hellbear, Hellbear Smasher, Wildwing Ripper, Satyr Tormenter, Ancient Granite Golem, Ancient Black Dragon, Forge Spirits, Spiderlings, and Warlock's Golems.
- Removed the Weak armor type (effectively 200->150% from piercing damage) and moved the following unit to the Soft armor type (same as creeps): Beastmaster's Hawk.
- Removed the Basic armor type (effectively 150%->125% from basic damage and 50%->125% from siege damage) and move the following units to the strong armor type (like various other neutrals use): Kobold Soldier, Vhoul Assassin, Ghost, Hill Troll Berserker, Hill Troll Priest, Harpy Scout, Harpy Stormcrafter, Beastmaster's Boar, Undying's Tombstone, Pugna's Nether Ward, Templar Assassin's Psionic Trap, Techies' Land Mine, Stasis Trap, and Remote Mine.
- Composite and universal damage types removed to simplify the game mechanics.
- Composite damage 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 damage 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.
- 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%.