Damage types

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

Damage sources[edit]

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 health etc.

Attack damage[edit]

Main Article: Attack damage

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[edit]

Main Article: Spell damage

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.

Spells can be amplified with Null Talisman icon.png Null Talisman, Kaya icon.png Kaya, Kaya and Sange icon.png Kaya and Sange, Yasha and Kaya icon.png Yasha and Kaya and Bloodstone icon.png Bloodstone. 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.

Another effect making exclusive use of spell damage is Octarine Core icon.png Octarine Core's Spell Lifesteal.

Damage classification[edit]

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
Damage amplification2 amplified amplified amplified amplified
Damage reduction2 reduced reduced reduced reduced
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
Spell immunity normal depends3 depends3 depends3

1 The only exceptions are Moon Glaives and The Swarm, whose damage is blocked.

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 icon.png Veil of Discord, Counterspell, Corrosive Haze, and Battle Cry.

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. A 0 damage instance is still registered and may proc on-damage effects (unless it is flagged as HP Removal). 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[edit]

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[edit]

Physical damage from abilities (and theoretically items) is usually unaffected by armor type. The exceptions are Exorcism and physical damage abilities that add their damage directly to the hero's attack, which have the hero attack damage type, dealing 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 Glaives and The Swarm, which are affected by Damage Block).

The following hero abilities deal physical damage (summoning abilities and simple attack damage buffs are not listed):

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 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. 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. Laser 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 Burning Spear and Macropyre deal pure damage only when taking their respective level 25 talent, else they deal magical damage.

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


Several abilities have certain flags that cause them to 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]

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 and magical damage barriers in case of magical damage and armor in case of physical damage, which is also reduced by damage block. They also ignore and do not trigger any on-damage effects, making them unable to cancel consumables for example. Most spells flagged as HP Removal deal pure damage. The HP Removal flag also causes damage to ignore invulnerability, however, this is not always the case. Even when flagged, the damage is still registered as such and may be counted by statistics as damage.

Note: Not all source of health loss are damage. Several abilities which reduce a unit's health without triggering on-damage effects do so by directly setting a unit's health to specific values. Unlike damage with the HP removal flag, these health manipulation truly bypass any on-damage effect and are not registered as damage at all. For more details, see Health setting.

The following abilities use the HP removal flag

1 These abilities delay damage. The delayed damage is pure and has the HP Removal flag.

2 Blast Off! deals magic damage flagged as HP removal to the caster.

3 Soul Rip deals magic damage flagged as HP removal to secondary units.

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]

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

The following sources of damage have the no-reflection flag:

The following spells do not react on damage which has the no-reflection flag:

Instant kill[edit]

Besides damage, a unit may also be killed with the instant kill mechanic, without the actual use of damage. Similar to HP Removal, instant killing effects ignore almost everything and can only be prevented by a few spells.

Summoned units and illusions that expire after a set amount of time are killed with the instant kill mechanic. Summons and illusions that get replaced on cast are killed this way as well. The instant kill mechanic cannot bypass the min health mechanic by default. Instantly killing abilities which do bypass it do it with the help of special interactions coded into the abilities.

The following abilities use the instant kill mechanic

Spells using Instant Kill

Damage manipulation[edit]

Main Article: Damage manipulation

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[edit]

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More pages for my Black Grimoire!
This article or section contains content that has been removed from the game or store, or has never been released. It exists solely for archival purposes.

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 icon.png 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.

Version history[edit]

  • Fixed the armor damage multiplier being 0.07 since 7.06, instead of 0.06.
  • 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%.