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Great Cleave icon
▶️ No room to swing a cat in this crowd.

Cleave causes a Melee melee unit's attacks to deal a portion of its damage in an area in front of it.



Sven minimap icon Sven cleaving through a creep wave.

Cleave causes the unit's attack to deal damage in a trapezoid in front of the attacking unit. The damage is based on the unit's total attack damage values. Cleave can only be used by Melee melee units, Ranged ranged units cannot cleave by default.

Cleave area

Cleave damage is applied in a trapezoid shape.

Cleave does not affect the primary target, and it cannot miss when hitting secondary targets. However, a missed attack does not cleave. Cleave hits invisible, but not hidden or invulnerable units, and does not work against wards and buildings.


Multiple sources of cleave on the same unit work fully independently of each other. Each source applies its full damage within its area, without interacting with the other cleave sources.

Example 1
Sven minimap icon Sven with level 4 Great Cleave icon Great Cleave, has level 4 Empower icon Empower buff and Battle Fury icon Battle Fury would deal 3 different instances of cleave damage on each attack to units, with each instance using its own starting radius, distance and end radius in front of him.

Ability Draft[]

Main Article: Ability Draft

Ranged Ranged heroes are unable to cleave. The cleave-granting ability either has its cleave part disabled for them, or the ability is unobtainable by them. An attack is classified as Melee melee when the attack does not rely on projectiles.

If a game mode allows ranged heroes to obtain the normally unobtainable cleave abilities (e.g. Ability Draft), these cleave sources (e.g. Tidebringer icon Tidebringer and Great Cleave icon Great Cleave) fully work for them. The cleave area, just like for melee heroes, is based on the attacking unit's position and happens on attack hit. This means the cleave damage is always applied in front of the attacking hero, even when the target was much further away.


Cleave's damage type is physical and is entirely based on the unit's total attack damage (before reductions). Its damage pierces spell immunity and is fully affected by damage manipulation.

While cleave damage is considered spell damage, certain flags are applied to it:

Area of Effect[]

Cleave area

Great Cleave icon Great Cleave area of effect visualized.

The area of effect for cleave sources is shaped like an isosceles trapezoid. This trapezoid is in front of the attacking unit, so that the attacking unit is always at the center of the shorter side of the trapezoid.

Double the starting radius equates to the length of the shorter side of the trapezoid, the cleave distance equates to its height, and double the ending radius equates to the long side parallel to the short side of the trapezoid.

Attack Modifier Interactions[]

Main Article: Attack Modifier

Although cleave is an attack modifier, it works independently on itself and does not interfere with any other attack modifier.

For example, the armor reducing effect of Corruption applied to the primary attacked target does not increase the cleave damage, despite the target receiving extra damage from armor reduction. However, if an attack modifier increases the total attack damage (e.g. Critical Strike), it affects the cleave damage.

Some abilities which grant conditional attack damage bonuses may or may not be included in the cleave damage. The following is a list of abilities that are taken into account by cleave:

Cleave Sources[]

1 Requires Talent talent.
2a Requires Aghanim's Scepter icon Aghanim's Scepter.
2b Requires Aghanim's Shard icon Aghanim's Shard.
3 Tidebringer icon Tidebringer is not affected by Battle Fury icon Quell.


Cannot be used by illusions. Not disabled by Break.
Talent icon
There is no description for this ability.
Starting Radius: 150
Distance: 650
End Radius: 360
Cleave Damage: Varies

  • Cleave damage has the following properties:
    • It counts as spell damage. However, it has the following flags:
    • Cleave damage depends on the attack damage value of the cleaving unit, not on how much their primary attack target took. It is reduced by damage block.
  • The complete cleave area is shaped like an isocseles trapezoid in front of the attacking unit.
    • Multiple sources of cleave fully stack and work independently.
    • Does not cleave upon attacking wards, buildings or allied units. Animal Courier Radiant minimap icon Couriers, wards and buildings are unaffected by cleave.
    • Despite the visual effect, the cleave damage is applied instantly in the whole area.
  • The following cleave damage values exist:
    • 15%/20%/25%/30%/35%/40%/60%/100%/130%/140%/150%/175%

The following heroes have a Talent talent that grants them cleave.

Bonus Level 10 Level 15 Level 20 Level 25
Left Right Left Right Left Right Left Right
  • Elder Titan minimap icon +100%
  • Wraith King minimap icon +35%


Splash is in some ways the ranged version of cleave. It works similarly as cleave, with the main difference being the damage is typically dealt in a circle around the attacked unit, instead of a trapezoid in front of the attacking unit.

Splash does not affect the primary target, and it cannot miss when hitting secondary targets. However, if an attack misses, no splash damage is applied within the radius. Splash damage works with attack modifiers the same way as cleave does.

Just like cleave, splash also works for Melee melee heroes. Doom minimap icon Doom is able to acquire Splash Attack (Ancient Black Dragon) icon Splash Attack from Ancient Black Dragon icon Ancient Black Dragon (with Talent Devour icon Devour).

Splash Sources[]

Abilities Granting Splash Attacks

Other Sources[]

Besides Cleave and Splash, there are some unique attack-based area damage abilities that share some similarities with cleave and splash, or with each other.

Tree Grab[]

Tiny Tree Grab area

Tree Grab icon Tree Grab area damage visualized.

  • Tree Grab icon
    Area Damage Length: 400
    Area Damage Radius: 200
    Attack Damage as Area Damage: 55%/70%/85%/100%

Tree Grab shares several similarities with cleave. Its damage is calculated based on Tiny minimap icon Tiny's total attack damage. It also considers armor value, defense classes, and deals physical damage.

The biggest difference to cleave is how its damage area is calculated. While cleave sources is shaped like an isosceles trapezoid, Tree Grab's area is a semicircle on top of a rectangle. The ability's area is also locked on Tiny, being in front of him, no matter how far away the attack target is.

Psi Blades[]

Templar Assassin Psi Blades area

Psi Blades icon Psi Blades area damage visualized.

Psi Blades causes Templar Assassin minimap icon Templar Assassin's attack to damage enemies behind the attacked target. The spill damage is based on how much exactly the primary attack target took, and is dealt as pure damage to units behind it. The damage counts as spell damage, but it ignores outgoing spell damage amplification and cannot spell lifesteal.

The spill area has a rectangular shape, with a width of 90 and has a length of 600/650/700/750 × ΣAtkRange. The spill area can be further increased by other attack range bonuses. Templar Assassin's position is checked as the projectile hits the target, not upon launching.

Version History[]

  • Cleave damage is now affected by armor value as well, instead of only armor type. [?]
  • Cleave now uses a trapezoid-shaped area, instead of a circular area.
    • Battle Fury icon Battle Fury: From 280 radius to 150 starting radius, 520 distance, and 280 end radius.
    • Empower icon Empower: From 240 radius to 150 starting radius, 460 distance, and 240 end radius.
    • Great Cleave icon Great Cleave: From 300 radius to 150 starting radius, 550 distance, and 300 end radius.
    • Grow icon Grow: From 400 radius to 150 starting radius, 600 distance, and 400 end radius.
    • Tidebringer icon Tidebringer: From 450/500/550/600 radius to 150 starting radius, 675/750/825/900 distance, and 450/500/550/600 end radius.
  • Cleave damage is no longer affected by spell damage amplification.
  • Cleave damage can no longer spell lifesteal.

Patch History[]

  • Improved network performance with various multi-target attacks (i.e. cleave).
  • Fixed cleave damage from working while attacking towers.