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Damage is any means by which unit's current health can be reduced. The 3 main damage classifications are Physical, Magical and Pure.

Damage Sources[]

Main Articles: Attack Damage and Spell Damage

Damage can come from attacks, abilities and items. Attack damage is the damage dealt per attack, and is displayed on the Attack Damage sword icon in the HUD. Generally, damage sources are split into two big categories — Attack Damage and Spell Damage.

Attack damage ( ) is the amount of damage a unit is shown to deal with a regular attack. A unit's total attack damage is the sum of its main attack damage (white) and bonus attack damage (green). Most attack damage are physical damage, however, there are some exceptions to this.

Spell damage ( ) is usually damage dealt in a separate instance from attack damage, with some exceptions. This includes all abilities (including item abilities and attack modifiers) which deal the 3 damage typesmagical, physical or pure damage.

Damage Classification[]

All forms of damage in Dota 2 are classified by damage types. There are 3 primary damage types: Physical, Magical, and Pure.

Physical Damage is reduced by Armor or Damage Block, Magical Damage is reduced by Magic Resistance and Magical Damage Barrier, while Pure Damage is not generally reduced by anything (except for damage reduction, e.g. Enrage and Defense Matrix, which affects all damage types).

All 3 damage types have some interaction with other damage-related game mechanics as noted in the table below. Some damage sources may also have the HP Removal flag, causing the damage to ignore some mechanics which would manipulate it otherwise.

Mechanic Damage Type Interaction
Physical Attacks Physical Abilities Magical Attacks Magical Abilities Pure Attacks Pure Abilities
Armor Reduced Reduced - - - -
Damage Block Reduced Normal1 - - - -
Magic Resistance - - Reduced Reduced - -
Magical Damage Barrier - - No No - -
Ethereal No No Amplified Amplified - -
Evasion May Miss - May Miss - May Miss -
Invulnerability No No effect on all damage types.
Damage Manipulation2 Amplifies, Reduces and Negates all damage types.
Damage Negation2
1 Except Moon Glaives, although considered as spell damage, its damage is blocked.
2 These categories only count ability effects which directly manipulate damage, reducing (e.g. Bristleback), amplifying (e.g. Bloodrage) or completely negating them (e.g. Refraction). Abilities that amplify or reduce damage by increasing/reducing magic resistance/armor of units are not included.

Spell Immunity[]

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Main Article: Spell Immunity

Spell immunity (formerly known as magic immunity) is a modifier which prevents most spells to target the affected unit. This includes single-targeted, area of effect, passive and active abilities.

Spell immunity itself does not interact with damage at all. If an ability pierces spell immunity and has a damage component, its damage will still be applied normally, regardless of its damage type. Therefore, spell immunity only governs if an ability has any effect, not its damage types (nor its damage values).

A 0 damage instance is still registered and still may proc on-damage effect, unless it is flagged as HP Removal.

If an ability does not pierce spell immunity, it does not attempt to damage spell immune units either, regardless of the damage type. In order for an ability to damage spell immune units, it must be set to pierce spell immunity, or it must be already affecting it in case of buffs/debuffs.


Most attack damage from all units (including buildings) and certain abilities deal physical damage, unless stated otherwise. The total physical damage dealt to a unit is affected by armor (percentage reductions) and damage block (flat reductions). Units under ethereal are not affected by physical damage.

Some abilities (e.g. Guardian Angel and Cold Embrace) provides physical damage immunity, although they can still be targeted by attacks and abilities.

Physical damage from abilities (and theoretically items) is usually unaffected by defense class. Unless it directly manipulates the attack damage (i.e. attack damage increasing abilities or Exorcism). Physical damage (except for Moon Glaives) from these attack damage increasing abilities are affected by armor, but are not affected by evasion and damage block.

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

1 Damage is directly added to the total attack damage.
2 Damage from these abilities is affected by defense class as well.
3 Half of damage dealt is physical, the other half magical.
4 Damage dealt is blocked by damage block.


Main Articles: Magic Resistance and Ethereal

Magical Damage sources primarily come from abilities. The majority of abilities in game deal magical damage, unless stated otherwise. Magical damage is reduced by magic resistance, and its damage is amplified against ethereal units. The majority of abilities in Dota 2 deal magical damage.

Abilities Dealing Magical Damage


Pure Damage is a damage type that is not reduced by Armor or Magic Resistance. It is also not amplified by magical damage amplification abilities, fully ignores Armor and Damage Block. It does not affect invulnerable units.

There are a few sources that can manipulate Pure Damage, with Dispersion being one of them. This mechanic is called damage reduction. Pure damage affects units with Spell Immunity (because spell immunity does not block damage), but that does not mean that an ability that deals pure damage is able to target spell immune units.

For example, Laser deals pure damage, but cannot be cast on units with spell immunity.

1 Mist Coil deals pure damage to the caster, but magical damage to the target.
2 Requires a Talent talent.
3 Requires Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter.
4 Requires Aghanim's Shard icon.png Aghanim's Shard.


Several abilities have certain flags that cause them to behave differently in certain situations, all abilities can be flagged, regardless of damage types. There are two different flags used — the HP Removal and the No-reflection flag.

HP Removal[]

Abilities with the HP Removal flag fully ignore any form of damage manipulation (with a few exceptions listed below), damage from these abilities cannot be amplified, reduced nor negated. It also ignores and do not trigger any on-damage effects, making them unable to cancel consumables (e.g. Clarity icon.png Clarity). In some cases, it ignores invulnerability as well. Damage ignored this way is still registered as such and may be counted for statistic purposes.

However, the ability's damage values can still be affected by its damage classification as usual (i.e. Magical damage with HP Removal can still be affected by magic resistance and magical damage barriers).

1 Maximum health as cost per second is considered HP Removal to the caster.
2 These abilities delay damage. The delayed damage is Pure and has the HP Removal flag.
3 Current health as cost is considered HP Removal to the caster.

Setting Health[]

Main Article: Setting Health

Besides healing and damaging, a unit's health may also be directly altered by setting it to certain values. Health altered this way is neither registered as a heal, nor as damage, and therefore is ignored by anything that reacts on healing and damage. It can also never be lethal, and can never set the health beyond the unit's maximum health.

HP Removal is not the same as Setting Health. HP Removal is still damage, but flagged to bypasses several but not all on-damage effects, and can still be lethal.

On-Damage Effects[]

Besides all sources of damage manipulation and spell lifesteal, the following abilities do not react on damage which has the HP Removal flag:


The no-reflection flag causes on-damage events not to interact with the damage of abilities which have the no-reflection flag. This is to prevent infinite damage loops in case of 2 opposing heroes with Blade Mail icon.png Blade Mails.

The following abilities do not react to abilities with the No-reflection flag:

Instant Kill[]

This mechanic kill units without the actual use of damage. Similar to HP Removal, the instant kill effect ignore almost all damage manipulations and can only be prevented by a few abilities.

The most prominent example that uses this mechanic is expiring summoned units and illusions, which are killed once their set duration ends. Summons and illusions that get replaced on cast are killed this way as well. Min health via damage manipulation does not prevent instant kill.

Abilities that prevents or bypass instant killing usually have its special interactions hard-coded into the abilities.

Instant Kill Sources


These abilities instantly destroy illusions when used on them, unless the illusions are strong illusions.

1 Instantly kills the target upon landing if it is not a hero or a clone.
2 Requires a Talent talent.
3 Requires Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter.
4 Requires Aghanim's Shard icon.png Aghanim's Shard.
5 Kills illusions on the first tick, not upon cast.


1 Instantly kills the oldest captured unit if the max amount of units gets exceeded.
2 Requires a Talent talent.
3 Requires Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter.
4 Requires Aghanim's Shard icon.png Aghanim's Shard.
5 Instantly kills the target if their current health is below the threshold.
6 Instantly kills the target upon landing if it is not a hero or a clone.

Damage Manipulation[]

Main Article: Damage Manipulation

Damage manipulation is a mechanic that alters damage values, either increasing or reducing it. 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. Besides armor and magic resistance, a general damage manipulator exists, which is used by almost all other sources of damage manipulation. This manipulator is more flexible, and can amplify or reduce any kind of damage and may affect attack damage, spell damage, or both at the same time.


The following damage types were removed in version 6.82.


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, Upgradable by Aghanim's Scepter. Laguna Blade, March of the Machines and Flaming Fists.

Doom, Midnight Pulse, Flaming Fists and Upgradable by Aghanim's Scepter. 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.