Sources and classifications of damage dealt by heroes

Many are already familiar with Dota 2, especially fans and players alike. Published by Valve Corporation in 2013, Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena where players will battle it out to destroy the opposing team’s Nexus. 

Dota 2 has various kinds of heroes with different skills and abilities. Each hero can inflict massive damage when used right. Item builds, team strategies, and mastery of the hero’s abilities will all affect the tides of the game and how your team can win. 

This article will discuss the three damage sources in the game. There is also a list of heroes who can inflict these damages, boosters, damage classifications, manipulation, and negation.

Damage sources

Attacks, spells and even turrets can all cause damage in Dota 2. Generally, damage sources are divided into two categories: attack damage and spell damage. 

Attack damage

Attack damage refers to the amount of damage that a hero is shown to sustain from a normal attack. The sum of a unit’s main attack damage (white) and bonus attack damage is its total attack damage (green). The majority of attack damage is physical, although there are exceptions.

The overall damage of an attack is calculated using a variety of multipliers and numbers. Total attack damage refers to the amount of health a target loses as a result of the blow. Some on-hit effects are still considered to be part of attack damage even if they aren’t affected by the critical strikes, whereas others aren’t.

Spell damage

With some exceptions, spell damage is usually dealt in a separate instance from attack damage. This includes all abilities that deal magical, physical, or pure damage (including item abilities and attack modifiers). 

There are some skills that negate the two types of spell damage amplification, but those abilities can’t normally cast lifesteal. Both forms of spell damage amplifications have no effect on abilities with health manipulation abilities (Instant Kill, HP Removal, Delayed Damage, etc.).

Damage classifications

Damage classifications are used to categorise all types of damage in Dota 2. Physical, magical, and pure damage are the three main types of damage.

Physical damage

Unless otherwise specified, all attack damage from all units (including turrets) and certain skills inflicts physical damage. Armour and damage negations have an impact on a force’s total physical damage.

Instead of the usual magical damage, the following heroes have abilities (spells) that do physical damage:

  • Witch Doctor – his Death Ward inflicts physical damage
  • Slardar – Bash & Crush abilities are both physical
  • Death Prophet – his Exorcism Ultimate is physical damage
  • Dazzle – Poison or Wave can inflict physical damage; weave ult for armour reduction
  • Alchemist – his Concoction Spell deals physical damage and the Acid Spray reduces armour deduction.
  • Juggernaut – his Omni Slash Ultimate and his auto-attack slashes are physical
  • Luna – when Glaives is in effect, her AOE is physical damage
  • Leshrac – Diabolic Edict can inflict physical damage
  • Beastmaster – his Wild axes can inflict physical damage
  • Axe – his Counter Helix is physical damage
  • Bristleback – Quill Spray inflicts physical damage
  • Elder Titan –  Echo Stomp is physical damage, but Spirit damage is magical and Earth Splitter is half physical damage.
  • Gyrocopter – when Flak cannon is in effect, AOE is physical damage
  • Medusa – when Split Shot is in effect, Medusa’s AOE is physical damage

Magical damage

This damage naturally comes from abilities or spells, and the majority of the skills in the game deal with magic damage. It can be reduced by magic resistance and amplified with ethereal units.  

These are some of the heroes that can deal massive magic damage:

  • Zeus – all Zeus abilities are magical type except for his third 
  • Tinker – his ability ‘mark of the machines’ is magical damage
  • Venomancer – his ultimate ‘poison nova’ has magical damage
  • Necrophos – he has burst damage and inflicts magical damage per second
  • Techies – ‘proximity mines’ can deal magical damage
  • Meepo – in the late game, he can scale well with magical damage
  • Invoker – like Meepo, he can scale well with magical damage in the late game

Here are some of the magic damage boosters:

  • Ethereal blade –  40% increase magic damage on a single target
  • Veil of discord- 25% increased magical damage in an area of effect
  • Orchid malevolence: magic damage equals 30% of all damage inflicted in the previous 5 seconds at the end of the spell

Pure damage

Pure damage is a type of damage that is immune to armour or magic resistance, and magical damage amplification skills cannot amplify it. Pure damage mixes with skills that typically negate all incoming damage.

Below is a list of heroes with their abilities that deal pure damage:

  • Pudge – Meat Hook
  • Queen of Pain – Sonic Wave
  • Silencer – GLaives of Wisdom
  • Spectre – Desolate
  • Spectre – Dispersion
  • Templar Assassin – PSI Blades
  • Bloodseeker – Blood Rite and Rupture
  • Doom – Doom
  • Enchantress – Impetus
  • Enigma – Midnight pulse
  • Omniknight – Purification
  • Outworld Devourer – Arcane orb
  • Phantom Assassin – Stifling
  • Dagger Phoenix – Sun Ray

Below are two examples of items that boost pure damage:

  • Orchid malevolence – incoming pure damage amplification, can be cast on enemies 
  • Mask of Madness – incoming pure damage amplification, can be cast on self 

Note that magic resistance affects magic spell damage, physical spell damage affects armour, and pure damage is unaffected by either. Damage manipulation is based on all three. In the next topic, I will discuss damage manipulation and negation.

Damage manipulation

Damage manipulation is a technique that increases or decreases the value of the damage. Both the dealing unit (outgoing damage) and the receiving unit (incoming damage) can alter damage (incoming damage). 

The most prevalent damage manipulators are armour and magic resistance, which impact incoming physical and magical damage, respectively. There are two types of damage manipulation in Dota 2: incoming and outgoing. 

  • Incoming damage – is the type of manipulation that causes the impaired unit to receive less or high damage
  • Outgoing damage – the afflicted unit deals more or less damage due to outgoing damage manipulation

Damage Negation

Damage can be manipulated as well as negated in Dota 2. Even if the instance is still registered, damage negation prevents full instances of damage from causing damage on their targets. This indicates that if something reacts to damage without a minimum damage threshold, it will also react to negated damage.