Defense is a unit property indicated by a row of Icon Defense.png Shields near the top of a unit's details window. It signifies the unit's ability to block incoming Physical Damage, such as caused by most Melee Attacks, Ranged Attacks, and a variety of offensive spells.

The unit's Icon Defense.png Defense score is used whenever Physical Damage is applied to it. Each Icon Defense.png Shield has a basic Icon ToBlock.png 30% chance of blocking Icon Damage.png 1 point of Damage from hurting the unit. These odds may be increased or decreased by a few magical effects, but will otherwise be Icon ToBlock.png 30% for almost all units.

A unit's Icon Defense.png Defense scores may be different against different types of attack. For example, some units have a higher defense score against Ranged Attacks than they do against Melee Attacks.

Concept Overview Edit

A unit's Icon Defense.png Defense score indicates its ability to block, dodge or otherwise avert incoming damage. Both armor and agility are factored into this score, so both nimble and well-armored targets may have a high Icon Defense.png Defense score.

When a unit is struck by Physical Damage, it may make a single Icon Defense.png Defense roll for each Icon Defense.png Shield it has. Each successful roll will block exactly Icon Damage.png 1 point of Damage. Therefore, the more Icon Defense.png Shields a unit has, the more Icon Damage.png Damage it can potentially block.

Icon MultiFigureUnit.png Multi-Figure units may make more Defense rolls than their listed number of Icon Defense.png Shields - but this only occurs when one or more of these Icon Figure.png figures is killed off during the course of a single attack. When a Icon Figure.png figure is killed off, the next Icon Figure.png figure in the unit makes the same listed number of Defense rolls in order to prevent further Icon Damage.png Damage to itself. If this Icon Figure.png figure is also killed despite the additional rolls, the next figure steps up to make the same number of rolls to prevent further damage - and so on and so on. The process only ends once all Icon Damage.png Damage has either been dealt or blocked - or once the unit runs out of Icon Figure.png figures (and is thus destroyed entirely).

Defense from Physical Damage Edit

Main article: Physical Damage

Physical Damage is the most common Damage Type in the game, and is most often dealt by Melee Attacks, Ranged Attacks, and direct-damage spells like Ice Bolt or Fire Bolt. Other sources of Physical Damage include Thrown Attacks, Breath Attacks, and occasionally a few others.

Physical Damage is distinguishable from other types of damage because it forces the attacker to make Icon ToHit.png To Hit rolls in order to determine the accuracy of its attack. Each successful roll registers one "hit" on the target, and will potentially cause Icon Damage.png 1 point of Damage to the target if it goes unblocked.

Fortunately, Physical Damage allows the defender to make Icon ToBlock.png Defense rolls, in an attempt to block, dodge or otherwise avert any successful hits from the attacker.

Each successful Icon Defense.png Defense roll made by the defender will avert only Icon Damage.png 1 point of Damage, so a unit requires a high Defense score to completely block any powerful or particularly-successful attack.

Defense Rolls Edit

Each Icon Defense.png Shield allows the target unit to make a single roll which - if successful - will avert Icon Damage.png 1 point of Damage to the unit.

Therefore, a unit with Icon Defense.png 10 may make 10 Icon ToBlock.png Defense Rolls - potentially averting up to Icon Damage.png 10. However, due to the random nature of these rolls, it is more likely that the unit will block somewhere between Icon Damage.png 0 and Icon Damage.png 10.

A unit's chance of success with each roll is called the "To Block" chance. By default, it is exactly Icon ToBlock.png 30%, and only a scant few effects can alter it.

With each Icon ToBlock.png Defense Roll, the program randomizes a number between 1 and 100. If it comes up equal to or lower than the unit's Icon ToBlock.png To Block score, the roll is considered "successful" and will block Icon Damage.png 1. If the roll comes up higher than the unit's Icon ToBlock.png To Block score, that particular roll is failed and will not block damage.

Example Edit

During a Physical Damage attack, the attacker registers 10 successful hits on some target. If no Icon Defense.png Defense rolls were allowed, that target would suffer exactly Icon Damage.png 10.
Assuming that no special conditions apply, the normal rules of Physical Damage allow the target unit to make Defense rolls. The target possesses a Defense score of Icon Defense.png 10, and a To Block score of Icon ToBlock.png 30.
The target therefore rolls 10 random numbers, each between 1 and 100. Any roll that comes up 30 or lower will negate exactly one hit.
If, for example, three rolls are successful, then the number of incoming hits is reduced by 3. Therefore, the target will only suffer 10-3 = Icon Damage.png 7 points of Damage.
If all 10 rolls are successful, the target unit suffers no damage - having averted all hits!
Conversely, if all 10 rolls fail, the target will suffer all 10 hits, translated into Icon Damage.png 10 points of Damage.

Multi-Figure Unit Defense Edit

A Icon MultiFigureUnit.png Multi-Figure unit may be able to make more Defense rolls than the number of Icon Defense.png Shields in its details window would indicate. This occurs only when one of the Icon Figure.png figures in the unit is killed off during an attack - allowing the next Icon Figure.png figure to step up and make a whole new series of Defense rolls.

The process goes as follows:

  1. The attacker makes the necessary Icon ToHit.png To Hit rolls to determine its accuracy, resulting in a number of hits registered against the target unit.
  2. The "lead" Icon Figure.png figure in the target unit makes a number of Icon ToBlock.png Defense Rolls equal to the number of Icon Defense.png Shields possessed by the unit.
  3. Any Icon Damage.png Damage that has not been averted by the Icon ToBlock.png Defense Rolls will hurt this specific Icon Figure.png figure.
  4. If sufficient Icon Damage.png Damage has been caused to this figure, it will die. The next figure then steps up to the "lead" position, and will try and avert the remainder of the damage.
  5. This new "lead" Icon Figure.png Figure now makes a number of Defense rolls equal to the number of Icon Defense.png Shields possessed by the unit.
  6. Any Icon Damage.png Damage that has not been averted will hurt this specific figure.
  7. And so on and so on, until:
    1. All remaining Icon Damage.png Damage has either been applied or averted, OR:
    2. All Icon Figure.png figures in the unit have been killed off - causing the entire unit to be destroyed.

In short: with each Icon Figure.png figure it loses, the unit can make more and more Icon ToBlock.png Defense Rolls, repeatedly reducing incoming damage.

The common result of this process is that Icon MultiFigureUnit.png Multi-Figure units are significantly more durable than their Icon Defense.png Defense score might indicate. They are significantly hard to kill using a single, powerful attack - often requiring several attacks to destroy the entire unit. This gives them great survivability comparable to heavily-armored Icon SingleFigureUnit.png Single-Figure units.

Of course, the caveat is that with each Icon Figure.png figure the unit loses, it also becomes much weaker offensively. This means that while the unit is more survivable, just a few lost Icon Figure.png figures can make it ineffective. It might survive overall, but will no longer contribute as much to the battle.

Example Edit

A High Men Cavalry is being attacked. Lets assume that this unit is undamaged, meaning that it still has all Icon MultiFigureUnit.png 4 figures present. Each Icon Figure.png figure in this unit has Icon Hits.png 3 Hit Points. The unit's Defense score is Icon Defense.png 2.
The unit's attacker makes 7 successful Icon ToHit.png To Hit rolls, scoring a total of 7 hits. Potentially, this should cause Icon Damage.png 7 to the High Men Cavalry, killing two of the Cavalrymen and slightly injuring another one.
The "lead" Icon Figure.png figure in the High Men Cavalry unit makes its Icon Defense.png Defense rolls. Since the unit has a Defense score of Icon Defense.png 2, this cavalryman may make 2 separate rolls. Each roll has a Icon ToBlock.png 30% chance to avert one hit.
The cavalryman rolls two numbers: 51 and 18. Only one of these rolls is lower than or equal to 30, so we can say that the cavalryman has succeeded in one Defense roll. This means that the number of inflicted hits is reduced to 7-1 = 6.
Since the poor cavalryman only has Icon Hits.png 3, Icon Damage.png 3 Damage points are inflicted on him, killing him on the spot. The next cavalryman then steps up, ready to absorb the remaining Icon Damage.png 3.
This next cavalryman then gets to make 2 Icon Defense.png Defense rolls of his own! He rolls better than the previous man: 4 and 29. Both of these rolls are equal to or lower than 30, so he can be said to have made two successful Defense rolls, blocking exactly Icon Damage.png 2 of the remaining damage points. This leaves Icon Damage.png 1 Damage unblocked, which is now inflicted on this cavalryman.
Therefore, despite having a Defense score of only Icon Defense.png 2, the unit has made a total of 4 Defense rolls. 2 were made by the first cavalryman, who failed to protect himself and died valiantly. The second cavalryman then got a fresh chance, making an additional 2 defense rolls and saving himself. Had this cavalryman also been killed, the next one would also have been able to make 2 defense rolls.
As a result of this mechanism, Icon MultiFigureUnit.png Multi-Figure units are often considered to be significantly more resilient than Icon SingleFigureUnit.png Single-Figure units. The more Icon Figure.png Figures are present, the more damage can potentially be blocked from any attack, thus increasing the number of attacks required to destroy the whole unit.
On the other hand, each Cavalryman the unit loses will reduce its offensive strength by 25%. Therefore, although the High Men Cavalry unit survived this powerful attack relatively intact, it did lose Icon Figure.png 1 Figure and with it a significant chunk of the unit's combat effectiveness.

Anti-Armor Damage Types Edit

Some attacks have an easier time getting through the target's Defenses. They do this by delivering Physical Damage along with another type of damage responsible for making the target less capable of defending itself. This is called "tandem damage delivery".

There are two Damage Types that can be delivered in tandem with Physical Damage. They are called Illusion Damage and Armor Piercing Damage. These damage types are responsible for reducing or eliminating the target's Icon Defense.png Defense score temporarily, just long enough for the Physical Damage component of the attack to get through and severely hurt the target.

Illusion Damage Edit

Main article: Illusion Damage

Illusion Damage can be added to a Physical Damage attack in one of two ways: Either the attacker possesses the Illusion ability, or it is a Hero holding a Magical Weapon imbued with a "Phantasmal" Item Power. The results are the same in both cases.

When an attack delivers Illusion Damage in tandem with Physical Damage, the Illusion Damage component completely prevents the target from making any Icon ToBlock.png Defense Rolls. The Physical Damage then strikes the target, exploiting this weakness.

As a result, even the most heavily-armored targets (i.e. targets with very high Icon Defense.png Defense) are helpless against this kind of attack, and will suffer as much Icon Damage.png Damage as the attack manages to deliver successfully (based on the number of successful Icon ToHit.png To Hit rolls made by the attacker).

This effect can only be averted if the target possesses Illusions Immunity. This ability negates the effect of the Illusion Damage component, meaning that the target is allowed to make Icon ToBlock.png Defense Rolls as normal against the incoming Physical Damage component of the attack.

Armor Piercing Damage Edit

Main article: Armor Piercing Damage

Armor Piercing Damage is found as a tandem component in several different Physical Damage attacks. It is often called "Lightning Damage" because many lightning-based spells deliver it (particularly Lightning Bolt), but many units also possess the Armor Piercing ability which does the same thing.

When an attack delivers Armor Piercing Damage and Physical Damage in tandem, the Armor Piercing Damage component temporarily halves the target's Icon Defense.png Defense, allowing the Physical Damage component to get through more easily. In other words, the target may only make half as many Icon ToBlock.png Defense Rolls as it normally would when trying to block this Physical Damage.

There is no unit ability, save for an Immunity to the type of damage being dealt, that will negate the effect of Armor Piercing Damage.

Given that Armor Piercing Damage cuts the target's Icon Defense.png Defense by exactly 50%, it can be seen as more effective against heavily-armored targets than it is against lightly-armored targets.

Defense from Area Damage Edit

Main article: Area Damage

Other than Physical Damage, there is exactly one more Damage Type that will force its target to make Icon ToBlock.png Defense rolls. It is called Area Damage, and is delivered by a wide variety of spells and effects, most of which are available only to Icon Chaos.pngChaos wizards. It is also delivered by the Doom Bat, thanks to its special ability called "Immolation".

When Area Damage is delivered against a Icon SingleFigureUnit.png Single-Figure unit, it behaves exactly the same as Physical Damage (see above), with all the Icon ToHit.png To Hit and Icon ToBlock.png To Block rolls involved.

However, when delivered against a Icon MultiFigureUnit.png Multi-Figure unit, Area Damage behaves very differently. Though the process is too complex to explain here in great detail (refer to the Area Damage article for that), the bottom line is that the more Icon Figure.png figures there are in the target unit, the more Area Damage is inflicted against that unit - making it exceptionally dangerous to Icon MultiFigureUnit.png Multi-Figure units.

As explained earlier, Physical Damage forces only the "lead" figure in the unit to make Icon ToBlock.png Defense rolls, and only the "lead" figure will suffer Icon Damage.png Damage. If that figure dies, the next figure steps up and repeats the process.

With Area Damage this process is completely altered: each Icon Figure.png Figure is struck simultaneously by an equal amount of Area Damage, which makes Icon ToHit.png To Hit rolls against each figure, and records the number of hits registered against each figure separately. Each figure then makes a number of Icon ToBlock.png Defense rolls equal to the unit's Icon Defense.png Defense score, in order to try and avert the hits registered only at itself.

At the end of this complicated process, the game tallies up all of the unblocked hits to all figures in the unit, translates these hits into Icon Damage.png Damage, and applies the Icon Damage.png Damage to the unit as a whole - killing figures one by one in order.

Special Damage Edit

Main article: Special Damage

All Damage Types that are classified as neither Physical Damage nor Area Damage are known as Special Damage. What makes them special is that they do not require any Icon ToHit.png To Hit rolls, and do not allow the target to make any Icon ToBlock.png Defense rolls. Furthermore, the majority of these Damage Types do not even cause Icon Damage.png Damage Points to the target - they usually apply some other effect, such as outright killing Icon Figure.png figures regardless of how much Icon Hits.png Health they have remaining, and so forth.

Special Damage is often delivered by Special Attacks, or by certain spells. In all cases, if the target has any chance of averting this damage, it is through making Icon Resist.png Resistance rolls instead of Icon ToBlock.png Defense rolls. Thus, Special Damage attacks are often preferable against heavily-armored targets, especially when they have a low Icon Resist.png Resistance score.

Immunities Edit

Many units in the game possess abilities known as "Immunities", and there are many different types of immunities available. Each of these is meant to make the unit possessing it much more resilient (or completely invulnerable) to one or more Damage Types or spells.

A large number of immunities do this by raising the target's Icon Defense.png Defense score temporarily by a large amount, whenever the immunity is triggered. The large boost of Icon Defense.png Defense usually allows the target to block all incoming damage from the attack, thus effectively making the target "immune" to this damage.

The following table lists each Icon Defense.png Defense-based immunity, as well as the Icon Defense.png Defense rating it gives a unit when triggered, and the Damage Types that trigger that specific immunity.

Icon Name Defense Triggered by...
Ability ColdImmunity Cold Immunity Icon Defense.png 50 Cold Damage (including Blizzard Damage)
Ability FireImmunity Fire Immunity Icon Defense.png 50 Fire Damage (including Immolation Damage)
Ability MagicImmunity Magic Immunity Icon Defense.png 50 Ranged Damage delivered by a Icon Ranged Magic.png Ranged Magical Attack
Ability MissileImmunity Missile Immunity Icon Defense.png 50 Ranged Damage delivered by a Icon Ranged Bow.png Ranged Missile Attack
Ability WeaponImmunity Weapon Immunity Icon Defense.png 10 * Melee Damage delivered by a Normal Unit or Hero not equipped with magical weapons. **

* Weapon Immunity only raises the target's Defense score to Icon Defense.png 10. It thus has no effect for units that already have more than Icon Defense.png 10.
** Normal Units can get a magical attack in various ways, including from Alchemists' Guilds and from spells. Heroes can hold Magical Weapons to get the same result - not triggering a target's Weapon Immunity.

Large Shields Edit

Main article: Large Shield

The Large Shield ability gives a unit a bonus of Icon Defense.png +2 Defense when struck by Physical Damage, but only if that damage is not delivered by a Icon Melee Normal.png Melee Attack.

This gives the unit holding the Large Shield better survivability against such attacks, so long as they deliver only Physical Damage. If other types of damage are involved, they may or may not go through the Large Shield unimpeded.

Note that many Heroes can also get this ability, simply by equipping a Shield of any kind.

Unmitigated Changes Edit

Icon Name Description
Experience 3 Experience Level up to Icon Defense.png +2 for Normal Units or Icon Defense.png +4 for Heroes
Icon Melee Adamantium Adamantium Weapon Icon Defense.png +2 (requires Alchemists' Guild and a nearby Adamantium Ore)
Icon Melee Mithril Mithril Weapon Icon Defense.png +1 (requires Alchemists' Guild and a nearby Mithril Ore)
UnitEnchantment IronSkin Iron Skin Icon Defense.png +5
UnitEnchantment StoneSkin Stone Skin Icon Defense.png +1 (non-cumulative with Iron Skin)
UnitEnchantment HolyArmor Holy Armor Icon Defense.png +2 (normal units only)
CombatEnchantment HighPrayer High Prayer Icon Defense.png +2 for all friendly units
Ability HolyBonus Holy Bonus Icon Defense.png +1 or Icon Defense.png +2 for all friendly units
UnitEnchantment ChaosChannels Defense Chaos Channels normal unit gets Icon Defense.png +6 (resp. Icon Defense.png +3 in v1.40) if Demon Skin is rolled
UnitEnchantment BlackChannels Black Channels Icon Defense.png +1 (normal units become Undead)
CombatEnchantment BlackPrayer Black Prayer Icon Defense.png -1 for all enemy units
UnitEnchantment MindStorm Mind Storm Icon Defense.png -5 if unit hasn't Illusions Immunity or Magic Immunity
UnitEnchantment Vertigo Vertigo Icon Defense.png -1 if unit fails to resist
UnitEnchantment WarpCreature Defensive Warp Creature Icon Defense.png Defense might be halved (rounded down) if unit fails to resist
UnitEnchantment Berserk Berserk Defense is reduced to Icon Defense.png 0 but Icon Melee Normal.png Melee strength doubled
CombatEnchantment ChaosNodeBonusAura Chaos Node Aura Icon Defense.png +2 for all units associated with Icon Chaos.pngChaos (including Chaos Channeled units)
CombatEnchantment NatureNodeBonusAura Nature Node Aura Icon Defense.png +2 for all units associated with Icon Nature.pngNature
CombatEnchantment SorceryNodeBonusAura Sorcery Node Aura Icon Defense.png +2 for all units associated with Icon Sorcery.pngSorcery
CombatEnchantment Darkness Darkness Icon Defense.png +1 for all units associated with Icon Death.pngDeath (including Undead units);
Icon Defense.png -1 for all units associated with Icon Life.pngLife;
Cloud of Shadow and Eternal Night have same effect
CombatEnchantment TrueLight True Light Icon Defense.png +1 for all units associated with Icon Life.pngLife;
Icon Defense.png -1 for all units associated with Icon Death.pngDeath (including Undead units);
Heavenly Light has same effect
Ability Agility Agility up to Icon Defense.png +9 (up to Icon Defense.png +13 if Super Agility)
Item Sword 1 Sword up to Icon Defense.png +3
Item Mace 1 Mace up to Icon Defense.png +1
Item Shield 1 Shield up to Icon Defense.png +6 (and Large Shield)
Item Chain 1 Chainmail up to Icon Defense.png +7
Item Plate 1 Platemail up to Icon Defense.png +8
Item Misc 1 Jewelry up to Icon Defense.png +4

Order of Operations for Resolving Defense and Immunities Edit

This section covers the step-by-step order in which the game applies modifiers to Icon Defense.png Defense during a combat action. Details about these factors are explained above in this article, as well as on their own respective pages.

Step Attacker Defender Modifier
1 Base Icon Figure.png Figure  Icon Defense.png Defense;
2 Any Ranged Attack
Any Breath Attack
Any Spell damage
Add  Icon Defense.png +2
3 Icon Death.pngIcon Chaos.png Attack
Icon Death.pngIcon Chaos.png Spell damage
Add  Icon Defense.png +3
4 Icon Nature.pngIcon Chaos.png Ranged Magical Attack
Icon Nature.pngIcon Chaos.png Spell damage
Add  Icon Defense.png +10
5 Icon Nature.pngIcon Chaos.png Ranged Magical Attack
Icon Nature.pngIcon Chaos.png Spell damage
Add  Icon Defense.png +3
6 Armor Piercing Divide  Icon Defense.png by 2
(round down)
7 Non-magical Melee Attack
Non-magical Ranged Missile
Raise to  Icon Defense.png 10
8 Ranged Missile Attack Raise to  Icon Defense.png 50
9 Fire / Cold Damage Raise to  Icon Defense.png 50
10 Ranged Magical Attack
Spell damage
Raise to  Icon Defense.png 50
11 Icon Death.pngIcon Chaos.png Ranged Magical Attack
Icon Death.pngIcon Chaos.png Spell damage
Raise to  Icon Defense.png 50
12 Illusion Lower to  Icon Defense.png 0
13 Add  Icon Defense.png +3
14 Lower to  Icon Defense.png 0
15 Chaos (Item Power) Lower to  Icon Defense.png 0

Examples and Quirks Edit

Events lower (thus later) in the order of operations will supersede the earlier ones. The procedure usually generates combat results that make perfect sense, but will also also yield some that are unexpected. Ranged attacks and counters, in particular, may be difficult to predict due to color associations. The following examples may help illustrate how these defensive buffs function.

Sprites use a Icon Nature.pngNature aligned ranged attack. Elemental Armor will trigger first, adding Icon Defense.png +10 to the target's score, and prevent Resist Elements from taking any effect.
The Swords' Large Shield will trigger, adding Icon Defense.png +2. Since Zaldron uses a Icon Sorcery.pngSorcery aligned ranged attack, Elemental Armor will fail to help against this color. Subsequently, the staff's Armor Piercing boost is factored in, cutting the target's defense score, Large Shield bonus included, by half.
Paladins have magic immunity, raising their defense against the attack to Icon Defense.png 50. Subsequently, Aerie's Illusion attack ability lowers their defense to Icon Defense.png 0, since the Paladins are not immune to illusions. They are behind City Walls, though, and these factor in later than Illusion, so the Paladins' final defense score is Icon Defense.png 3.
Magic Immunity applies first, raising the drake's defense score to Icon Defense.png 50. The target is also Immune to Illusions, though, so its defense is not lowered to Icon Defense.png 0. It remains Icon Defense.png 50.
  • Warrax fires a ranged magical attack at a Sky Drake guarding a blue magic node
Warrax faces a similar problem. First the drake's defense score is raised by Icon Defense.png +2 by the power of the node. His Armor Piercing attack halves this (typically from Icon Defense.png 12 to Icon Defense.png 6). But this gets overwritten when the magic immunity readjusts the drake's defense to Icon Defense.png 50.
Reywind is one of the heroes with a flex weapon slot. Whether this works depends on the type of weapon Reywind has equipped. If he wields a Staff, the mod applies to his ranged attack, the drake's Icon Defense.png 50 against ranged magic (as well as any other factors in play) will be completely ignored, and an exact level of Icon Damage.png Damage will be guaranteed. If he wields a melee weapon, though, he would have to go into melee with the Sky Drake in order for this mod to take effect.
Buggy behavior. The Weapon Immunity raises the target's defense score to Icon Defense.png 10 against the volley. Iff it triggers, the Weapon Immunity prevents Missile Immunity from taking effect, so it remains Icon Defense.png 10!
The Weapon Immunity is negated by the magical javelins. Yet Missile Immunity will therefore apply, and the target's defense score is raised to Icon Defense.png 50, more-or-less as expected.
First, melee with Ghouls triggers Bless, giving the target Icon Defense.png +3. That is the extent of the defense score interactions in this case. Righteousness will be checked down-the-line but will not trigger, since this was a melee engagement. These enchantments will also not help against the Ghouls' Poison Touch, or stave off the effects of Create Undead if the target is killed primarily by ghouls.
  • Wizard casts Fire Storm on an army of Icon Chaos.pngChaos creatures
Each unit on the map tile will be subjected to Icon Ranged Magic.png 8 Area Damage. Area Damage brings about one attack for each figure currently in the unit, and each of these is defended against separately (any Hell Hounds would receive 4 attacks, Fire Giants 1x, Hydras 9x, and so on). To the point, their base defense scores are loaded first, and then Fire Immunity where applicable, such that each fire-immune figure will defend against the attack series with Icon Defense.png 50.