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Defensive mechanics refers to any game mechanic that increases an entities chance to survive. The chance to survive is increased by mitigating damage, increasing the chance to not take damage from hits, raising your total Effective hit points, changing the type of damage taken and absorbing damage. To see the order of defensive mechanics applied to damage calculation see Receiving damage.

This page is different from the defense page, although it happens to contain defense mechanics in it.

This page is not intended to cover manual survival strategy, like moving a lot to stay far away from enemies. This page is not intended to cover offense, even though killing fast might increase survival chance. See Game mechanics for strategy guide related information like this.


Terminology - Defensive mechanics may be referred to colloquially as layers of defense or defensive layers in game.

Purpose - The purpose of defensive mechanics is to lower the chances of dying. In softcore, dying causes characters to lose experience, causes certain game encounters to fail outright, and can lead to having no portals left for reentry into a map or map device encounter. In hardcore, dying has much worse consequences.

Targeted Mitigation - Targeted mitigation refers to the importance of planning out your mitigation so that the options you pick cover different damage types. For example, if you have a high percentage of block and evade from attacks, but don't have any defensive layers for spell damage, you will be weak to spells. Another example would be if your mitigation works really great for hits only, but your build may be weak against damage over time. Effective hit points and global damage reduction modifiers are not targeted mitigation, but they still help cause they raise your ability to survive all damage types.

Kinds of defense

Chance to not get hit

The follow mechanics raise the chance to not take any damage from hits:

Damage mitigation

The following mechanics mitigate a portion of the incoming damage from hits and/or damage over time.

Effective hit points

For more information see effective hit points.

Changing the type of damage taken

See more information see Damage taken as.

Absorb damage

Gluttony of Elements is a Vaal skill that temporarily causes all elemental damage to heal you and nearby allies.