Destiny 2: Damage Resistance Explained

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  • What Is Damage Resistance?
  • Stacking Damage Resistance
  • Damage Resistance Versus Reducing Enemy Damage
  • All Damage Resistance Sources
  • Damage Resistance FAQ

Delving into Destiny 2's endgame can be daunting if you're new. Running your first Grandmaster Nightfall or Master raid can be frustrating with one-tapping snipers and high-damage enemies. That's why most of your builds should have some form of damage resistance.

Reducing the damage you take in endgame content is vital to success, and damage resistance can even be used in PvP to lengthen the TTK of most meta weapons. In this guide, we'll go over what damage resistance is, how stacking resist works, and we'll cover every source of damage resistance currently available in Destiny 2.

What Is Damage Resistance?

Damage resistance (otherwise known as "DR") is a mechanic that reduces incoming damage from certain sources. The more damage resistance you have, the less damage you'll take and the more likely you'll survive a gunfight. This mechanic is more prevalent in PvE activities than in the Crucible, but it's possible to get damage resistance against opposing Guardians.

Endgame Destiny 2 content is tuned around players having at least some form of damage resistance. Snipers one-shot players in Grandmaster Nightfalls, and most enemies deal absurd damage in Master-tier content. All it takes is a few armor mods to prevent yourself from getting one shot by certain endgame foes. If you want to tackle Destiny's hardest PvE activities, you'll want some damage resistance in your build.

The Resist Buff Explained

While using certain damage resistance sources, you might come across the "Resist x[Value]" buff on your HUD. This is meant to give an approximation of your character's current damage resistance, although it's not as reliable as you'd expect. Certain damage resistance sources (notably chest DR mods) do not display on your HUD. The buff is meant to notify you of more circumstantial DR sources that are active—notable examples including Well of Tenacity, Protective Light, or The Stag Exotic for Warlocks.

Each Resist stack roughly equates to the following damage resistance values:

  • Resist x1: 10% damage resistance
  • Resist x2: 25% damage resistance
  • Resist x3: 40% damage resistance
  • Resist x4: 50% damage resistance

Resist x1 is currently only achievable by using the Protective Light mod. All other weak DR sources either don't appear on your HUD or give more Resist stacks.

Resist x2 is quite common and appears while using Renewal Grasps, The Stag, or stacking enough DR sources to reach a value of around 25% (explained in the next section).

Resist x3 is currently only shown by using the Well of Tenacity mod, which in-of itself seems to be a bug; it should be giving 50% DR instead of 40%. Whisper of Chains, the only DR source that gives 40% damage resistance, displays as "Resist" without any stacks on your HUD. This is one of many reasons why this buff name is unreliable.

Resist x4 notably appears while using Omnioculus, a Hunter Exotic that grants 50% damage resistance in PvE while invisible.

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Stacking Damage Resistance

In general, most sources of damage resistance grant anywhere from 10-50% damage resistance, some outliers notwithstanding. However, unlike most damage buffs, you can stack damage resistance. Multiple sources of damage resistance stack together multiplicatively, not additively. In laymen's terms, you get diminishing returns from stacking multiple damage resistance sources.

A great example is the damage resistance category of mods on your chest armor. Each mod gives 25% damage resistance against a given damage type. Should you use two of the same mod (such as Concussive Dampener), you don't get 50%; you actually get 40% damage resistance. This is for two reasons:

  1. Both mods are stacking multiplicatively.
  2. Stacking the same mod twice will give diminishing returns.

So you're getting hit with diminishing returns twice in this case. However, if you stacked two different 25% DR sources, you'd get 42.5% damage resistance—slightly higher than stacking two of the same mod.

Calculating Damage Resistance

Calculating your Guardian's damage resistance is quite easy. Subtract one from your damage resistance's percent value, and do this for every DR source. Once complete, multiply them together to get your true damage taken.

(1-X) * (1-Y) * (1-Z)…

Each variable represents your DR percentage from a certain source. For example, if we're using Protective Light and a Concussive Dampener mod, we'd calculate it as:

(1-10%) * (1-25%) = 0.675

We take 67.5% of our initial damage, meaning we have 32.5% damage resistance.

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Damage Resistance Versus Reducing Enemy Damage

There are a few mods and weapon traits that reduce the damage output of certain enemies. Most players assume this is another form of damage resistance, but that's not entirely true. Reducing an enemy's damage output is a separate modifier that is far stronger than stacking more damage resistance.

The best example of this behavior is the Renewal Grasps Exotic for Hunters. While equipped, Duskfield Grenades grant 25% damage resistance while inside and debuffs enemy damage by 50%. Paired with the Whisper of Chains Fragment (40% DR), you'd have 65% damage reduction and take 50% less damage from that enemy. If that was standard damage resistance, you'd have 77.5% DR. In-game, your effective damage resistance is actually higher at 88.75% because the enemy is dealing half as much damage, regardless of your DR.

If you have 50% DR, the 50% reduced damage from the enemy gives you an effective 75% DR. If you have 80% DR, halving an enemy's damage output would bump it up to 90%. That's why reducing enemy damage is so powerful and why sources of this effect are scarce. For the rest of this guide, we'll be separating the two effects to reflect in-game effects as closely as possible.

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All Damage Resistance Sources

Since there's a wide array of damage resistance sources, we'll be splitting this section into multiple subsections, listing certain DR sources in unique tables. DR sources range from 10-50% on average, although certain Exotics, weapons, and subclass nodes can push this even further.

There are also a few more sources of DR we'd like to mention before showcasing the tables:

  • Supers: Each Super in Destiny 2 (except Golden Gun in PvP) gives some amount of damage resistance—even one-and-done Supers.
  • Finishers: While hard to test, Finishers seem to give around 70-80% damage resistance while in a finisher animation.
  • Power Level: Being overleveled for an activity reduces the damage you take from enemies up to 25%.
    • Visit u/Bachmanetti post for more information on this topic.

    Damage Resistance Mods

    General Damage Resistance Mods
    NameSourceResistance (PvE)Resistance (PvP)
    Protective LightCombat Style10%N/A
    Elemental DR ModsChest Armor25% against that elementN/A
    Concussive DampenerChest Armor25% against AoE attacksN/A
    Melee DampenerChest Armor25% against enemies within 5m of youN/A
    Sniper ResistanceChest Armor25% against enemies over 25m from youN/A
    Striking Light

    (Secondary Effect)

    Combat Style25% while sprintingN/A
    Well of TenacityCombat Style*40%N/A
    Passive GuardArtifact Mod50%N/A

    *Provides 40% DR from in-game testing despite being listed as a 50% DR source in The Witch Queen patch notes.

    Activity-Specific Damage Resistance Mods
    NameSourceResistance (PvE)Resistance (PvP)
    Riven's CurseDreaming City Armor-3% per stack (Dreaming City only)N/A
    Resistant TetherGarden of Salvation Armor5% per stack while tethered (GoS only)N/A
    Enhanced Resistant TetherGarden of Salvation Armor10% per stack while tethered (GoS only)N/A
    Dreambane ModMoon Armor10% per stack against Nightmare bossesN/A

    Weapons And Exotics

    Weapons
    NameSourceResistance (PvE)Resistance (PvP)
    Land TankOrigin Trait5% per stackN/A
    Arc ConductorRiskrunner50% (Arc only)50% (Arc only)
    Blocking (Swords)Swords50-80%50-80%
    Blocking (Glaives)Glaives97.5%75%
    Exotics
    NameClassResistance (PvE)Resistance (PvP)
    Wings Of Sacred DawnWarlock15% while aiming midair15% while aiming midair
    Contraverse HoldWarlock20% while overcharging a grenade20% while overcharging a grenade
    The StagWarlock25% while in a Rift15% while in a Rift
    Renewal GraspsHunter25% while in a Duskfield25% while in a Duskfield
    ACD/0 Feedback FenceTitan*33% per stack on next melee hit taken*33% per stack on next melee hit taken
    OmnioculusHunter50% while invisible15% while invisible
    StrongholdTitan80% while blocking with a Sword80% while blocking with a Sword

    *Stacks are multiplicative. Max stacks grant ~70% damage reduction on the next melee hit you take.

    Subclass Damage Resistance Sources

    Subclass Aspects, Fragments, And Nodes
    NameClassResistance (PvE)Resistance (PvP)
    Void OvershieldsSentinel Titan15%7.5%
    Whisper Of ChainsStasis Fragment40% while near Stasis15% while near Stasis
    Lightning ReflexesArcstrider Hunter

    (Bottom Tree)

    70% while dodging32% while dodging

    Super Damage Resistance

    In PvP, Supers have a specific DR value assigned to them. In PvE, you gain an additional 60% DR that's multiplicative with the Super's PvP resistance. PvE values are assuming no other forms of DR are active.

    Super Damage Resistance
    SuperClassResistance (PvE)Resistance (PvP)
    Golden GunHunter60%0%
    Chaos ReachWarlock68%20%
    Glacial QuakeTitan79%47%
    Blade BarrageHunter79.6%49%
    Nova BombWarlock79.6%49%
    Well Of Radiance

    (Casting Animation)

    Warlock79.6%49%
    DawnbladeWarlock80%51%
    Nova WarpWarlock80%51%
    ShadebinderWarlock80%51%
    Hammer Of SolTitan80%51%
    Spectral Blades

    (Uncloaked)

    Hunter80%52%
    StormtranceWarlock81%53%
    Burning MaulTitan81%53%
    Fists Of HavocTitan81%53%
    ThundercrashTitan81%53%
    Sentinel ShieldTitan81%53%
    Arc StaffHunter81%53%
    ShadowshotHunter81%53%
    Spectral Blades

    (Cloaked)

    Hunter82%54.4%

    Reducing Enemy Damage Sources

    Reducing Enemy Damage
    NameSourceDamage Reduction (PvE)Damage Reduction (PvP)
    PsychohackOrigin Trait10%N/A
    OverloadArtifact Mod43%0%
    Renewal GraspsHunter Exotic50% while in a Duskfield20% while in a Duskfield
    Warmind's ProtectionCombat Style Mod50% while near a Warmind CellN/A

    Damage Resistance From Power Level

    More graphs and information on this topic can be found in u/Bachmanetti's r/raidsecrets post discussing damage resistance.

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    Damage Resistance FAQ

    Does Resilience Give Damage Resistance?

    No, it does not. Resilience increases your shield maximum, increasing the damage you can take before you die. Since Resilience gives so little bonus shields, it's mostly a PvP stat. Stacking damage resistance and the Resilience stat will increase your effective health pool (EHP), but that isn't the same as damage resistance.

    Is There A Damage Resistance Cap?

    No. Multiple damage resistance sources stack multiplicatively, meaning each added DR source gets less and less effective. This makes it impossible to reach 100% damage resistance.

    What Is The Best Damage Resistance Source?

    For PvE, use chest damage resistance mods and the Well of Tenacity mod. The former gives 25% damage resistance against certain damage types, and your chest can equip two of them at once. The Well of Tenacity mod gives 40% damage resistance for a short time while active, although you'll need a way to spawn Void Elemental Wells. Check out our Elemental Well mod guide for more info on how to spawn each Well type.

    For PvP, use your Super. Almost every Super in Destiny 2 gives damage resistance while active, making it a little easier to push the enemy and land a few kills. For a more passive form of DR, the Hunter's Omnioculus Exotic and the Sentinel Titan's overshield mechanic are worth using.

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