Diablo 3 Defeating Reflect Damage Guide

Diablo 3 Defeating Reflect Damage Guide by LordRaahl

So I’ve been seeing many people having trouble with Reflect Damage, So here is a guide to how to overcome this elite affix for every class.

Update : Reflect Damage is now nerfed, so you shouldn’t have anymore issues with it.
But if you still do, have a look for some insight.


It seems that every patch, there is an OP affix.

in 1.0.3 There was Molten.
1.0.4 Fire chain now interrupts casting, at a high rate.

and in 1.0.5 Reflect Damage is now overpowered.
If you want to overcome this affix, read on.


The complete Reflect Damage Guide
© CountFury, master theorycrafter

What is Reflect Damage?
– An elite affix that returns 15%-20% of the damage you deal, onto you.
It does not affect people with below 40k dps. However, when you get above 85k unbuffed,
you can receive some heavy damage by attacking the monsters, and your heavy hitting skills will sometimes 1-shot you.


First of all,
you have to have your resistance and armor taken care of.

for higher MPs, you will need.
At Least 400 resistance, at least 4k armor, and at least 35k HP.

to counter Reflect Damage,
you have to understand the Past, Present, and Future, of your healing ticks.
i.e. while taking the damage; having the before heal, the during heal, and the after heal.

The Trinity of Healing

The before heal : Life Regen.
This will replenishing when you are not directly attacking the mobs. It gives you a cushion to take the reflect before you hit them. Have at at least 1k life regen and you will see a difference. Life Regen gives you life BEFORE the actual hits you inflict, and will fill your hp when you are kiting.

The during heal : Life On Hit.
This will ensure that as you hit the monsters with your regular attacks, you will gain health in the process. It acts as a damage mitigation, the healing amount varies from skill to skill, by coeficient %, most often highest on your basic attacks, and lowest on your strongest attacks.
Attack speed directly influences how fast you will heal. Notice the word On Hit, this stats will give you direct life DURING your hit.

The after heal : Life Steal.
This allows damage you deal to be converted to life.
Unlike Life on Hit, it applies to all your skills.
The higher dps a skill has, the more life you gain back. Thus, it is the reverse of Life on Hit, from the opposite dps spectrum. I.E., your basic attacks will not return much lifesteal, but your heavy attacks will.
Life Steal’s mechanics returns life – a split mili-second AFTER you do the damage.
(and that is why you can still die on RD even with LS, because if you hit hard enough, you can ko yourself before it has a chance to heal you.)


Life on Hit vs Life Steal.

Life on Hit is universally good with all gear levels.
When you reach 1000 LoH, you will be able to mitigate the majority of damage you receive.
LoH is essential for effective tanking, and is recommended for all players’ survivability.
You however, will be sacrificing quite a few stat points by getting up to 1k LoH.

Life Steal, is better than LoH when you reach high dps, at 60k(melee), 100k(range), is where you’ll begin to see it making a difference. LS is essential for effective survival with high DPSers.
LS is more effective to gear when you have high dps, because you won’t sacrificing as much stats as stacking LoH.
And you will only need 2%-3% LS on 1 weapon, whereas with LoH, you need to stack it in various gears until you reach 1k.

Think of LoH as the Lightside, LS as the Darkside, and Life Regen as the balance between both.
They are all end-game stats that you should strive to get.

You will only need 1 out of 3, having all 3 is great, but stacking them all is counterproductive.


Important Note about LS.
Once you reach over 100k dps unbuffed.
Even with Lifesteal, If you cast a nuke skill, and don’t have a decent health pool, it will still kill you.
For example, a DH with 150k unbuffed dps, 30k HP, casting a Cluster Arrow – Loaded For Bear, crits 1mil on all 3 elites; will still die even with Gloom on.

some Math:

1mil x 3 = 3mil.
15% of 3mil = 450k dmg reflected.

lets say 50% damage reduction from armor, and then 50% from resistance.
so 450 / 2 / 2 = 115k
35% reduction from Gloom, which mitigates another 40k from that.
so you receive 75k damage back, if you crit 3 mil on the elite.

75k dmg receive, is higher than 30k HP, so the DH gets 1shot even with Gloom on.
(but this is an extreme case and shouldn’t happen.)

That is because Lifesteal is the AFTER heal.
It means you deal the damage first -> then you get reflected -> then you heal from LS.
All in a split second.

So if the reflected damage, is higher than your maximum HP, you will get 1 shot and not have the chance to heal.

Another example is Monk using Exploding Palm on MP6 and above on an RD pack.
In which case, just cast serenity before the death explosion.


*On using all 3.
If you want total control over RD, then get all 3.
at least 700 regen, 700 LoH, and 2.5 Life Steal.
but don’t stack them, because that would gimp your other stats.

Now, to better explain the order of which application goes first,
it’s like this.

Life Regeneration

HP you gain -> Damage you deal -> Damage you get reflected.

Life on Hit
Damage you deal -> HP you gain -> Damage you get reflected.

Life Steal
Damage you deal -> Damage you get reflected -> HP you gain.

All coded in a split second.

The purpose of regen is to give you health before you attack or when not attacking.
The purpose of LoH, is for your basic attacks to sustain you.
and the purpose of LS, is for the heavy hitters, to give you a refill on HP.

They are like proton-neutron-electron.
Just have a little bit of “Atom”, and you will be fine with RD.


you will need to know WHICH skill, procs a lot of Life on Hit. Include that skill in your build,
most often it’s a primary skill anyways. For example: frenzy / fists of thunder / piercing orb, etc.
After that,
include a heavy damage skill that is strong, but does not hit too hard, and can be cast often.
For example, Arcane Orb, Acid Cloud. This is for the life steal, you want it to do high damage, but not to the point where it can crit the pack and 1 shot you.


Some people may not want to change their build “just for 1 affix”,
but that is wrong, because having the combination of 2 skills that you can benefit from both,
will greatly increase your survival rate with all other affixes as well.

Also, a lot of your builds are old builds from 1.0.3, it’s time to adjust and adapt now.


Now, for Reflect Damage combat.

Life Regen will replenish you when you are not attacking the enemies, and/or kiting. (the before heal)
Life On Hit will sustain you when you are attack with your basics. (the during heal)
Life Steal will defend you, when you unleash your heavy hitting attacks. (the after heal)

Most people having trouble with RD, are using Life Steal without regen, thus not being able to sustain life during general attacks. They unload their strong skills and are killed in the process.


Strategies for middle to higher MPs. (4-6, 7-10)
If you’re getting pwned by RD in (0-3), then you are not gearing right. (see the sections above.)

If you’re getting pwned by RD in 4-7, then your gear and skills may not good enough, consider having more armor and/or resistance.
and If you meet all the above qualifications and your gears are great, and still getting pwned by RD, then you are just bad.

– Important –
Carry a lower dps weapon, with high Life on Hit and good attack speed with you, swap it when you encounter RD. (Speed recommended : Sword, Dagger, or an axe with IAS)

Monk Strategy

With RD, you have to get smart.
The typical click-click-click > press buttons > kill before get killed, doesn’t work.

– If you do not have high LoH and attack speed, then don’t use Sweeping Wind on an RD pack, when you have over 85k dps that is.
If your dps and defensives are decent, you Should be able to take them down without the need to rely on SW. This is being the damage of the Sweeping Wind aura itself, and all the cyclones, will be returned to you. (as they are hitting all 3 of the elites)

However, if your dps is high AND you have lifesteal, Then you can do SW anytime you want, the healing will scale perfectly with the damage reflected and keep you healthy, but you will need high attack speed (and crit chance) to get a lot of cyclones. Once you get that, you can facetank RD with cyclones.

If not, then there’s another way, you can rely on Life per Spirit Spent, which is the on-the-go potion that you can control. You can use Shenlong set and /or find a spirit stone with LPSS,
it works pretty good, but you have to keep making spirit, if you don’t have spirit, you don’t have your potion.
So LPSS is not as effective as the others, its not a constant buff, and the stack amount is limited. Having 100 LPSS heals you 5k white spamming mantra, not too shabby.

The pecking order of healing when it comes to monks goes.
LS ~ LoH > Regen > LPSS.

– Seven-sided Strike : this is your chance to unleash damage, SSS gives you a 1.5 seconds invulnerability, and resets enemy aggro. It is like a double-purpose Smoke Screen. Incorporate it into your build, you will though have to give up Breath of Heaven – Blazing Wrath.

– Serenity : during the 3-4 seconds immunity, you can unleash your spirit spenders, and stockpile them up again with basic attack when serenity wears out.

– Another skill that you can take to boost your defensive, is Inner Sanctuary : Circle of Protection (35% dmg reduction). Don’t even get me started on how good this is.

– Strategic Kiting for cool down / life regen / health globes.
I recommend all monks to be able to strategic kite for 3 seconds. If you can do that, your survivability will increase.

– I understand that the STI nerf will take some time to get used to, but if you are failing Monk in 1.0.5 at MP5 or below, even with good gears, then it means you lack the skills to play a mobility class like the monk or the DH, and should reroll a different one.


Demon Hunter Strategy

Now with the DH, the skill that will allow you guard against RD, is Shadow Power. (Blood Moon / Gloom)

If you don’t use Shadow Power, there’s another way, read below.

Now because you do very high damage, you need to also carry a high LoH weapon. (buy cheap ones with high vit and LoH, dual wield 1h xbows like a boss!)
Start out with your strong bow, use Shadow Power, when your life or discipline is low, if the mob is still alive, then swap.

For Non-Shadow Power users:
– you don’t HAVE to use Shadow Power per se, Smokecreen also works, it gives you a small window you can unload on the mobs and then kite again with normal arrows.

Preferably with a LoH bow if you don’t use Shadow Power, and you will need to incorporate this skill in your build.

Don’t ask why Cinder Arrow and don’t talk about it (for obvious reasons). Just use it with Loh Weapons and you’ll see.

I would like to see more dual wielding DHs, especially for RD swap.
You can equip both bows by equipping the first one, then press and hold ALT, then right click the other.

For Bola shot users.
here’s a post by Xuu on page 5.
verify this for the Bola Shot users,

IF you cast bola shot BEFORE you cast Gloom. you will STILL get reflect damage when the bola shot exploded.

It happened to me on many occassions.
Another way to mitigate RD is to use one of these 4 skills.
-Evasive Shot : Hardened (for those with higher armor)
-Boar Companion (if you have good resistance)
-Sentry – Guardian Turret


Wizard Strategy
(also see my next posts below, or the discussion on 2nd page)

These are the skills that will provide good LoH,
Shock Pulse – Piercing Orb
Magic Missle
Spectral Blade – Deep Cuts
Living Lightning

if you are running CM freeze / Archon,
you won’t benefit much from LoH or Regen, (unless you really stack regen)
so you best have a back up lifesteal weapon, for when an RD pack shows up.

For RD co-mitigation,

Diamond SKin – Crystal Shell
and Teleport – Safe Passage (30% damage mitigation)
Energy Armor – Force Armor (you will need a large health pool)
Magic Weapon – Blood Magic (1.5 life steal)
Spectral Blade – Healing Blades (5% lifesteal on blades)
Ice Armor – Crystallize (60% armor buff)

Edit : For archon people, run Ice Armor Crystallize and you will be fine.
The 60% armor buff helps a lot, and you also get a free 12% melee reduction.
Also when mobs are frozen while they melee you, at least you’re not taking their attacks along with their RD.

now if you are running Storm Armor,
you better have good armor and resistance, because every time a lightning bolt crits, you get hurt real bad.
and If you run Storm Armor with Archon, USE Scramble, Scramble to those health globes asap. >:D

oh yea, and Hydra will mess you up.
you get no healing of any form from Hydra, none. Yet they reflect their damage onto you.


Barbarian Strategy

– As barb, you shouldn’t have much problem with RD if you’re using the passive Bloodthirst, and have a belt with Lifesteal.

For other cases,
recognize the potency of these 3 skills.

– Rend : Bloodlust (for Renders)
– Overpower : Crushing Advance. (for whirlwinders)
– Ignore Pain : Ignorance is Bliss. (for tankers)

’nuff said.


Witch Doctor Strategy

– Just like Wizard, carry a backup Lifesteal weapon, since you don’t have much LS skills.

– you can’t die if you have 850 LoH and using Rain of Toads or Acid Rain, period.
– Horrify Frightening aspect. Takes your armor and double it, for 8 seconds.
Enough for you to down that RD pack’s HP.
– Spirit Walk : any rune. Notably Jaunt or Healing Journey.

– Your pets will kill you, because their damage get reflected onto you.
However, If you’re gonna use pets with RD, use these 2 runes.
— Burning Dogs.
— Big Stinker.


Secret occult strategy

for those who are doing pretty good with RD, but just needs a little bit more sustain to survive,

there is an omega potion, with no cooldown.
there is a certain weapon.. ;)
get it with lifesteal, when your HP is low,
swap to it real quick, then kill a nearby white mob with a strong attack.
’nuff said.
(note: this also works for everybody)

Sorry I’m speaking in riddles, you already know why.

Extreme combinations

RD is extra hard when it comes with certain affixes.
I will mention these 2, as it makes the battle a lot more intense.

1 – Reflect Damage + Molten + Mortar + ___

This is an insane combination, the reason is, melees cannot stand on the pool and take the RD at the same time. And range cannot kite effectively while dodging all the mortars.
This takes planning and tactics. (Thus SKILLS, which most people deny.)

2 – Reflect Damage + Health Link

When you hit 1 elite, you hit all 3…
Separate them immediately.


Last but not least,
for those with extreme high dps and getting hurt by RD because they refuse to use LoH or LS weap. My advice for you is this, which sums up the RD topic.

– Drop the Arrogance, and Swap the Weapon.

because if you do absurd amount of dps, over 250k unbuffed, you will still die when you cast a nuke skill, it will one shot you before you get the chance to heal.

That is all for Reflect Damage.
Thank you, good luck, and have fun!!


for those interested in seeing my stats,
here is my profile,

nothing OP, just good gears through hard finds and intense farming savings. No RMAH.
and profile not update, my monk dps is actually 103k atm.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.