Destiny 2 Damage Resistance PvE Guide

by Bachmanetti

Beyond Light Update:

With the new ways that armor mods work, in addition to new exotics, abilities, and a whole new subclass; a lot of this information may be outdated.

Esoterikk has posted a video outlining most of the current mods and changes for Beyond Light

I am actively doing a full suite of testing (Feel free to reach out if you want to help!) That will also include overshields.

Stay Safe Guardians!


While I was running Prophecy I wondered: “What was the actual resistance provided by stacking mods?”

I went down a Rabbit hole for 2 weeks and this is what I came back with:

Damage Resistance Guide Cheat Sheet

I highly recommend using the above if you need a quick version of how Damage Resist works. For more details, continue reading or check out the spreadsheet

Spreadsheet with full details, charts, and breakdowns of Mods, Exotics, and Abilities

This only pertains to PVE, as modifiers in PVP are generally different.

Resist Mod Stacking Chart


Resilience is unfortunately not very useful in PVE aside from providing increased Barrier regen time for Titans. Each Tier of Resilience is effectively a 1-2% increase in overall shield, which ends up only being about a 0.5% increase in your overall resistance to damage.

Concussive Dampener

At 15% resistance, and stacking up to a staggering 55.6%, it significantly outperforms other stackable mods. Most hard-hitting damage sources count as Area of Effect (AOE) damage and are reduced by this mod.

  • Boss Stomp
  • Concussive Blasts, Shots (This covers a lot of Bosses, Majors, Cyclops, Knights, and other sources)
  • Fire Pools, Grenades
  • Exploding Shanks, Screebs, Cursed Thralls

Arc, Solar, and Void Resist

Unfortunately, elemental resists only provide a 5% resistance and stacks in a standard fashion


Minor, Major, and Boss Resist

Minor, Major, and Boss Resist mods provide a stacking 10% resistance. However, this decreases in effectiveness faster than other mods. I would not recommend stacking more than 3 mods as this increase drops below even elemental resist.


Important note: For the purposes of Damage Resistance only, elite enemies with a Triangle Icon, including Champions, are actually considered Boss enemies. Use Boss Resist to decrease damage from them.

For Weapon Damage mods, you would use Major Spec to increase damage to Champions and other Elite enemies.

Minor EnemyMajor EnemyElite Enemy (Champions)Boss Enemy
Color/IconRed / SquareOrange / ShieldYellow / TriangleBright Yellow / Diamond
Resist ModMinor ResistMajor ResistBoss ResistBoss Resist
Weapon SpecMinor SpecMajor SpecMajor Spec & VorpalBoss Spec & Vorpal

Fallen, Hive, and Taken Barrier

Enemy Barrier mods provide a 20% damage resistance AFTER having received damage from those sources. It does not stack with itself. However, Taken Barrier will stack with Hive or Fallen barrier for 36% resistance to those enemies.

Light Levels effect on Damage Resistance and Damage Dealt

This chart provides a brief overview of how Damage resistance works with your power level compared to the Activity power level

Essentially, as you approach the Power level of the activity; received damage drops substantially. After you reach the activity power level; received damage continues to decline slowly. This drop-off does not seem to have a cap.

Contest mode activities such as Grand Master Nightfalls, are not affected by this.

Regarding Damage dealt, there are more details in the spreadsheet. It would seem that there are two curves that are combined to effect weapon damage. The first curve applies to your overall light level and stops increasing at the recommended power level. The second curve continues to increase until the weapon itself is at the recommended power level +20.

The takeaway from this is that you should infuse your weapons as high as possible up to the power level cap of the activity minus your artifact level.

A bit of Math – How Damage Resistance combines

In almost all cases, the way Damage resistance combines is the same. The Resistances are each applied to the incoming damage, reducing it sequentially.

If you want to determine your percentage of incoming Damage from a source, you can calculate it as follows:

ReceivedDamage = (1-Resist_1) * (1-Resist_2) * (1-Resist_3) * (…….)

For example: If you are attacked by a Taken Echo Knight and you have Taken Barrier 20%, Hive Barrier 20%, and 2x Concussive Dampener 27.75%:

(1-20%) * (1-20%) * (1-27.75%) = 46.24% incoming Damage, or effectively 53.76% total resistance.

Sword Blocking

Sword blocking is highly dependent on both the frame of the sword, and the sword guard chosen.

These are the stats of sword blocking with Temptation’s Hook with different Guard perks.

50% ~11 sec56% ~4 sec65.5% ~4 sec74% ~5 sec80% ~2.5 sec

Expect different results with different swords

Super Resistance

Most Supers have about a 80% resistance. This is while they are active in the case of roaming supers, and while being cast in the case of supers like Nova Bomb and Blade Barrage.

Environmental Damage is handled a little differently, and you only have about a 50% resistance to damage in those same supers

Neither Golden Gun super seems to have any Damage Resistance provided.


For each exotic that offers a damage resistance or “reduces incoming damage” perk, the following information applies:

Riskrunner50%Applies only to Arc Damage
Ruinous Effigy80%Resistance while blocking with an orb
Wings of Sacred Dawn15%Damage resistance seems to apply during and shortly after ADS
Contraverse Hold20%While holding a Void grenade
ACD/0 Feedback Fence33%, 55%, 70%Damage Resist is for a single melee and stacks with charge to x3.
Skull of Dire Ahamkara~80% to 96%Up to 75% resistance on top of normal super, but only for a brief moment.
Stronghold (Sword Block)80% to 90%Increases Sword stats to max, resistance is still dependent on the sword frame.

Exceptions and Special Cases

Most other cases, exotics, and other resistance attributes are in the Google sheet

The few exceptions to how damage resistance combines:

  • Minor/Major/Boss Resist – These mods have a decreasing curve based on the number of each mod to a max of 30%. Basically more than 3 is essentially useless compared to any other mod.
  • Resistant Tether 5% and Enhanced Resistant Tether 10% – In Garden of Salvation, each mod adds their resistance together for a max of 50%
  • Dreambane Mods 10% – each mod adds together for a max of 50%. However these are ONLY effective against a Nightmare Hunt Boss, no other enemy tested had damage reduced. Note: This is also the one exception I found where it also ADDED to Hive Barrier….
  • Riven’s Curse -3% – This mod increases damage from all sources in the Dreaming city. It drops on all Reverie Dawn armor. These add together for a potential 15% increase in Damage received.

A note on Overshields

Overshields were not tested thoroughly as there are some difficulties with testing them and inconsistencies when being applied. For Example, the overshield from Saint-14’s helm with Bubble is a different amount then the overshield from the defensive strike melee ability. Couple this with overshield abilities that recharge separately from your shield bar and health, and the elemental aspect of some Overshields makes them difficult to gauge and measure.

Testing Methodology

To begin, most tests were performed using a “base” damage from a consistent source where possible. These were performed at 1083 light (1060 base , +23 Artifact) with Tier 0 resilience armor.

List of some test locations and enemies:

  • Minor Taken Hobgoblin – Dreaming City Chamber of Starlight
  • Minor Taken Acolyte – Dreaming City Aphelion’s Rest
  • Minor Taken Vandal – Dreaming City Aphelion’s Rest
  • Greg, Hive Ogre Boss – Titan Cargo Bay 3
  • Network Projector Boss Cyclops – Curse of Osiris Story Mission
  • Hive Barrier Knight Champion – Moon Hellmouth
  • Hive Lunar Scavenger Knight – Moon Hellmouth
  • Radiolaria Puddle – Asher Mir IO
  • Flame Cauldron – Crown of Sorrows
  • Taken Goo – Corrupted Strike
  • Taken Echo Knight – Prophecy
  • Vex Fanatic – Garden of Salvation
  • Loyalist Legionary – Leviathan
  • Phogoth – Nightmare Hunt
  • Fallen Vandal – EDZ Widow’s Walk

Almost all tests were run with at least 2 sources of damage, and over multiple damage cycles. These were recorded at 2160x1440p 60fps (with some exceptions of verification tests by ABagOfPowder) and then transcribed using Tracker Video Analysis and Modeling Tool. Measurements for most tests were only taken from damage to the “Shield” portion of the Damage bar, as the “Health” portion is smaller and slightly more inconsistent.

This data was then transferred to Excel where it was translated into individual tests and percentages were calculated from the pixel measurement differences. Where appropriate, this was used to calculate resistances or combined resistance information.

You can find most of the data used in this Google Drive

Errors, Margin of Error, and Rounding

Due to the way the Health bar is handled, there is definitely some rounding involved in the rendering. At 2160×1440 resolution, the shield portion of the health bar is 404 pixels wide, meaning a change in damage of 1% over the length of the bar SHOULD be measurable as a 4 pixel difference. In reality there seems to be some additional rounding, or integer math being done in damage calculations, leading to smaller damage sources actually being rounded up.

For Example, Minor resist often measures 9.75% on Thrall melee, but closer to 10% on Hobgoblin snipers. This, coupled with other measurement issues, may mean that some tests are within 1-2% of the actual in game values.

Some Damage Resistance, such as Warlock Nova Bomb, Titan Thundercrash, and Hunter Blade Barrage occur over such a brief period in time that resistance was difficult to test. Environmental damage was often used in these cases, however there is an environmental modifier applied while in super. This value was then used to determine what the “Base” damage resistance was for some of these supers.

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