Elites in Diablo 3 have a "reflects damage" affix. What resist or setup do you need to reduce that damage?

  • Another aspect of this question is, whether you should invest on protection against weapon damage or elemental damage, that is, armor or elemental resistance, depending on what type of damage you are dealing most
    – DrFish
    Nov 24, 2012 at 0:17

4 Answers 4


Standard advice for dealing with reflects damage is to get life on hit or life steal, but this doesn't scale well with your dps. Armor and resists will reduce the damage, a combination of all three will be your best bet.

Unfortunately, all I've been able to find is speculation about exactly how resists and armor work against reflect damage. However, the argument that monks can essentially ignore reflect due to having very high mitigation (e.g. from One With Everything and Seize the Initiative) seems to strongly indicate that they do play a part.

  • I just saw we answered at the same time. Could you add any sources or references that confirm the damage reduction for the reflected damage?
    – Solem
    Nov 23, 2012 at 9:14
  • @Solem Armor and resists are the reason that Monks and Barbarians don't fall over from this when you usually run into it. Until you get into the higher DPS ranges, anyways.
    – Frank
    Nov 23, 2012 at 15:17
  • Monks and Barbarians receive a 30% less damage than the rest of the classes.
    – Solem
    Nov 25, 2012 at 14:44

Depending on your dmg output, life regeneration might be a easy way the counter/heavily reduce the impact of the reflect dmg affixes..... Maybe somebody has some numbers about this. For me with only 60k DPS(character info screen) it works wonder well :D even though I do a lot more dmg with +X% dmg to cold skills. Which isn't calculated in the info screen.

It might also be cheaper then getting a high LOH and/or Life Steal.

  • In my experience, life regeneration is of no use here as soon as you use AoE attacks and deal high damage. For instance, my base damage is around 60k DPS, but when I use Zombie Charger + Bears rune on a pack and deal each them 300-400k damage, I lose half of my life if i don't have any LL/LOH (Life Leach/Life On Hit)
    – Solem
    Nov 23, 2012 at 11:19
  • I think it is a matter of build. In my case (cold wizard) it works out well for the moment. I get non crit hit's up to 190k and i get by with only 400-500 life regen. On the other hand i just use blizzard and the ray of frost in it so my simultaneous dps does't go as high as yours ;-)
    – Sloanarc
    Nov 23, 2012 at 12:11

There are several things you need to do to mitigate reflect damage. As a demon hunter I bear the brunt of this afix keenly.

Firstly reduce your damage output ... I hate that answer, but it's true. If you are dragging your own HP low just by piling on the damage you aren't giving any of your recovery methods much time to work. For example I have to stop spamming Ball Lightning and using Vault with Trail of Cinders and use them more selectively.

Next, armor and resists will play a big role in reducing the amount of damage you will take. The mitigation, as noted in another answer, is not quite clear but it does exist, so this helps.

Following the above, it's important to maintain a healthy effective health pool. Sometimes more vitality will take some of the sting away ... if you see it hitting you harder when you've upgraded your dps then this is part of the equation. Your effective health pool needs to grow with your dps.

Finally don't use a single life recovery strategy, none of them scale fast enough to lay off all the damage. Add in some life steal if you can get it and regeneration where possible. Your primary mitigator is probably life on hit, but as noted, it does not scale, while life steal does. While you're in the awkward in between levels of dps having a balance of both will give you a little more leeway.

Also, when you can get it for free, don't overlook +x hp to globes and health potions ... when you're popping a mythic, 12,500 is good, 25,000 is a lot better.

Reflect is currently probably the most disliked afix in the game, but don't expect it to be dramatically reduced any time soon, it's working as intended$^{tm}$ :)


An indirect way of "reducing" the damage you take consists in having a high Life steal attribute. If this value is high enough, you will still recover life instead of losing it when attacking a monster with this affix, as it is also based on the damage you deal.

As for direct ways of reducing the damage taken, I am not sure. Maybe someone else could confirm whether armor and/or resistances help here?

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