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Special Modifiers

Diablo 2 special modifiers

How are Special Modifiers different?

Diablo 2 Special modifiers are bonuses found on such items as uniques, runewords, and Set Items, but not on magical or rare items. They are not like other prefixes or suffixes. These bonuses are picked from a pre-set list, not randomly-generated, and not randomly valued either. There aren’t multiple types or levels of Crushing Blow, or ITD; it’s either present or not to a preset value.

These modifiers do not have Clvl requirements or Ilvls, as prefixes and suffixes do, and the character level required to use these items will always be pre-determined on Uniques and Set Items. On Crafted Items the Clvl can be pre-set, but is usually determined by the random mods (since they’re usually higher than the minimum preset value).

Some descriptions on this page are only basic information on the modifier. Click to the individual extra links below each section to read more in-depth information on each modifier.

Ignores Target Defense

Ignores Target Defense is found on various Unique items and can also be added to a weapon by socketing the Jah rune. The name is somewhat misleading, since it does not mean you will always hit the target. It means that the target’s defense is set to zero, so your odds of hitting are greatly increased, but since your character’s level is factored against the target’s level, the actual to/hit will depend on how that formula plays out. The greatest to/hit possible in Diablo II is 95%, under any circumstances.


Piercing is a property found on numerous unique bows and crossbows, usually set to 100%. A 33% bonus to it can be found on the unique Razortail Belt as well. Piercing is identical to the Amazon skill Pierce; it gives a projectile a chance to pass through one target and continue on to hit a second for full damage. For Amazons, % bonuses to Piercing stack with the % granted by the Amazon’s Pierce skill.


The Absorb special modifier grants a powerful defensive bonus. This is a fairly complicated modifier, with the order of operations crucial to understanding its benefits. Check the absorb article for full details.

Absorb comes in two types: % and absolute. The % absorb is calculated after your character’s resistance to that type of damage, and works on whatever damage you take after resistance. Absolute absorb is absorb of a set value, such as the +20 lightning absorb found on Thundergod’s Vigor unique belt. This is calculated after % absorb. High resistances combined with high absolute absorb can result in attacks actually healing your character.

Demon Heal

Demon Heal is a fairly uncommon (and useless) special modifier. It provides a small healing bonus for each Demon that your character kills. Demon Heal adds some small amount of hit points (generally 1-3) for every Demon (as opposed to an Animal or Undead) you kill.

Deadly Strike

Deadly Strike grants a % chance that your character’s total physical damage will be doubled. It works just like the Critical Strike bonus granted by various character skills. Both Deadly and Critical Strike are checked (when present), but only one will ever be applied, so there’s no way to get both and 4x damage.

Crushing Blow

Crushing Blow is a powerful damage modifier. It deals damage based on a % of the monster’s current hit points and can be extremely effective in high percentages, especially against higher hit point enemies. The % applied varies by target type, weapon type, and game version, so check the article for full details.

Open Wounds

Open Wounds is a type of physical damage special modifier that has a poison-like effect, causing “uncontrollable bleeding” and a steady hit point drain. The damage will stack with poison so both can drain at once. Targets will not regenerate hit points while Open Wounds is in effect. Open Wounds’ damage is based on the Character level of the player who inflicts it, with higher level characters dealing much higher damage.

Damage examples:

  • (Attacker level * 9 + 40)/256 pts of damage per frame over 4 seconds
    • Clvl 10: 12.7 per sec over 4 seconds for a total of 50.8 damage.
    • Clvl 30: 30.3 per sec over 4 seconds for a total of 121.0 damage.
    • Clvl 50: 47.9 per sec over 4 seconds for a total of 191.4 damage.
    • Clvl 70: 65.4 per sec over 4 seconds for a total of 261.7 damage.
    • Clvl 90: 83.0 per sec over 4 seconds for a total of 332.0 damage.

There are 25 frames per second in the Diablo II engine. Like poison, Open Wounds doesn’t stack, but resets with each new application. It also prevents healing for the duration.

+ Defense vs. Missiles

Defense vs. missiles adds a bonus to your character’s defense that is only checked against incoming missile attacks. This bonus helps against attacks like arrows, quills, spears, and projectile elemental attacks from skeleton mages and Abyss Knights. It does not work on damage over time spells like Firewall or Poison clouds.

It’s found on several uniques in the Expansion. It’s usually written, “+ defense vs. missiles”, such as the “+100 Defense vs. Missiles” on the Cat’s Eye unique amulet.

The function is fairly simple; these items add that much defense, as though it was coming from an item of armor or a charm, but that value is only checked against missile attacks. (The added amount may be far more than 100, since it is modified by dexterity, enhanced damage mods, skills, etc).

This property helps to lower the to/hit of attacks such as arrows, quills, spears, and projectile elemental attacks from Abyss Knights. Does not work on damage over time spells like Firewall or Poison clouds.

Increased Blocking Speed

Increased Blocking Speed works like Faster Hit Recovery for shields. It cuts the recovery time between blocking animations, allowing character to block more frequently. This property is found almost exclusively on shields.

Slows Target

Slows Target decreases the movement speed (but not attack or casting speed) of the target. The target turns blue and slows down, as though they were chilled, but there is no damage associated with this modifer.

This property works like cold, turning the target blue and slowing them, but it deals no cold damage. The same item on the same character will not stack, however multiple items with slow on them will, or the same/multiple items on different characters will. This property is banned in some PVP games, since it is so powerful it completely unbalances some matchups.