Is Ascension Bad with Turtle? Testing How Damage Absorption Stacks

So I wanted to know how the different sources of flat damage absorption interact - Turtle, Ascension, Fiendflesh, etc. I searched the forums, and the game guides, and the answers were all over the place! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

The question is: does timed, subtractive absorption (Ascension, Blast Shield, Phoenix…) always happen before; or always after; or conditionally before or after hit point absorption (Crab, Turtle…)? If hit point absorption ever happened first, that would make Ascension way worse, with e.g. Prismatic Rage sometimes wasted.

This thread [1], and many others, says hit point absorption happens first.

The Grim Dawn Mechanics document [2] doesn’t answer. The game guide, under Order of Defense [3] [sic] says nothing.

Fortunately, if we assume a fixed priority between timed and hit point absorption, it is easy to test. So that’s what I did!

:zap: My Archon used for testing :zap: (I really have to write up the build one day. It’s my first real build after an EoR attempt went wrong). I left all auras off, and removed the boots. I’d be equipping the Mythical Fiendflesh Greaves [4] for the hit point absorption proc (12000, all damage types). Ascension would be the timed, subtractive absorption.

My build’s health was about 13000 without auras. Roughly equivalent to the Fiendflesh barrier, so I could compare how fast the two depleted. For an enemy, I wanted a reliable DoT attacker - so Ascension had the best effect. I used the Act 1 Plague Walkers in Ultimate difficulty, as standing a couple meters away locked it into the poison bomb throw attack (470 poison over ~3s).

Test 1: No skills, no boots

The zombie did a lot of damage :rofl: Minus my usual boots, I only had 68% acid resistance. Nice to be reminded how big resistance capping is!

Test 2: Fiendflesh

The zombie hurt the barrier before my health. It did about as much damage, proving that absorption happens after resistances (we knew that anyway, but nice to see it confirmed).

Test 3: Fiendflesh + Ascension

With both up, the zombie’s poison did… nothing! That’s cool, and what I hoped for. Only the initial bomb explosion got through.

So the order of defence is this:


Now I’ve also tested multiple hit point absorption procs with a Trozan build. I can confirm that shorter cooldown hit point procs are depleted first. If there’s no other conditionality going on, the final defence order is:

Timed, Subtractive Damage Absorption (Stacks additively)
Hit Point Damage Absorption (1st shortest cooldown)
Hit Point Damage Absorption (2nd shortest cooldown)

Looks like combining a Prismatic Diamond with Turtle is a good idea after all…!

Links, formatted to circumvent “New users are limited to 2” rule:

[1] crate entertainment forum, /t, /damage-absorption-and-mechanics/115363/9

[2] Microsoft OneDrive - Access files anywhere. Create docs with free Office Online.

[3] grimdawn, /guide, /gameplay, /combat/#q18

[4] Search on grimtools items :wink:

I read what you wrote but the problem with absorption stacking is not that fiendflesh works first
but that is depleted by the damage Ascension protects you from - meaning redundant depletion / not optimal stacking.

Not sure if your test caught that - you said you received no damage with Ascension + Fiendflesh. But was Fiendflesh being depleted while Ascension was being active and protecting you from all poison damage? I suspect it was.

Would be easier with videos to see what was going on.

Fiendflesh wasn’t depleted. So using both is so good :smiley:

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Since your finding goes against the common knowledge, I’ve made a test and cannot confirm your result:

  • I got a Fiend Flesh shield active (Mythical Shoulders) at the beginning of the video

    • procced by some zombie before
  • I show modded Ascension (100k absorb)

  • I activate my Ascention at 00:21 yet my Fiend Flesh shield is destroyed while it’s active

If you go frame by frame in YT (by pressing . key), you’ll see it’s actually depleting, not just disappearing

Maybe I’m missing something :thinking:

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*this will be easy to confirm, if you mod things like Maiven/Mirror/Ascension/Inquis seal to give absurd absorb values

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Yeah, optimally we would want Limited Absorb just before Health, as a last resort.

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i wonder if limited absorb would become “too strong” in conjunction with flat absorb the way flat works :sweat_smile: - also considering the absorb combo options we have pally, phoenix etc

oh totally :slight_smile:

Just want make one remark.

Limited absorb, % absorb and Flat absorb order true if they from different skill.
I made some indepentent tests once, and can say following. If Limited absorb and % absorb placed on same skill, % absorb applied first. Fortunately, base game doesn’t have that situations.


Interesting! There is one, crucial difference between our two tests.

In yours, hits deplete Fiendflesh, before being subtracted by Ascension.

In mine, the poison DoT is subtracted by Ascension, leaving Fiendflesh intact.

Could it be different defence orders if on-hit or DoT?

Perhaps. Are you sure that’s what happened? How much damage does this Poison DoT deal to your character with no protections?

but possibly it could be human error?
you missed something in test, forgot to factor something in, or other stuff that wasn’t spotted?

the reason i say “maybe” is technically true dots like poison work slightly differently mechanically, and only does 1 initial “hit” check/check for stats and dmg calc
could be that means it applies defensively too in some way when both types of absorb are then present at the same time
but since i’ve missed variables so frequently myself trying to test stuff, i mostly just err on the side of “maybe/probably missed something” :sweat_smile:

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