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Ward save, also known as Damage resistance, is the only universal damage-mitigation resistance in the game and, as a result, the most powerful protection any unit can have. It reduces damage from all damage channels and interacts with all attack channels. Therefore, units live longer and will be able to dish out more damage onto their enemies.
Abilities and effects providing this resistance temporarily use the Damage resistance wording whilst the ward save terminology is associated with permanent instances, such as items. In addition, it tends to be restricted to rarer abilities, ancillaries and traits, or more advanced units.
Although it is restricted to a 90% cap, similar to all other resistances, it will always be taken into account first when calculating damage reduction. Other resistances can stack depending on the appropriate damage channels - a few simplistic examples are provided below.
- Attacker: has Magical attacks
- Defender: has no armour, 15% magic resistance, 30% physical resistance and 10% ward save
- Outcome: Attacker deals 25% (= 15% + 0% + 10%) less damage when it hits the defender because physical resistance is useless against magical attacks and, consequently, is ignored.
- Attacker: 66% of its attack damage is armour-piercing missile damage and the remaining 34% is base missile damage
- Defender: has 100 armour, 25% magic resistance, 40% physical resistance and 45% ward save
- Outcome: Attacker deals 90% (= c.45% + 0% + 40% + 45%) less damage when it hits the defender because magical resistance is useless against physical attacks and, consequently, is ignored.
- Initial calculation - The total resistance adds up to c. 130% so it is capped down to 90%.
- Step 1 - The most useful resistances are calculated first, so first ward save will apply and mitigate 45% of all damage, then physical resistance will kick in and reduce damage for a further 40% because both interact with physical missile damage. So far, 85% of all damage is soaked up and only 5% more can be prevented in order to not exceed the 90% reduction cap.
- Step 2 - This 85% will be applied to the armour-piercing damage first so it will, in fact, cancel all of it (66% - 85% = -19%, therefore 0%)
- Step 3 - The 19% resistance remaining will then be deducted from the base missile damage since it is physical missile damage and only 15% will pass through (=34% - 19%)
- Step 4 - Base missile damage can be reduced by armour-based damage mitigation so the armour can reduce c.45% of the damage. However, there are only 5% left to reach the 90% cap which means 10% will always go through and the remaining 40% armour resistance will go to waste.
There are a number of abilities, ancillaries, units and traits that grant ward save - see notable examples below (not a comprehensive list!)
- Black Nimbus, a Vampire Counts passive ability available to the Black Coach magic chariot unit and which can provide 44% damage resistance
- Brass Body, a Beastmen active ability available to the Taurox the Brass Bull legendary lord and which can provide 40% damage resistance
- Dark Mail, a Beastmen ability available to the Khazrak the One-Eye legendary lord while equipping its bound The Dark Mail legendary armour and which can provide 20% damage resistance whilst in melee
- Portent of Warding, a Lizardmen passive ability available to the Ancient Stegadon (Engine of the Gods) support monster unit and which can provide 5% damage resistance to itself and nearby friendly units
- Shield of Saphery, a Lore of High Magic passive ability which can provide 5% damage resistance to the caster, and friendly units map-wide, while casting
See also: Items with ward saves
- Amulet of Pha-Stah, a Tomb Kings unique talisman item which can provide 20% ward save
- Armour of Destiny, a generic rare armour item which can provide 10% ward save
- Dragon Cloak of Fyrskar, a Dwarfs unique talisman item bound to the Ungrim Ironfist legendary lord and which can provide 20% ward save
- Lucky Shrunken Head, a Greenskins rare arcane item which can provide 15% ward save
- Shield of Defiance, a Dwarfs unique armour item bound to the Belegar Ironhammer legendary lord and which can provide 20% ward save
- Talisman of Preservation, a generic rare talisman item which can provide 12% ward save
- The Eye of Sheerian, a Warriors of Chaos unique armour item bound to the Archaon the Everchosen legendary lord and which can provide 25% ward save
- Trickster's Helm, a generic rare armour item which can provide 10% ward save
- Sword of Khaine, a generic unique weapon item which can provide 20-30% ward save
- Fateshielded, a Dark Elves' Name of Power
- Tz'arkan, with possession of the Dark Elves Malus Darkblade legendary lord which can provide 5-40% ward save
- Vessel, Warriors of Chaos' Archaon the Everchosen legendary lord unique trait which can provide 5% ward save for all units in the lord's army
- Virtue of Penitent, Bretonnia's Lord lord exclusive spawning trait which can provide 5% ward save