Is 1 defense still better than 2 hit points?

It is Known

For as long as I’ve read this forum the conventional wisdom has been that 1 point of defense is slightly better than 2 hit points. As a result, when embleming a hero, defense has been preferred over hit points when it is a direct choice between the two (like branching paths where one offers attack and defense and the other offers attack and hit points).

Damage over Time After Time

Increasingly I have been wondering if this is still correct. The playing landscape seems to be shifting enough that a reassessment seems warranted. I am curious if anyone else has been contemplating these changes and what impacts they may have.

  1. More DoT heroes are being released (Vela, Jean-François, Tyr, in addition to the beta version of Clarissa).

  2. This year has seen the introduction of a new type of DoT - Vela’s water damage. Nature and Holy heroes do not seem to have an element related DoT (I am excluding Lady Locke as that is referred to only as “damage,” which doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Nature the way that burn is clearly related to Fire, water to Ice, and Poison to Dark), but it seems reasonable to conclude that they may at some point in the future. It’s also worth noting that Tyr’s damage is semi-new (Barbarians already have Bleed damage but that is mostly useful to combat a Fighter’s revive - Tyr’s is significant enough that it does actual damage and is stackable with fire damage).

  3. Maximum health reduction is coming, and it is similar to DoT in the sense that it ignores defense but is at least slightly countered by a deeper hit points pool.


Personally, I have been a bit inclined to hedge, not giving defense complete precedence over hit points. A typical scenario is being offered 18 defense or 36 hit points. If we accept the premise that those are at least similar in value, then it is reasonable to allow other small factors to sway my decision one way or another. Here are a few cases where I am doing that:

  1. Combat element specific damage: I worry about this in particular for my Mother North, who is susceptible to extra damage from Gravemaker. When presented with the defense / hit points choice I am alternating between the two.

  2. Ancillary benefit to hit points: the two examples that most readily spring to mind are percentage healers (as opposed to Heal over Time healers) and minion casters (minions inherit a percentage of the caster’s hit points).

  3. Costume path: if I think I am going to use both the regular and costumed versions (e.g., Sonya), then it seems reasonable to take the costume nodes into consideration. I tend to shun healing and mana bonuses, whichever version they show up on, even if that means taking hit points instead of defense along the fork.


To be honest when i look at a hero path i look at which stat increase provides the greatest % increase - is 18/def or 36/hp higher? I’ll put a little weight on def being more useful than hp, but generally not a full 2×. i usually go for defence unless the hp % increase is greater than ~70% more than the defence % increase

Minion hero’s - HP is more valuable there because it gives minions more HP… This counts even more if that hero passed minions to others.

Certain enemies - against Elkanen and similar effects, you’d be better off with high defence and low HP because less gets drained.

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