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Uncrushable Defined
A relatively uncomplicated explanation of what is involved in becoming uncrushable.
Last updated March 4, 2008 @ 2:40:29PM
Viewed 2210 times

Uncrushable Defined
I’ve been seeing this term come up in tanking circles and decided to find out exactly what it means so I did some research and I thought I’d share my findings with those of you who are curious. I am not a mathematician. Far from it in fact. I don’t like to try and figure out numbers and formulas (though I will if I have to) and I like things to be spelled out in simple terms so I’ll attempt to do that here without addressing all of the variables and exceptions (and many do exist). Even so, understanding what uncrushable is, is easy. Understanding the how and why of it requires a bit more explanation.

What Does Uncrushable Mean?
Uncrushable means that you can’t get hit by a crushing blow from a mob. A crushing blow is 150% of the mob’s damage from a normal hit.

Who/What Does This?
Only NPCs can deliver crushing blows. It is not possible for players to do this.

Assuming you have trained your base defense all the way up, any mob that is 3 levels higher than you can deliver a crushing blow. If you have not trained your defense all the way up, it is possible for mobs less than 3 levels higher than you to crush you.

When discussing uncrushable however, it is usually in the context of going up against a raid boss in instances designed for L70 players. Raid bosses, aka Skull bosses due to the scary looking skull in their avatar, are generally considered to be 3 levels higher than players so they should be considered L73 mobs for our purposes.

How Does This Happen?
To answer this, you first need to have a rudimentary understanding of what is known as the Auto Attack Table that WOW uses for normal melee attacks (not spell damage or special attacks). The auto attack table can be much easier to grasp if you imagine a 100-sided die.

Each time a mob is about to attack a player, the server “rolls” this 100-sided die and the resulting number determines what happens based upon a range of 7 possible results which are as follows:

Glancing Blow (Not used by mobs)
Crushing Blow (Not used by players)
Normal damage

Players will have a percentage of each of these results allocated to them based upon their defensive ratings and points. Furthermore, the level of the mob that they are fighting, and that mobs “skills” will also affect some of these percentages.

I’ll throw in Avallach’s current numbers to see how the attack table works.

Ava’s Auto Attack Table (numbers rounded):

Result Percentage“Roll” Range
Parry18% 33-51
Block55% w/Holy Shield52 -106 (top end is off chart)
Critical0% (reduced to 0 from 490+ defense)(pushed off of chart)
Crushing Blow0%(pushed off of chart)
Ordinary Hit0%(pushed off of chart)

So, lets say that ol’ Moroes in Karazhan is about to take a whack at me. The server will “roll” the 100-sided die and if the number lands between 1-12, he’ll miss me. If the number lands between 34-52, I’ll parry the attack. If the number is between 53-100, I’ll block it, etc…

So now you are thinking, “Geeze Av! You are invincible! (not to mention handsome and humble to a fault!)” Hardly.

I can get stunned, attacked from behind, silenced, or get unlucky and get crushed in the moments between my holy shield wearing off and reactivating it. Furthermore, (and more significant) other types of attacks may be used against me such as special attacks and spell damage, both of which are calculated by a different set of rules than the auto attack table.

Finally, Prince Malchezzar in Karazhan is a prime example of an exception to the uncrushable rule. He consistently crushes “uncrushable” tanks in phase 2 with successive crushing blows that can hit for 13,000+ damage in less than a second. This illustrates that skull bosses do have the ability to change things up somewhat.

What this does mean though is that Avallach is mathematically uncrushable because there are only 100 sides to the die and although being so is not infallible, it is also far from useless.

So what about a new L70 tank with only base defense?
Assuming that the player has trained up their base defense all the way up to 350 but has no gear/talents/consumables that provide extra avoidances (dodge/parry/block/etc…), their auto attack table against a L73 boss will look like this:

L70 w/Base Defense Only Against Skull Boss:

ResultPercentage“Roll” Range
Critical6% (rounded)17-22
Crushing Blow15%23-37
Ordinary Hit63%38-100

If this unfortunate person were to go up against Moroes, they would get their tail handed to them. They are guaranteed to be taking melee damage 84+% of the time and this doesn’t include special attacks or spells.

Why is a crushing blow allocated a 15% range on the attack table?
If you ask someone out on the streets of Stormwind this question, they will probably tell you that a mob has to be 3 levels higher than you to be able to crush you but this is not actually the way it works albeit this explanation works in general.

In order for a mob to be able to crush you, it has to have at least 15 “weapon skill” points above your current defense rating. If it has 15 weapon skill points above your current defense, it is allocated a minimum of a 15% chance to crush you. This percentage increases if there is a higher spread but will never decrease lower than 15%. Like everything else, there is a formula for determining this: (NPC's level x 5 - Player's Defense) * 2% - 15%.

Because our focus is on L70 tanks, let’s look at it again from this angle. If a L70 has their base defense trained all the way to 350 and they go up against a L73 skull boss, the skull boss will have its weapon skill “trained” to 365 and will therefore be granted a 15% chance to crush you.

If, theoretically, the skull boss was a L72 mob, it would have 0% chance to crush you if your defense is at 350. Remember, it has to have at least 15 weapon skill points above your current defense rating to qualify for crushing blows. Conversely, if you went up against a L72 mob but had neglected your defense and it was sitting at say 340, the L72 mob would have 20 points on you and would therefore have a 25% chance to crush you based upon the above formula.

What about defense beyond 350?
It doesn’t directly help. Remember, the mobs crushing ability takes effect at 15 weapon skill points above the player’s base defense. Its percentage will increase if your defense is lower than your level base but will not directly decrease if your defense is above your level base. To say that adding more defense points beyond 350 will in no way help reduce crushing blows is not entirely accurate however as you will see next.

Ok so how do I become uncrushable?
The answer is reflected in Avallach’s attack table. The only way to reach the uncrushable benchmark is to quite literally push the mob’s crushing ability off the end of the attack table.

In order to do this, you increase your avoidances so that their combined percentages exceed 100. Remember, there are only 100 possibilities on the servers attack table “roll”. In truth though, you actually need to achieve 102.4% because again, we are talking about skull bosses who are 3 levels higher than us and because they are higher, our avoidances all together are 2.4% less effective than they would be against a mob of the same level.

Because increasing defense also increases miss/dodge/parry/block albeit marginally, it is not entirely correct to say that increasing defense beyond 350 will not help reduce crushing blows. It actually will. Consider Avallach again. I currently have a 6.28% bonus added to my miss/dodge/parry/block as a direct result of having 512 defense points so these percentages do in fact help push the crushing percentage off of the attack table.

I make this point because if you read up on crushing blows on WoWWiki, the article there says that increasing defense beyond 350 will not help reduce the 15% crushing range. While this is true in a direct sense, it does help indirectly. Even so, improving dodge/parry/block directly is more efficient for achieving uncrushable status.

Finally, the above paragraphs primarily apply to warriors and paladins. According to the little I read, druids in bear form are apparently not concerned with crushing blows due to their extremely high armor.

What about non-tanking folks?
The attack table and formula applies to you as well so it may be wise to, at the very least, get your defense trained up to is maximum base. For every point below your maximum base, add 2% to a skull boss’s crushing blow range for you. If you raid and the boss occasionally escapes the tank and comes after you, having your defense maxed to its base could mean the difference between a 15% chance to get crushed or a much larger chance.

Passive vs. Un-Passive Uncrushable
Warriors and Paladins who can push crushing blows off of the table without assistance from shield tricks like holy shield are considered to be passive uncrushable. It takes very high dodge/parry/block to achieve this but it is obviously the best way to go.

So there ya have it. Everything you ever wanted to know about crushing blows and probably a lot that you didn’t want to know hehe.


Defense- Grants you a certain percentage of dodge/parry/block and these will increase as you train it up. Training defense beyond your level base will give you a nice bonus to miss as well as increasing dodge/parry/block beyond the base amount.

Miss- All mobs have a built-in 5% chance to miss you. As mentioned above, if you train defense beyond your level base, you will increase the chance that a mob will miss you.

Dodge/Parry/Block- Dodge is just that and has the advantage of working against rear attacks. Parry is blocking with your weapon. Block requires a shield and unlike dodge and parry which mitigate 100% of damage when successful, block only absorbs a portion of the damage. On the other hand, block is easier to train up and as such, is usually the largest percentage of your avoidances. Block and parry do not work with rear attacks.

Uncrittable- I didn’t discuss this in the main article but in brief, if you train up your defense to 490 (415 for druids), a mob cannot crit you. You can also train up resilience to 220.64 to achieve the same result or you can combine the two. A mob crit is 2x normal damage.

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