Spell Resistance as a Defensive Stat

Last updated 01/12/08, patch 2.3.2.

There are encounters when you, as a player, may want to wear gear that provides you with some spell resistance. In situations where you could take a lot of magic damage, spell resistance gear can potentially negate a large portion of it.

How Spell Resistance Works:

With spell resistance, one can resist up to 75% of an opponent’s spells and spell damage of a given spell school (except for the holy school; there is not a holy spell resistance stat for players). So if a mob was casting shadow school spells at you, your shadow resistance stat would be used in calculating your resistances to those spells.
The formula for average resistance chance is as follows:

Your Average Resistance =
(Your Spell Resistance / (Opponent’s Level * 5)) * 0.75

How much spell resistance you want depends on the level of your opponent, and how much damage you desire to mitigate.

Here is a table summarizing some key values:


This table shows that for 75% mitigation (the maximum amount), you would need 300 spell school resist against a level 60, 350 against a level 70, and 365 against a boss in a level 70 raid.

In PvE:

As a priest, in instances, you will likely not ever need any spell resistance gear. Some people equip a bit of fire resist gear for the Nazan fight in Ramparts (normal and heroic) or might want some extra nature resist for Quagmirran in Underbog (normal and heroic), but it isn’t necessary and not worth the cost to get. Class abilities should be all you need to survive encounters like these (Fire Resistance Aura, Aspect of the Wild, etc.). Otherwise, just chug a potion if you must.

In most level 70 raids, wearing resistance gear is either never needed or only needed by tanks. Some examples where you might need it in a raid:

  • If you are the designated soaker on the Curator event in Karazhan, then arcane resist would be helpful (but not necessary).
  • For Mother Shahraz in Black Temple, shadow resistance is needed (typically recommended is 365 fully buffed).
  • The Supremus fight in Black Temple has some environmental fire damage, so some fire resist can be handy when learning the encounter.
  • For the Kaz’rogal fight in Mount Hyjal, some shadow resist can help with the deadly mana drain.
  • When fighting Hex Lord in ZA, about 100 shadow resistance is helpful if you are low on health (under 10k buffed).

… and more I may have inadvertently forgotten. Check BossKillers for encounter-specific recommendations.

In PvP:

Spell resistance can be helpful in PvP depending on your opponent. Obviously situational, and tricky to carry and switch gear depending on your opponent. Some players (notably in the lower arena brackets) may wear some extra spell resistance on their gear. Most will just get by with whatever buffs they have (Shadow Protection, Mark of the Wild, etc.).

It is not necessary in PvP, and is far from being a practical thing to focus on. However, toying with it can yield some interesting results.

Where to Get Spell Resistance


(Click for lists)


  • The largest enchants that grant spell resistance are to headpeices (+20), and to cloaks (+15). It is possible to get resistance enchants to shoulders, gloves, chest, legs, and feet as well. List here.



Note: Resistances from buffs do not stack. You will only gain the highest value from a buff.


  • (Guardian) Elixirs:
  • Spell Damage Absorption:
    • There are also “protection” potions that will absorb damage instead of resisting it. Full list here.

Racial Bonuses:

  • Undead: +10 shadow resistance
  • Draenei: +10 shadow resistance
  • Blood Elves: +5 shadow, nature, arcane, fire, and frost resistance
  • Dwarves: +10 frost resistance
  • Gnomes: +10 arcane resistance
    Yes, I know gnomes cannot be priests; I just included them for completeness’s sake


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One Response

  1. Very nice compilation. I’ve never played a tank, but if I did, I would review this resistance guide.


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