How it Works: breaking immunities (aka what happened to Cold Mastery)

Let's talk briefly about breaking immunities and how Cold Mastery was briefly able to do this.

If an enemy is immune to an element, this simply means that it has greater than 100% resistance to that element.

Some skills can directly reduce resistance to specific elements:

Cold Mastery (Sorceress skill) reduces enemy resistance to Cold. Effectiveness increases by 5% per level with each point in the skill, starting at 20% reduction at level 1.

Conviction (Paladin aura) lowers enemy resistance to Fire, Lightning, and Cold. Effectiveness increases by 5% per level with each point in the skill, starting at 30% reduction at level 1.

Lower Resist (Necromancer curse) reduces enemy resistance to Fire, Lightning, Cold, and Poison. Effectiveness increases with diminishing returns. At level 1, resistances are reduced by 31% and at level 20, resistances are reduced by 62%.

Cold Mastery has historically never broken enemy immunities; that is, it would never reduce an enemy with greater than 100% Cold resist to below 100%, meaning that it historically has had no effect whatsoever on Cold Immune enemies. Conversely, Lower Resist and Conviction have always worked against immune enemies*, making it so immune enemies could lose resistance to a specific element and therefore be susceptible to damage from that element.

First, lets talk about enemies with less than 100% resistance to a specific element (NON IMMUNE). In this scenario, the above skills will simply subtract from enemy resistance. With level 10 Cold Mastery (-65%) against an enemy with 90% Cold resistance, resistance would be reduced from 90% to 25%. So if your cold spell does 100 damage, instead of taking 10 damage, they would take 75 damage.

If an enemy had 90% Lightning resist and you used level 10 Conviction (-75%), enemy Lightning resist would be reduced to 15%.

If an enemy had 90% Fire resist and you used level 10 Lower Resist (-55%), enemy Lightning resist would be reduced to 35%.

This is all very straightforward.

Now let's talk about using these skills against enemies with immunities. Remember: this simply means that enemy resistance to that element is greater than 100%.

Skills that reduce resistance work at 20% effectiveness against immune enemies.

So when Cold Mastery was working against immune enemies, it did so at 20% effectiveness. Consider a Cold Immune enemy with 120% Cold resist. In order to break this immunity, Cold resist needs to be reduced by 21% or more so that the enemy has 99% or less. This required (past tense since Cold Mastery can no longer break immunities) Cold Mastery at level 18, which reduces Cold resist by 105%. 105% reduction at 20% effectiveness is 21% reduction. In this scenario, the enemy's 120% Cold resist would be reduced to 99% resist, breaking the immunity. Barely- it would have 99% Cold resist and take hardly any cold damage.

The "fix" to Cold Mastery doesn't really matter much because most Cold Immune enemies in Hell difficulty have such high Cold resist to start with.


Most lightning and Fire immune enemies have barely above 100% resistance, perhaps upwards of 120% with the occasional outlier having considerably more. But with Cold immune enemies, most have 140% Cold resist or higher, making it basically impossible to break Cold Immunity. Sure, some Act 1 and 2 enemies have closer to 100% Cold resist and could have their immunity broken, but literally everything in act 4 and 5 has such high base Cold resist that it could never be broken anyway. Oblivion Knights have 180% Cold resist. Level 27 Cold Mastery reduces Cold resist by 200% (reduced to -40% against immune enemies), so this would only take an Oblivion Knight's Cold resist from 180% down to 140%.

Wait, though- just combine high Cold Mastery with Infinity on your merc, right? Level 12 Conviction reduces Fire/Lightning/Cold resists by 85%. This is reduced to -17% against immune enemies after the 20% penalty. So with level 37 Cold Mastery and an Infinity merc, an Oblivion Knight's CR would be reduced from 180% to 123%. It's still not enough. Not even close.

Infinity breaks many Lightning immunes because most have a base Lightning resist at or close to 100%.


Almost every Lightning Immune enemy in Hell difficulty has 115% or less Lightning resist. 17% reduction from Infinity can break the Lightning Immunity of all of these enemies, although it cannot break the Lightning Immunity of the few with 120%+ Lightning resist.

A large percentage of Fire Immune enemies in Hell difficulty also have 115% or less Fire resist, allowing Infinity to break their Fire Immunity as well.


So even if Cold Mastery wasn't "fixed" and could still break Cold Immunity, it wouldn't matter much because most Cold Immune enemies have so much Cold resist.

I hope that helps you understand this a little bit better.


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