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Death Defiance is an ability that can be unlocked at the Mirror of Night. In gameplay terms, it is basically "extra lives". Upon taking lethal damage, Zagreus instead loses one Death Defiance, briefly becomes invulnerable, and restores 50% . The health restored can be enhanced via boons and is not affected by the pact condition Lasting Consequences. If he receives fatal damage without any charges of Death Defiance left, he will die and return back to the House of Hades.
On the right: Four different kinds of Death Defiance. From left to right: Skelly's Death Defiance, a starter Death Defiance, a Kiss of Styx Death Defiance, and an Athena Death Defiance.
Up to three charges of Death Defiance can be unlocked at the Mirror. Charges are displayed as icons above the health bar, and are consumed one at a time from right to left, leaving a slot. Charges can be replenished in that slot, up to the ranks unlocked at the mirror, or added through different ways.
If Zagreus used up a charge of Death Defiance in a run, he can replenish that slot through the following ways:
- Buying a Kiss of Styx from a Well of Charon for 200
- Choosing Athena's Last Stand and Deathless Stand boons
- Choosing the Kiss of Styx Premium offered by Patroclus in Elysium (which replenishes all spent charges of Death Defiance)
Additional charges from Athena cannot exceed the amount unlocked at the mirror (at maximum rank, 3) but her boons can still be chosen for upgrades to Death Defiance (more health restored/longer invulnerability). When you have no more replenishable slots, you cannot buy a Kiss of Styx from the Well and accepting Kiss of Styx Premium from Patroclus will have no effect.
Besides the Mirror upgrade, Zagreus can add a Death Defiance (i.e., gain a charge with its own slot) in a run through the following way:
- Equipping Skelly's Keepsake, Lucky Tooth, provides a charge and its own slot of Death Defiance, although this restores a flat amount of health as opposed to a percentage. This charge is the last to be used as the leftmost icon, and its benefit (including empty slot) will be lost when switching the Keepsake out.
- Choosing Chaos's Legendary Boon, Defiance. Their legendary boon will only be offered if you already have a boon from them and can be offered more than once.
These methods can extend the maximum charges on top of the slots unlocked by the Mirror for that run.
Stubborn Defiance is Death Defiance's alternate Mirror talent, which has one charge per chamber. Upon taking lethal damage, the Stubborn defiance will disappear for the chamber and Zagreus will briefly become invulnerable and restore 30% . The Stubborn Defiance will come back in the next chamber. The health restored can be enhanced via boons and items and is not affected by the Pact of Punishment condition Lasting Consequences. If Zagreus receives fatal damage without the charge of Stubborn Defiance left, he will die and return back to the House of Hades.
If Last Stand or Deathless Stand boons from Athena are picked up while the Stubborn Defiance charge is depleted, Zagreus will gain an additional Death Defiance in addition to the Stubborn Defiance which will be gone after it is used.
- Buying Touch of Styx from a Well of Charon for 55
- Choosing the Touch of Styx Dark offered by Patroclus in Elysium (which makes Stubborn Defiance replenish 50% more for 15 encounters)
- Choosing Athena's Last Stand boon
- All bosses except the Hydra (and including Thanatos) recognize when Zagreus has used a Death Defiance charge, and may play special voice lines in reaction to it.
- Prior to the Welcome to Hell Update, all sources of Death Defiance charges added to, instead of replenished, the charges that Zagreus can hold, and were gone once they were used. There were no limits to the amount of Death Defiances he could hold, so it was possible to keep obtaining Kiss of Styx and hoard Death Defiances.