Area Effect is a unique effect found on many gear pieces, as well as a the passives of several characters. It is also an inherent effect on some specials. The affected special or super move will deal a stated percentage of the primary damage dealt to the main target to both tagged-out characters.
If multiple sources of Area Effect are activated, only one part of the damage will show as a number pop up, but the actual damage stacks.
The Arkham Knight's passive causes his s2 to deal additional Area Effect damage upon hitting 200% (equivalent to 40% of his damage stat, prior to upgrades; this is additional damage dealt to the whole enemy team, not the usual damage-derived-from-main-target-damage form).
The first half of Reverse Flash's s2 deals 50% Area Effect damage, independent of his passive.
Darkseid/Apokolips's s2 also deals ~23% Area Effect damage.
Aquaman/Regime's Super Move will do a small amount of Area Effect damage, presumably due to a technical limitation that requires damage to be dealt to power drain, as his super drains all power from the whole enemy team.
League Of Assassins Adept Knives allows any character to do Area Effect damage on special 1.
Fourth World Godly Mace allows any character to do Area Effect damage on special 2.
The Master's Death Cart allows any character to do Area Effect damage on all special attacks and combo enders.
Area Effect damage cannot knock out tagged-out characters, it will always leave them with 1 health left. However, the damage pop up will still show full damage. A knock-out blow on the main target will inflict full area effect damage on tagged-out characters.
Area effect does not apply for status effects, (e.g. damage over time will not be dealt to tagged-out characters even if the special does area effect damage), with the exception of Aquaman/Regime's super move, which drains all power from the whole enemy team.
Area Effect damage will not trigger Raven/Prime's passive. Previously, it did, but it only reduced the health of the character that used the Area Effect attack without healing Raven. It will also not trigger The Flash/Elseworld's passive. However, Area Effect damage will trigger Green Lantern/John Stewart's Emergency Barrier and Bane/Arkham Origins's Vengeance.
Area Effect damage dealt completely depends on the character who took the special itself, and any damage increase (e.g. bleed) or decrease (e.g. Green Lantern/Red Son's passive) will also affect the damage the rest of the team takes proportionally.
Area Effect from gear will hit for 0 damage if the main target is invulnerable, such as from the Militarized Batmobile, Green Lantern/John Stewart's passive, or them using a special themselves. However, characters with inherent (passive or special based) Area Effect damage will damage secondary targets at the normal damage even if the main target is invulnerable.
Area Effect damage cannot apply Life Drain.
Area Effect may seem to significantly increase your damage, but due to the impact of "piling", it is much less valuable than direct damage boosts. As you can see in the graphic to the right, it is much more effective to focus your damage rather than spreading it out, making Area Effect less powerful than it seems. However, League Of Assassins Adept Knives's up to 50% area effect is huge; it is particularly strong on one-hit special 1s when paired with Cloak of Destiny (examples include Bane/Luchador; and Batgirl/Prime who's s1 is also essentially one-hit for this purpose as the majority of its damage is on the second hit). Overkill damage on your primary target is still counted in the calculation for area effect damage, so with enough augments and fully evolved gears, it is possible to knock out one character and bring the other two characters to 1 health with a single s1, which is what makes Luchador Bane feared in Online Battles.
Less explosively efficient area effect damage can also be a counter to strong self-regeneration effects (a prime example being Fourth World Set's full set effect), as it allows you to continuously whittle down the health of tagged out opponents even if the main target is healing too rapidly to defeat. This helps with characters who regenerate health while tagged out.
- Area Effect damage does not show up in the after-match damage count.
- The full LexCorp Set's damage effect can occasionally cause an Area Effect animation if the characters tag at the right moment, but it is not truly an Area Effect attack.