Plant pathogens colonize their host through the secretion of effector proteins that modulate plant metabolism and immune responses to their benefit. Plants evolve towards effector recognition, leading to host immunity. Typically, pathogen effectors are targets for recognition through plant receptors that are encoded by resistance genes. Resistance gene mediated crop immunity puts a tremendous pressure on pathogens to adapt and alter their effector repertoire to overcome recognition. We argue that the type of effector that is recognized by the host may have considerable implications on the durability of resistance against filamentous plant pathogens. Effector genes that are conserved among pathogens and reside in core genome regions are most likely to hold indispensable virulence functions. Consequently, the cost for the pathogen to overcome recognition by the host is higher than for diversified, host-specific effectors with a quantitative impact on virulence. Consequently, resistance genes that directly target conserved effector proteins without the interception of other effector proteins are potentially excellent resistance resources. © 2019 The Authors. Pest Management Science published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society of Chemical Industry.