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"Betrayer. In truth, it was I who was betrayed. Still I am hunted, still I am hated. Now my blind eyes see what others cannot. That sometimes the hand of fate must be forced.."
Voiced by: Liam O'Brien
Class: Demon Hunter (formerly Mage)Illidan is... complicated. Originally the fraternal twin of Malfurion Stormrage, he diverged from his brother, both with his more caustic, arrogant personality and his adept sorcery. Unfortunately, arcane magic in the Warcraft universe is addictive, and Illidan quickly became dependent on the powers he wielded. Initially a hero during the invasion of the Burning Legion in Azeroth's ancient past, Illidan spent some time in their service (as a double agent with vainglorious but heroic intentions) and, thanks to a "gift" of Sargeras, had both his eyes seared out and replaced with supernatural vision, gaining a strong understanding of fel magic in the process. When the arcane Well of Eternity was destroyed, Illidan betrayed the night elves by creating a new one with a vial from the old Well, and, in defending himself, killed several of his own people. Since this was seen as endangering the worldnote Illidan was chained beneath the earth for ten thousand years.Understandably, this made him a little bitter.Released to battle the demons during the Third War by his former crush, Tyrande Whisperwind, Illidan cleansed the Felwood by absorbing the power of an evil demonic artifact, the Skull of Gul'dan. Now half-demon, he was banished by the night elves and sought to destroy the Lich King following Kil'jaeden's order, winning the allegiance of Lady Vashj's Naga forces and Kael'thas' blood elves. He failed and was badly injured by Arthas, and fled to his new realm of Outland to escape Kil'jaeden's wrath, where over the time between Warcraft III and World of Warcraft his last well-intentioned hopes were replaced by megalomania and madness. Or so it seemed...In truth, he never gave up his plans he made ten thousand years ago to destroy the Burning Legion. Having gained an idea of their overwhelming powers and goals, Illidan was determined to gather his forces to eventually assault Argus, homeplanet of the Eredar, and destroy it. Illidan built a new army of fel orcs, demons and began the training of new demon hunters, and, while locating the coordinates of Argus, managed to destroy Nathreza, home of the Nathrezim. In the meantime, he was also able to kill the forces of his former jailor, Maiev Shadowsong, and capture her. However, Illidan's fear to get betrayed by unloyal forces made him unwilling to reveal his plans to anyone outside of his demon hunters, and his brutal authority over Outland eventually led to Akama plotting against his master. Not caring about Outland anymore and solely focusing on his mission to destroy Argus, Illidan lost sight of his former allies, losing Kael'thas to Kil'jaeden, and his control over Outland to the Alliance and the Horde from Azeroth, who marched in and suspected that Illidan in his madness was collaborating with the Legion once more. Right before the Black Temple was assaulted, Illidan sent his demon hunters to the Legion world, Mardum, to steal an important artifact that could lead them Argus. Before his demon hunters could return though, Illidan was taken down by the combined forces of Maiev, who was freed by Akama, and the Azerothian forces.Illidan returns in the Legion expansion, having been imprisoned by Maiev to have his soul tormented for all eternity. Gul'dan steals his body from the Vault of the Wardens and separates his soul from it, intending to use his body as a new vessel for Sargeras. The Adventurers thwart Gul'dan at the last moment, and reunite Illidan's soul and body. According to Xe'ra, he is the key to defeating the Legion on Argus, being the mythical "Child of Light and Shadow".
- Abhorrent Admirer: Turns more and more into one for Tyrande as he loses it. That said, he stops after his banishment.
- The Ace: Deconstructed. Illidan believes he is one and this leads him to do rash and flat out stupid things because he thinks he's such an ace that no matter what comes at him, he'll handle with ease. In contrast to his twin Malfurion, who is a Humble Hero considered the strongest Druid ever, Illidan's boasts and actions come across as someone who is desperate to be seen as the ace he thinks he is. He finally snaps when Arthas, currently at close to his weakest while Illidan himself was at the height of his powers, beat him by using intelligence and skill over Illidan's brute force.
- Alas, Poor Yorick: When he is confronted by players at the top of Black Temple in Burning Crusade, he is seen meditating with the skull of Gul'dan in his hand before the fight begins.
- Always Someone Better: Malfurion is constantly shown to be the better person in almost every sense of the word when compared to Illidan. This greatly hurts Illidan since despite loving his twin, he also in a sense hates him because Malfurion is that much more liked, loved, and respected than he ever will.
- Anti-Hero: Type V, He's not remotely heroic, but his ego and obsession with getting praise often leads him to do the right thing for the wrong reasons.
- Anti Hero Protagonist: Illidan was a protagonist in the Night Elves and Blood Elves campaign of Warcraft 3. The player also assumes his role (or rather, conducts his story from the player's point of view) in one Legion storyline.
- Badass Boast: "Now you are prepared!" Said to the Illidari at the end of his Harbringers chapter.
- Big Good Triumvirate: Along with Velen and Khadgar are the leaders in the fight against the Burning Legion.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Fancies himself the Lord of Outland and was advertised as The Burning Crusade's Big Bad, but is merely a distraction and is ultimately undermined by Kael'thas, who sets up the expansion's true Big Bad, Kil'jaeden and the Burning Legion. Come Legion, considering that he intended to fight the Burning Legion, he comes across as more of a Big Good Wannabe.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: His use of the Legion's own power in order to defeat them was once a noble goal, but he eventually became barely an elf and nearly as much a demon as they are.
- Big Bad: Regardless of how his intentions are interpreted, he's this for Burning Crusade.
- Black Magic: Illidan's inability to keep off the fel magic is the source of his damnation.
- Blindfolded Vision: The Illidan novel reveals that he sees just fine, even though he often remarked that he is "blind, not deaf". His demon hunters went through a similar process like him and Illidan remarked that they can adjust their new-gained sight to see like they used to see if they wished. He actually perceives magic much better now.
- Body Horror: Along the way, he grew horns, wings and his feet turned to hooves.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Illidan actually has more innate aptitude for druidic magic than Malfurion, but the slow progress of learning such magic coupled with its lack of esteem in Night Elven society at the time meant that he quickly lost interest.
- Byronic Hero: Arrogant and cunning, thinks he's heroic. Feels misunderstood. Outcast. Charismatic. Rejected by the woman he loved... more examples?
- Cain and Abel: Him and Malfurion. Slightly reversed, Illidan is younger, but is the 'Cain', while Malfurion is older, yet he is the 'Abel'. They never do trade blows however or try to kill each other.
- Catch-Phrase: After undergoing Memetic Mutation, Illidan's most known phrase ends up being "YOU ARE NOT PREPARED!!" Or just variations of being prepared.
- Character Rerailment: Many Warcraft players felt that his descent into tyranny during The Burning Crusade was poorly executed. Blizzard apparently agreed, seeing how Legion has gone above and beyond to rerail Illidan into an Unscrupulous Hero bordering on Nominal Hero - which is much more in line with his character before The Burning Crusade. Make no mistake; Illidan is a Well-Intentioned Extremist that's A Lighter Shade of Grey at best, more than willing to Pay Evil unto Evil, but given the foes he faces he is never an outright villain.
- Childhood Friend Romance: One-sided version with Tyrande.
- The Chosen One:
- Deconstructed. A lot of Illidan's less than savory actions were because people viewed him as someone destined for greatness and he was trying to seize the power and accolades he felt he deserved as a result. In some ways he was happy when the Burning Legion first invaded, as this seemed like his destiny of being The Hero unfolding.
- In Legion Gul'dan claims he is chosen to bring about the fall of Azeroth. On the other hand, at least one of the first naaru, by the name of Xe'ra, believes he is destined to be a champion of Light destined to fight the Void, as shown in the Illidan novel.
- Didn't Think This Through: Essentially admits his "Hide from Kil'jaeden in Outland" plan was this. This can also be applied his other plans as well as he seems to only see the positive outcomes of his actions and not the negatives that will come with it.
- Disabled Means Helpless: Averted and lampshaded: "I'm blind, not deaf!"
- Double Weapon: His iconic warglaives are a pair of curved blades on each end of a hilt.
- Dreamworks Face: Makes one at the end of the intro cinematic for Warcraft 3: Frozen Throne note , despite wearing a blindfold.
- Dual Wielding: Wields two large warglaives.
- Evil Is Easy: Perhaps "evil" is stretching it, but part of the reason Illidan chose the arcane over druidism, despite his massive potential for the latter, was because the process of learning was too long with too few benefits gained in the meantime, along with the fact druidism had not become so important to Night Elf society yet. The fact that his brother Malfurion eventually surpassed him in that field and Cenarius himself told him he was better off learning from his brother than himself just further fueled his resentment for it.
- Evil Sounds Deep: His voice gets quite a bit deeper after he absorbs the Skull of Gul'dan and becomes half demon.
- Eye Scream: Sargeras burned away his original eyes, and replaced them with flames that allowed him to better perceive magical auras. We never get to see him without his blindfold, but in the novels his eyes are described as being surrounded by charred flesh and exposed bone. It's so nasty that it grosses Mannoroth out.
- Eyepatch of Power: An entire Blindfold of Power.
- Fallen Hero: Was a hero in the war against the Burning Legion, but his desire to prove himself and jealousy of his brother drove him to join the Legion to destroy it from within. Then he was imprisoned and freed, only to be forced to work for the Legion again in what caused him to Jump Off The Slippery Slope. From then on, he shifts between Anti-Hero and Well-Intentioned Extremist in his efforts to fight the Burning Legion with the public at large, even Malfurion and Tyrande, seeing him as a villain.
- Fatal Flaw: Illidan often feels misunderstood, when he apparently has plans everyone would agree is for the good of Azeroth. In his opinion, the ends justify the means. His problem is that he never communicates with anyone about his plans, he just assumes people should blindly follow and trust him. This is what led to him being called "The Betrayer" and what led to his death, as the Legion abused the fact that Illidan looked like a villain to the Azerothian forces.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Life imprisonment is already pretty bad, but if you're an immortal...
- Considering what Kil'Jaeden has done to many of his previous pawns, Illidan's assumption of what Kil'Jaeden will do to him qualifies for sure.
- The reason he's come back from the dead is even moreso, as Maiev trapped his soul in the mortal coil to be actively tortured for all eternity until Gul'dan intervened.
- Fireball Eyeballs: What his eyes were replaced with. This gave him Spectral Sight.
- To Arthas Menethil. Both were young men who tried to live up to everyone's high expectations of them and ended up cracking under the pressure, both made very morally ambiguous choices in trying to protect their world, distancing themselves from their loved ones as a result, both accepted dark powers in order to accomplish their goals and both are seen as traitors by their own kind. However, Illidan was able to keep himself focused, more or less, on protecting Azeroth from the Legion, while Arthas eventually didn't even try to justify his actions and decided to drown the world in undeath.
- To his brother, Malfurion. Malfurion never sought greatness but his selfless actions during the War of the Ancient made him a beloved hero and leader. Illidan, on the other hand, was marked for greatness since birth and desperately tried to make the prediction come true, ultimately resulting in him driving away everyone he cared about and becoming known as a hated traitor by his own people. Even Illidan's demonic mutations make him look like twisted version of his brother.
- Also, to Sargeras himself. Both were given insight to forces that could destroy the universe and both rejected their companions' advice on how to deal with the threats, believing that their plans were the only way to save the universe. They both also sought demonic powers and allies in order to carry out their plans.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: When Maiev calls him out on being insane, his reply is something of a Blunt "Yes": "Isolation will do that to the mind." If only the other night elves understood that, a lot of tragedy could have been averted.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: This might have been the intent when Sargeras burnt out Illidan's eyes, as Illidan was granted a vision of the true extent of the Legion. Instead, it backfired, strengthening Illidan's resolve and creating not only one of the biggest foes of the Legion, but the one to ultimately get the pieces in place to stop them once and for all.
- His Own Worst Enemy: Considering Illidan's actions and refusal to tell anyone what he is actually doing...
- Handicapped Badass: He can't see thanks to the Vision of Sargeras yet he's able to sense and feel power thanks to it. In fact, he's stronger blind than he was before. Eventually retconned.
- Heel–Face Revolving Door: Illidan's ultimate allegiance is to himself and Tyrande, and even the latter becomes less and less important to him in his continued actions.
- Heroic Wannabe: Wants so bad to be the Hero everyone praises and the center of attention, the all-powerful vanquishing hero that saves the day and gets the girl. The fact that Malfurion gets the girl and he gets thrown in a dungeon, then banished, and beaten by someone he thought "beneath" him breaks his psyche completely and he becomes bitter and a little mad, determined in his cursed state to get back at the ones who started it all: The Burning Legion.
- He Who Fights Monsters: The risk taken by all Demon Hunters, he succumbed rather quickly... Then it got worse.
- Hopeless Suitor: To Tyrande. Not that he has ever stopped trying even after knowing that she only has eyes for his brother. One of the sure-fire ways to get Illidan on your side (apart from magic for his addiction) is to promise that your plan will help/impress Tyrande. He stops around the time of his banishment into Outland.
- Horns of Villainy: Part of his physical transformation as a half-demon involved growing long, curved horns from his forehead.
- Insane Forgiveness: The adventurers destroyed his empire, killed him and ruined his plans to defeat The Burning Legion. When he revives in Legion he does not seem to hold a grudge.
- Irony: Those Supernatural Gold Eyes of his that meant he was destined for greatness? They were a sign of latent druidic potential. The same druidism he shunned because he felt it wouldn't lead him to his great destiny.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Let's just say that he did not take his defeat by Arthas, and the subsequent realization that Kil'jaeden will want to punish him for his failure, very well. At all.
- Killed Off for Real: Up until Legion. Due to his nature as a demon, his soul was trapped in the Twisted Nether, leaving his body imprisoned by the Wardens. Alternate Gul'dan would later revive him.
- Large Ham: When Liam O'Brien is the one voicing him. Besides the memetic "YOU ARE NOT PREPARED!", there's also pretty much every line he says in the Well of Eternity dungeon. Especially "I will be the savior of our PEOPLE! I WILL FULFILL MY DESTINYYY!"
- Leitmotif: Illidan's scenes in Legion are often accompanied with a set of brass chords.
- Love Triangle: Part of this with Tyrande, although really he never had a chance. He likes to think he has a chance, but this only worsens his sanity.
- Magic Knight: Required to be a demon hunter.
- Meet the New Boss: Why he had so many enemies in Outland. His actions as Lord of Outland seemed basically identical to the previous Legion overlords unless you were part of a very select group of people.
- Mr. Fanservice: Half-elf, half-demon, blindfolded, muscular, perpetually shirtless, purple-skinned, winged, clawed, horned, tattooed, definitely interpretable as a woobie.
- Moral Myopia: This guy uses the Legion's power to protect Azeroth, but is often as destructive as they are. One novice Demon Hunter actually has the nerve to ask whether they're any better than the Legion; he actually listens, and his way of responding is rather profound.
- Never My Fault: Though Illidan has acknowledged when he is to blame, he does have his moments of playing this trope straight. Such as his refusal to admit that his own actions is what turns Akama against him.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: A bit of a stretch, given his apparent madness and lust for recognition, but Illidan's entire life before fleeing to the Outland can be read as this. His repeated (and just relatively successful) attempts at heroism simply don't seem heroic enough for anyone to appreciate them, and so he is ignored, shunned, imprisoned and finally banished despite never actually intending to hurt his friends or allies. He goes off the deep end when exiled, but until then the only unambiguously irredeemable thing he ever does is in a fit of frustration and anger when said allies seemingly prevent him from saving them in the long run. Even after fleeing Outland, he saved the Azerothian forces, that entered the Dark Portal, from an ambush. They thanked him by killing his hard-built army, destroying his holdings and eventually killing him. Granted, they never learned of the planned ambush and were tricked by the Legion to attack Illidan.
- Nominal Hero: Illidan ultimately cares most about protecting himself and Tyrande. This often puts him on the side of the heroes, and at least puts him against many of the true villains.
- Pet the Dog:
- His rescue of Tyrande in "The Frozen Throne" and his promise to always look out for her, no matter what, shortly before he fled to Outland.
- Before he lost what little sanity he had, his interactions with Kael'thas made it clear he wanted to help the young prince and his people.
- Poor Communication Kills: Illidan is actually really bad at getting his point across to others.
- Warcraft III: The magic he was using to try and destroy the Frozen Throne almost tore Northrend apart, so naturally his brother attempted to stop him. Granted he was only doing it because Kil'jaeden ordered him to do so and nobody at the time knew that killing the Lich King would have made the Scourge go wild, he may have at least gotten some sort of aid his methods didn't involve blowing up a continent.
- War of the Ancients, Illidan worked as a double agent, pretending to join Legion then use the Dragon Soul to destroy the Legion's portal. Only he told absolutely nobody this, and given his previous actions, everyone just assumed he went rogue.
- Burning Crusade and the Illidan novel: Perhaps in an attempt to justify exactly why Illidan became a raid boss.
- It turns out that Illidan had promised the Black Temple to Akama after defeating Magtheridon and later after he finishes his work on Outland. However, he kept changing the terms of the agreement and further corrupted the Black Temple, leading Akama to believe he had no intention of honoring their agreement. Leading to his Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal. To deal with this instead of actually explaining his plans, Illidan broke his soul, creating the Shade of Akama and used it to bind him, and the Ashtongue to his cause.
- During the Expansion, the Sha'tar, Alliance, and Horde saw Illidan at work creating the Fel Horde, enslaving Broken, and draining Zangarmarsh. Before the forces of Azeroth even got to Outland, Shattrath was attacked by blood elves, supposedly at Illidan's command. What Illidan was actually doing was preparing his forces on Outland to invade Argus and stop the Legion at it's source. He just didn't tell anybody, completely missed the fact that Kael'thas turned traitor, which is what got the people of Outland against him in the first place.
- Finally, when Black Temple is actively being assaulted, Illidan sends his demon hunters away on a mission and waits to fight the raiders, instead of explaining his plan.
- Power Tattoo: Given to him, along with his Spectral Sight, which increased his powers.
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: Sees himself as the protagonist and has one of these. Of course, given he's a mana-snorting power-hungry half-demon stalker with a fragile ego and 13 eggs short of a dozen, all he ends up as is a sideshow to his own expansion that's killed off to make way for more important events, and much later he's brought back only for his body to be stolen by Gul'dan for some purpose while his spirit is running from the Burning Legion.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: YOU! ARE NOT! PREPARED!!
- The Punishment: Illidan was sentenced to life imprisonment for making a second Well of Eternity and his seeming duplicity in serving the Burning Legion. However he has only grown worse due to his ten-thousand year long incarceration, not better as his kindhearted brother naively hoped.
- The Illidan novel and the Legion expansion go above and beyond to paint Illidan as an Unscrupulous Hero rather than the tyrannical maniac encountered in the Burning Crusade. The changes has included getting rid of his more insane moments like him claiming to have defeated Arthas, showing new scenes of his life to better explain his motives, and giving old scenes new context, all to make him look more sympathetic and heroic. However, it should be emphasized that the insane tyrant he was in Burning Crusade was a shift from his anti-hero status in Warcraft III and much maligned by the fanbase, and Legion has put him more in line with how he was before then, though some would argue it went too far in the other direction.
- While how much Illidan deserves his reputation in the current canon is arguable, in the original, Warcraft 3 account of the War of the Ancients his betrayal was undeniable. There, he sold out his brother and night elf rebellion to Azshara out of pettiness and his lust for power.
- Screw Destiny: Or rather "screw the destiny you decided for me." Illidan does believe he has a great destiny, having been told as such in his formative years due to his golden eyes, but in 7.3 he rejects the "child of Light and Shadow" destiny Xe'ra had been insisting was his the entire expansion. Even earlier in his novel he thought that the idea of him being a holy warrior wielding the Light wasn't who he was.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Hasn't been seen to have romantic feelings for anyone else other than Tyrande.
- Status Buff: In the final battle against Kil'Jaeden, Illidan share his sightless vision with the adventurers.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: When he still had eyes, at least. He was born with golden eyes, which among the Night Elves are considered a sign of great destiny. The desire to live up to this destiny is partially how Illidan became so recklessly ambitious in the first place. Ironically, golden eyes are actually a sign of druidic potential. Illidan was initially trained by Cenarius together with Malfurion (who had silver eyes at that time, which later turned golden), but wasn't satisfied with the slow progress and picked up arcane magic, for which he also had great potential. Heroes of the Storm actually gave him a skin, where in an Alternate Universe Illidan became a druid and the leader of the night elves, and Malfurion became the Betrayer.
- Tragic Hero/Tragic Villain: Depending on where on the morality scale you place him. Either way, it remains consistent that Illidan did try to do what he thought was best for his people for a long time.
- The Trickster: Neither good nor evil. Managed to deceive demon lords and to use their powers for himself (Vision of Sargeras, for example). He was very inventive, too - the first demon hunter, using the powers of his enemies against them. His "gift" for his people (the Well of Eternity and therefore arcane magic) and his hard punishment remind slightly of the Titan Prometheus. Like fire, the arcane can lead to high cultural advantages (the magical kingdom of Quel'thalas was often admired by the mages of Dalaran), but also heavy destruction. For the Night Elves, the arcane belongs to the universe, but is far too chaotic to be controlled - a "don't play with the fire"-attitude.
- Token Evil Teammate: As of the 7.2 upgrade, he's one of many leaders who ally against the Legion, and he is, by far, the nastiest, directing the player to strike with utter lack of mercy.
- Undying Loyalty: For what it's worth, he actually did instill loyalty in demons, who he freed from fel corruption, fel orcs, naga and a not-ignorable part of Kael's forces when Kael turned his cloak. His demon hunters, thanks to sharing a part of the vision Illidan saw and going through a similar process like him, have a deep understanding of Illidan and thus trust him as much as he trusts them.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Sure most demon hunters are, but since he got those wings on his back, he can't wear a shirt anymore.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The most charitable reading of his actions. He believes so, and that the only difference between his demon hunters and the Legion is that while the Legion will stop at nothing to destroy Azeroth, they will stop at nothing to defend it.
- Winged Humanoid: One of many demonic features he gained was fiendish wings.
- You Are Not Ready: "YOU ARE NOT PREPARED!" Ahem. But he did just say it in the beginning of the trailer, a few times when you fight him, and it has since become his Catch-Phrase.
Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider
"The Alliance has failed my people."
Voiced by: Quinton Flynn
Class: MageThe son of King Anasterian Sunstrider, Prince Kael'thas took over leadership of the High Elves after their defeat at the Sunwell at the hands of Arthas and the Scourge. At this time, the High Elves were just learning the true price of their magic addiction; deprived of the Sunwell's energies, they grew lethargic and desperate. Kael'thas promised to find a way to cure the malady, but in the meantime he formed an allegiance with Illidan Stormrage as the latter promised to satiate the Elves' hunger by harnessing the energies of demons themselves. Renaming his people Blood Elves, Kael'thas left them and entered Outland in search of the power to finally cure his people once and for all.His obsession with power led Kael'thas to consort directly with Kil'jaeden the Deceiver, the last undefeated Eredar lord of the Burning Legion. Abandoning Illidan as a lost cause, Kael'thas entered the recently arrived Naaru Dimensional Ship, the Tempest Keep, and began harnessing the magical energy of Outland toward unknown purposes. In the meantime, he sent forces to attack and destroy the rebuilt city of Shattrath, home to the power of the Naaru. These forces betrayed him and formed the Scryers.Under the leadership of the Naaru, the Scryers and Aldor (remnants of the Draenei) eventually drove Kael'thas out of Tempest Keep. However, his plans were not yet undone. Now wholly insane, Kael'thas returned in secret to Quel'thalas and used the power he had gathered in Outland to rebuild the Sunwell, with the objective of summoning Kil'jaeden into Azeroth. Had he succeeded, Azeroth may well have been destroyed, but Kael'thas never lived to see Kil'jaeden's defeat, as he was finally killed by a group of heroes who hunted him down in his final refuge within the Magister's Terrace.
- Addictive Magic: One of the worst examples of what happens when this gets taken too far, he cares more for sating his, and his people's addiction than anything else, and it costs him his sanity.
- Anti-Gravity Clothing: He has three green orbs floating around him called Verdant Spheres and players can loot one for themselves after beating him.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: While Evil and a Prince he cared too much for his dad to be an Evil Prince, as referenced in Arthas.
- Ascended Meme: Part of his long speech from the beginning of his fight in Magisters' Terrace has spawn a joke among the player about the potential return of raid bosses/deceased characters, to the point where it become a utterance and running gag that several characters using the quote."Don’t look so smug! I know what you’re thinking, but Tempest Keep was merely a set back."
- Badass Boast: In Arthas when he faces down against the Lich King's chosen during the final battle at Icecrown wielding his father's reforged blade and Arthas claims he's a fool to wield a sword he's broken once already."...not elven weapons. Not when they are reforged with magic, and hatred, and a burning need for revenge. No, Arthas. Felo'melorn is stronger than ever-as am I."
- Better Living Through Evil: The essence of his Face–Heel Turn to the Burning Legion.
- The Caligula: By the end of the Burning Crusade, Kael'thas had run the name Sunstrider into the ground.
- Calling Your Attacks: "Anara'nel belore!", "By the power of the sun!", "Vengeance burns!", "Velomin ashal!", "I'll turn your world upside down!"
- Came Back Wrong: The side effect of getting revived for Magister's Terrace: Not only he looked horribly grey and looked like an undead, his personality shifted so greatly that he's no longer a Tragic Villain but mere Omnicidal Maniac, it's kind of legit to guess that he's back a mere husk inhabited by a random Burning Legion demon who took parts of his memory and personality, while the actual Kael'thas really died at Tempest Keep.
- Cool Sword: Briefly wielded his father's reforged sword Felo'melorn ("Flamestrike" in Common) against Arthas in Northrend. To Arthas's surprise, compared to when he shattered it the first time, it's been reforged strong enough to match Frostmourne multiple times in combat, and even when Kael'thas flees it remains in Icecrown to eventually be recovered in Legion as the Artifact Weapon of the Fire Mages.
- Degraded Boss: From the third most difficult raid boss in Burning Crusade to a 5-man dungeon boss in the Sunwell patch. His abilities in that dungeon are even a toned down version of his raid boss abilities.
- Demoted to Extra: Doesn't even appear in the Illidan novel and is only mentioned.
- The Dragon: To Illidan at first, and then he betrayed him and became Kil'Jaeden's dragon.
- Driven to Villainy: He probably wouldn't have jumped off the slippery slope had Garithos not pushed him. All he wanted to do was serve the Alliance and claim vengeance upon the Scourge; his dark descent only began after he and his people were nearly executed and exiled to Outland.
- Drunk on the Dark Side/The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Thanks to the corrupting influence of fel energy, he abandoned any pretense of saving his people and started down a path of destruction; In fact he ultimately signs on with the same guys who GAVE THE ORDER to destroy Quel'thalas (albeit who are now enemies with Arthas, who actually did it to resurrect Kel'Thuzad).
- Evil Feels Good: Prolonged exposure to Fel magic ultimately does this to anyone, but when you need magic to survive...
- Evil Is Not a Toy: It's not entirely clear if he's assisting Kil'jaeden because he wants to harness his power or if he's completely nuts and has turned into an Omnicidal Maniac.
- Face–Heel Turn: Experienced an infamous one during Burning Crusade. In the Frozen Throne, he was often the Only Sane Man and Token Good Teammate in Illidan's Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. In Burning Crusade, he ends up becoming The Mole for the Burning Legion and goes off the deep end. It was to the point where, like Illidan, Blizzard admitted to ruining his character. Unlike Illidan, they decided that they missed their chance to fix it since his time spent evil already involved bringing him back.
- Fantastic Racism: He took an issue with the human, Nathanos Marris being admitted to the Farstriders, and even sent a letter to demanding Sylvanas to dismiss him from the corps. Oddly enough, he has no issue working with the Night Elves or taking orders from a human Grand Marshal like Garithos. Although, his opposition against Nathanos maybe personal as he was rumored to seek Sylvanas's hand in marriage, and he cannot outright disrespect Garithos, who was his superior.
- Fallen Hero: In a manner not so dissimilar from Arthas himself, ironic given his hatred for the man. Like Arthas, for all his personal faults he genuinely wanted what was best for his people and was willing to go to any lengths to save them. The undead Scourge ultimately attacked his kingdom, and in his desperation he sought darker and more insidious powers until he became the antithesis of everything he once stood for, hated even by his own people.
- Forgot About His Powers: Apparently a simple river can stop a Blood Elf magister.
- General Failure: The least tactically competent of all the player characters in Warcraft III, he mostly relies on others even when he's perfectly capable of doing things himself.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Again, he's basically the elven version of Arthas, falling deeper into darkness to "save" his people until he ultimately betrayed them for their destruction. Then again Arthas had lost his soul and was partially brainwashed by the Lich King, and when his soul returned he showed remorse, while Kael's last words were screaming that the world would burn.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: See, this is what Fel Magic does to you, kids.
- Large Ham: Can he ever stop talking? He even manage a Nothing Can Stop Us Now! speech in his dying breath. And he's voiced by Quinton Flynn.Kael'thas: This is preposterous! Am I to assault the undead with nothing but sticks and harsh language?
- Laser-Guided Karma: In the Arthas novel, Kael berates the orcs, calling them fools for trusting demons and becoming addicted to fel magic and thus had no desire to help them. Years later, Kael would do both things, and unlike the orcs, he was not redeemed.
- Love Triangle: Part of a Type 4 with Jaina and Arthas. He ultimately loses out, but considering what happened to Arthas maybe she would have been better off with him...
- Old Shame: To the blood elves after the public revelation of his turn to the Burning Legion; the leader of the Reliquary names the continued presence of Kael'thas' statues in Silvermoon City among the reasons for both the Alliance and Horde allegedly looking down on the blood elves.
- Marathon Boss: In Tempest Keep, he sends four advisers after the raid one at a time, then a group of magical weapons, and then sends all four advisers in at once before he even engages the raid himself.
- Not Quite Dead: "Tempest Keep was merely a setback!" Memetic Mutation aside, he's revealed as alive right after you turn in the quest item you get from looting him, and you're also told that he was saved by one of the Legion's priestesses.
- Not So Different: From Arthas. Both were driven by vengeance to make bargains with evil, and both jumped off the slippery slope as a result.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Devolves into this.
- Playing with Fire: Vengeance burns!
- Rebel Prince: It's implied he was this in the backstory, preferring to pal around with his friends in Dalaran than embrace his responsibilities as heir to Quel'Thalas. He tries to step up as the Wise Prince, but...
- Reforged Blade: His father Anasterian's runeblade, Felo'melorn, was shattered by Frostmourne with a single hit during the fall of Quel'Thalas, but Kael'thas had it reforged in order to battle Arthas in Northrend. Arthas lampshades this trope and notes the blade would be weaker and even easier to break, but Kael'thas smugly counters that while human blades might, elven blades don't, and proceeds to prove it by repeatedly clashing with Arthas without fear.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He always disliked Arthas for stealing Jaina away from him, but having his kingdom fall to the undead and his father killed by the death knight made it personal. Shown in special detail during the Arthas novel, where he directly engages Arthas in a duel and they both take turns sniping at each other while trying to take the other's head. The narration makes it clear he's burning with anger and hatred.
- Sequential Boss: Both in Tempest Keep AND Magister's Terrace.
- Sycophantic Servant: To Kil'jaeden during the Sunwell events.
- Tragic Hero: He and his people were very unjustly treated during the Third War. In the end, all he wanted was his people's safety.
- Tragic Villain: Until his first death in Tempest Keep. After his ressurrection, he discards this completely.
- Tranquil Fury: When he and Arthas face off at long last in Arthas, it's clear that Kael'thas despises him with every ounce of his being for what he did to his people and his country, but he keeps a powerful lid on it and goes out his way to match Arthas snark with his own, and in fact it's Arthas who loses his cool first (though he still doesn't win, props for that much).
- The Friend Nobody Likes: When he's reporting missing in the Illidan novel, Illidan doesn't care, Akama thinks it's a good thing and while we don't see Lady Vashj view on it she isn't raising a fuss over it.
- The One That Got Away: Jaina was this to him.
- We Can Rebuild Him: Fantasy version. He wasn't quite dead after Tempest Keep, and Priestess Delrissa managed to save him by shoving a large fel crystal in his chest. It's what's keeping him alive in Magister's Terrace. Though maybe rebuilt wrong...
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Before becoming an Omnicidal Maniac.
- The Wise Prince: In the first half of The Frozen Throne (although understandably a bit grumpy).
"Soon we will reclaim the surface world and take vengeance upon the Night Elves."
Class: Sea WitchVashj was the handmaiden of Queen Azshara prior to the War of the Ancients. Loyal to the Queen to the point of obsession, she attempted to assassinate Tyrande Whisperwind when she considered making her the new handmaiden. She was, along with the rest of the Highborne, transformed into a naga by the Old Gods when the Sundering caused a great part of Kalimdor to become submerged by the sea.Ten thousand years later, a period she seems to have spent training her combat skills, she resurfaced as the leader of the naga Illidan summoned as allies. When his plan to destroy Icecrown with a spell failed, she assisted Kael'thas Sunstrider by supporting him with boats and troops, and, when this got him arrested by Garithos, rescued him and recruited him to her cause. The pair then departed to the shattered world of Draenor, where they rescued Illidan from Maiev Shadowsong, who had traced him there, and helped him defeat Magtheridon and gain control over most of the planet. When Kil'Jaeden tracked them down and demanded Illidan to attack the Frozen Throne, she and Kael readily joined him, and, unlike Kael, remained completely loyal after their defeat. She and her troops have since then seemingly focused on draining the waters of Zangarmarsh, storing it in the deepest part of her base for some unknown purpose.
- Batman Gambit: The reason she offered aid to Kael was so that Garithos would arrest him for treason, so that she could recruit him and his people.
- Demoted to Extra:
- Compared to Illidan and especially Kael'thas, Vashj receives very minimal attention in Burning Crusade. It consists of a directionless plot in Zangarmarsh that goes entirely unresolved and then, seven or eight levels later, of returning to the area and killing her.
- She doesn't even make a cameo appearance in the Arthas novel, despite having helped lead the failed Illidari campaign in Northrend.
- She plays this straight in the Illidan novel with the focus being on others such as Illidan and Akama. She however is shown to fighting in Illidan's names and helps advances his plans.
- The Dragon: To Illidan, she is deeply loyal to him. She shared originally the position of Co-Dragons with Xavius to Queen Azshara.
- Dragon with an Agenda: She's trying to drain the water from Zangarmarsh, in order to control the denizens of Outland as revealed in Illidan.
- Enigmatic Minion: Lady Vashj originally had Undying Loyalty towards Queen Azshara and was fairly close to her during the War of the Ancients. During the Frozen Throne, she started to follow Illidan for unknown reasons. In fact, we never truly learn her motives, and her dying words in Burning Crusade are her apologizing for failing "Lord Illidan", making her true loyalty ambiguous.
- Expy: Lady Vashj can be seen as one to Dechala the Denied One from Warhammer Fantasy. Both were elven nobles, transformed into multi-armed Snake People, with the help of chaotic deities(The Chaos God Slaanesh for Dechala, The Old Gods for Vashj). Although one could say the status of expies of Dechala, could be extended to the whole Naga species...
- Flunky Boss: The second phase of her battle involves dealing with four different types of adds while disabling her shield.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Towards Tyrande, regarding Azshara.
- Hellish Pupils: Oddly, she had them allready as a Highborne Nigh Elf, but lost them after becoming a Naga, her eyes after transformation being depicted as Gold (in Frozen Throne) or Red (in The Burning Crusade) Glowing Eyes of Doom.
- Last-Name Basis: Originally thought to have Only One Name, but in Cataclysm, it's revealed that her mother's name was Lestharia Vashj. No one has referred to her by or even mentioned her first name.
- Mage Marksman: Equally skilled with a bow and frost magic.
- Petting Zoo People: Half snake, half elf, and her hair is made up of snakes.
- Shock and Awe: Has some lightning abilities in World of Warcraft.
- Yandere: As noted in The War of the Ancients, is one at least up to a level towards Azshara. Lady Vashj there even tries to kill Tyrande out of jealousy, fearing to lose the position of Azshara's favored.
"We Draenei have fought the orcs and their demon masters for generations. Now, at last, we will end their curse forever."
Class: ShamanFormerly a priest at the Temple of Karabor on Draenor, like many of the draenei, he was turned into a Broken after the orcs' attempt of wiping out the draenei. Leading the Ashtongue tribe of Broken, Akama allied himself with Illidan's forces to defeat Magtheridon, who ruled Outland from the former Temple of Karabor, currently known as the Black Temple. However, Akama realized that the Temple had only traded one evil master for another. Akama has been patiently waiting for a chance to betray Illidan and end his supposed rule over Outland.Years after Ilidan's death, a player Warlock returns to the Black Temple on the trail of the Council of Black Harvest. Akama ambushes the player, but upon recognizing him/her agrees to allow the player to hunt down the Black Harvest within the temple.In Legion, he can become a Champion of the Illidari if one sides with Altruis the Sufferer. If Kayn Sunfury is sided with instead the Shade of Akama joins.Akama is confirmed to appear Warlords of Draenor as a normal Draenei.
- Body Horror: What he suffered through as shown in the Black Temple trailer.
- Brainwashed and Crazy / More Than Mind Control: Illidan had used dark magics to bind part of Akama's soul, and by extension the Ashtongue tribe, to Illidan's will. One of the raid bosses in Black Temple is the tainted aspect of Akama's soul... and depending on player choices, he may be once more bound by those same magics. He doesn't take it well... and the "Shade of Akama" is completely Axe-Crazy.Shade of Akama: My soul... consumed by hate!
- Defeat Means Friendship: However in Legion if you sided with Altruis as the Illidari Slayer, he admits that you and him have changed the Illidari for the better, and willingly joins you.
- Didn't Think This Through: Is implied to feel this way about allying with someone known as The Betrayer.
- Dual Wielding: Of Kamas.
- Enemy Mine: The only reason he allied with Illidan's forces, though now he's stuck with them.
- Good Shepherd: Before the orcs, he was a proud exarch. In Warlords of Draenor you see this version of him, where he makes a point of using a farmer's scythes to rally him and prove that the farmer can be strong too.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Illidan reveals that for all his good intentions, other Broken Tribes are distrustful of him due to alliance with Illidan.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Seems to regard his alliance with Illidan and later Maiev as this.
- Magic Knight: As a shaman, he can be seen dual-wielding his scythes, and as a paladin as well in Warlords.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: The novel Illidan reveals Illidan promised to return the Black Temple to Akama after the fall of Magtheridon. However Illidan refuses to return and claims that it will returned after he's done with it. The fact that Illidan lied to him before and is furthering corrupting the Black Temple causes Akama to conclude that Illidan has no intention of honoring his word and he subsequently turns against him as a result.
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: This is the only remnant of his original appearance as a Lost One.
- Nominal Hero / Sociopathic Hero: The Shade of Akama is a complete psychopath, but he helps the Illidari in their mission to destroy the Burning Legion.
- Not So Different: Holds this opinion about Illidan and Maiev.
- Rebel Leader: Of the Ashtongue Deathsworn and later aids in overthrowing Illidan.
- Retcon: Was originally a Lost One, as were all Draenei in Warcraft III. In the Burning Crusade, Akama was depicted as having been one of the newly introduced Broken since his first meeting with Illidan, albeit with the distinctive mouth of a Lost One. Interestingly, the Burning Crusade era artpiece, ''Foes Of Outland''◊ has Lost One Akama in the background.
- Reverse Mole: The Shade of Akama fight is basically done to eliminate the last hold Illidan has on him, thus enabling his betrayal.
- Shock and Awe: Being a shaman, his default preference for spells is this, particularly when the Illidari Slayer fights him.
- Sinister Scythe: Wields a pair of kamas as his weapons.
- Supporting Leader: In the Black Temple raid.
- Tranquil Fury: Enters this after Illidan refuses to return the Black Temple after Magtheridon's fall when he realizes that Prince Kael'Thas and Lady Vashj knew it was going to happen all along.
- Undying Loyalty: The Ashtongue Deathsworn have this in regards to Akama, except in the case of Battlelord Gaardoun and his soldiers who are loyal to Illidan.
- Zen Survivor: Akama has endured his people being corrupted, banished from his uncorrupted brethren, and his world shattering. He is still one of the wisest of the Broken and that is able to inspire undying loyalty from his tribe.
The Illdari as a whole
The Illidari are an elite faction of Illidan's army. Originally composed only of demon hunters, later were included another type of troops.
- Arch-Enemy: To the Burning Legion.
- Badass Army: The Illidari are able to invade demonic worlds and win.
- Cultof Personality: Downplayed, but to some extent they seem to have that attitude with Illidan.Illidari: Lord Illidan knows the way.
- Determinator: One of the marks of the Illidari. Those remaining on the Fel Hammer have personally suffered at the hands of both the Legion and the Wardens, watched their allies tortured and slain by demons or worse, and know full-well that their enemy is nigh-infinite — and are still fighting for Azeroth.
- Elite Army: Before they included Mooks, the Illidari only consisted of a small but powerful army of demon hunters.
- Elite Mooks: Unnamed demon hunters, even when they haven't nominal importance, are still experienced warriors.
- Hazy Feel Turn: In legion, they are allied with the horde and the alliance, but their motivations remain the same.
- Loyal to the Position: A minor example as they are still loyal to Illidan, but the illidari remain at the service of the slayer, regardless of whether he chose to Altruis as Right-hand. Justified as what matters most to them is to destroy the burning legion.
- Mooks: The Coilskar Nagas, The Ashtongue (Broken Draeneis) and The Shivarra are the foot soldiers in the illidari forces.
- Mook Lieutenant: Lady S'theno, Battlelord Gaardoun and Matron Mother Malevolence are in charge of leading the foot soldiers.
- Pragmatic Hero: For the Illidari nothing is more important than the Legion's destruction, and many times the sacrifices are necessary.
- The Remnant: They went from being an elite faction of Illidan's army, to representing his entire army.
- Token Enemy Minority: The Shivarra are demons, but are part of the illidari.
A main character in the book of Illidan.
A loyal follower of Illidan, the player demon hunter can choose him to be their second-in-command.
- The Ace: Kayn is described as "Honorable and demanding, as well as a fearless leader and a master strategist, he believes that cooperation and sacrifice are necessary to defeat the Burning Legion.
- As You Know: The player has the option to ask him about Mardum, even when the player character (The Slayer) should already know that information.
- Both Sides Havea Point: Kayn has a point when mentioning that the betrayal of Altruis caused the death of some demon hunters.
- Cutting Offthe Branches: He is treated as the default Illidari commander for non-demon hunter players.
- The Lancer: He seems to be the canonical choice.
- Mutually Exclusive Party Members: With Altruis. Justified as Kayn refuses to work with a traitor.
- Undying Loyalty: Completely loyal to Illidan, even after his death.
Altruis the Sufferer
A renegade, the player demon hunter can choose him to be their second-in-command.
- A Lighter Shade of Grey: To Kayn and Illidan. Kayn is a pragmatic strategist who would rather do anything he can to fight the burning Legion in any way they can, while Altruis believes there are limits to what they can do before the Illidari stop being pragmatic and just start to Kick the Dog, which is why he broke off when Illidan's campaign in Outland took a turn for the tyrannical. This is best exemplified with Akama, while Kayn gets sick of his refusal and just rips a new Shade of Akama to bind him to their service, Altrius actually talks things out and manages to convince Akama himself to join you of his own will. In general, if the PC Demon Hunter chooses Altruis over Kayn, it seems to indicate a sort of reform in the Illidari as a whole to "Do what must be done, but remember where you came from" versus Illidan's "Nothing is more important".
- Defector from Decadence: Why he left the Illidari and helps the adventurers fight against them during the events of The Burning Crusade; he decided that Illidan had become no different than the Legion he was sworn to fight. This is deconstructed in Legion, being that his betrayal resulted in the death of four demon hunters, turning him ironically in someone Not So Different from Illidan.
- Dragon Rider: He rides a nether drake named Nethrandamus during his stay in Outland.
- Easily Forgiven: Although Illidan makes not of it odd that he is the Slayer's second-in-command, he decides to make nothing of it.
- The Lancer: He seems to be the non-canonical choice.
- Meaningful Name: Altruistic. While he doesn't do anything really altruistic, he is still the less extremist member of the Illidari and never lost his sense for justice despite his dark and violent path.
- Mutually Exclusive Party Members: With Kayn. Justified as Kayn refuses to work with a traitor.
- Not So Different: Despite disapproving of Illidan's actions, in his betrayal he killed members of his own people.
- Welcome Back, Traitor: Despite that Atruis is considered a traitor, the player can choose him as his right hand.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Kayn criticizes him for betraying Illidan, and causing the death of their own people. Ironically, Illidan himself doesn't seem to care much. And if chosen to be second-in-command, Illidan comments upon it briefly before letting it go.
A night elven, who became a demon hunter after the death of her family.
- Action Girl: Kor'vas is one of the strongest illidari.
- From Nobodyto Nightmare: In the Illidan animated short, Kor'vas asks the questions that allow for Illidan to be Mr. Exposition, while flashing back to her days before joining the Illidari. She was a survivor of a demonic attack that claimed the lives of her parents, and pretty much everyone else around her. She came to Illidan to get revenge, nothing left in her but rage. Flash forward to the end of her training, and she's taking on a Pit Lord and later, helping lay siege to a demon-controlled world.
- Only Sane Man: When Kayn and Altruis fight over their different ideals, she calls them out on the fact they still haven't escaped the Warden's prison which is currently under attack by the Burning Legion.
- Undying Loyalty: She is totally loyal to Illidan.
- Women Are Wiser: She can be considered the most balance leader Illidari. As Kayn she is loyal to Illidan but does not obey blindly, and as Altruis she questions Ilidan but doesn't go so far as to betray him.