Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Starcraft Tal'darim

Go To
"Before we became The Chosen, we were The Forged. And we can never be broken."
A Tal'darim Mothership pilot

The Tal'darim are a splinter group of Protoss dating back to before the Aeon of Strife, and take their name from an ancient group of Protoss that served the Xel'naga. They worship Amon, the fallen Xel'Naga, and champion him as the true god of the Protoss. Though their existence was only rumored for centuries, with Amon's return nearing they have come into the light to begin their work in his name of destroying all life in the sector.

Tal'darim culture centers heavily on the Chain of Ascension. All Tal'darim occupy a link in a continuous chain of command, with the strongest of them ruling as Highlord and those immediately below him are the Ascendants, his lieutenants. In the rite Rak'Shir, a Tal'darim may challenge a higher-ranking Tal'darim to a ritual one-on-one duel to the death, and if they prevail they will take their fallen leader's place in the Chain. The Tal'darim believe that by these practices, the strongest among them will eventually rise to command them, while any weakness in their numbers is rooted out and exterminated, making them stronger as a people.


    open/close all folders 

    Entire Faction 
  • Aliens are Bastards: Out of all sentient races in the franchise (including the zerg, who only do what they do because they're genetically designed to do so), the Tal'darim are Jerkasses towards all other races, including other Protoss.
  • Apocalypse Cult: They worship Amon, who's planning to destroy the galaxy, and they're mostly aware of it too. The fact that they're loyal to the point of death made it all the more easy for Amon to manipulate them.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: By the Chain of Ascension, a Tal'darim can earn a commander's role by proving his worth in battle and killing his superiors to demonstrate it.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Their tactics in several missions involving them in Wings of Liberty. As you begin to defeat them, they begin throwing units at you in ever-increasing numbers in a desperate attempt to deny you your hard-sought relic.
  • Blood Knight/Proud Warrior Race Guy: While the Protoss as a whole are this, the Tal'darim take this even further than the other Protoss factions, having a much more martial, brutal and warlike culture. Because of this, they can't be trusted to listen to reason.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Tal'darim equipment and vehicle policy can be summed up in one sentence: "Jury-rig the damn thing for sheer damage until it hurts". In the campaign, the Tal'darim units have the highest offensive potential in any tier where they're present when compared to their counterpart units in the same tier, but they usually lack any supportive or defensive usage. They're really, really good at killing things, but not much else.
  • Dark Is Evil: They have no problem employing Khalai and Nerazim units in equal measure (though we find out the Tal'darim have been stealing technology from them). Legacy of the Void and expanded world lore establish they split off from the Protoss long before the Nerazim came around and have developed an entirely separate belief system, so they don't care one way or the other about the divide between the two factions or the religious beliefs at play between them. If anything, they see both groups as heretics.
  • The Day of Reckoning: They believe that on "The Day of Ascension," Amon will return to cleanse the galaxy of life, and the Tal'darim's loyalty to him through the centuries will finally be repaid by turning the strongest of them into Hybrid to serve him. note 
  • Divergent Character Evolution: After they looked the same as normal Protoss in the first two games, Legacy of the Void gives them unique unit and structure models in addition to a distinct color scheme, that gives them a very different look from the Daelaam Protoss. Their units are generally bulkier, spikier, and more angular than the sleek, refined architecture of the Daelaam.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In "Wings of Liberty" and "Heart of the Swarm" they were just a generic antagonistic Protoss faction without even the red and black aesthetic, let alone any other unique characteristics, that they had in "Legacy of the Void".
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Killing subordinates makes none of them bat an eye, and they believe in a Might Makes Right philosophy where one increases their standing by killing a superior in ritual combat, Rak'Shir. However, superiors are only to be attacked and killed in Rak'Shir, which requires a formal challenge to be issued and then a period of time allowed so the combatants are prepared for the battle. Attacking a higher-ranked Tal'darim outside of Rak'Shir is one of their highest crimes and usually is punished by a public and drawn-out execution.
    • Tal'darim as a whole are violent, brutal Knight Templars that worship a God of Evil, as well as implied to have raided the Protoss fleets for years. However, when they find out their promised "ascension" into Hybrid by Amon is a lie and he's going to kill them along with everything else, they're outraged and perform a Heel–Face Turn to help stop him.
  • Evil Albino: The Tal'darim of Slayn have much paler skin tones than other Protoss, and all of them have glowing red eyes.
  • Evil Counterpart: They are what the Khalai Protoss might be if their arrogance and warrior culture were in excess of any other values. The Khalai are Proud Warrior Race Guys who champion honorable combat; the Tal'darim are Blood Knights who just fight to kill. The Khalai follow the Khala that unites them in common cause; the Tal'darim follow the Chain of Ascension that encourages them to kill each other for personal ambition. The Khalai believe a death in combat is the best fate a warrior can hope for and greatly honor their fallen; the Tal'darim see death as a fate deserved by the weak and sneer at their fallen for being too weak to survive. This is also reflected in their architecture — the Khalai use gold and blue as their primary colors and build beautiful, streamlined structures and war machines, while the bulk of the Tal'darim use black and red for their color scheme and their constructions are crude and bulky, made to intimidate.
  • Expy:
  • Fantastic Racism: While it's clear the Tal'darim hate Terrans, their racism towards Khalai and Nerazim Protoss has quite a depth. They consider other Protoss inferior to themselves, priding themselves as being "The Chosen" by Amon, whereas other Protoss are weak and spineless. The Tal'darim even disparingly refer to other Protoss as "the Firstborn", as if they were seperate from them (which ironic because that term collectively describes all Protoss, even the Tal'darim). Furthermore, their response to any Khalai or Dark Templar they see is to capture them. Even towards their Terran allies, they have contempt for.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: How is it they use the same technology as the rest of the Protoss despite being separated from them centuries ago? Legacy of the Void includes a Hand Wave that throughout history, Protoss ships and colonies would be raided by mysterious enemies, or went missing without warning. Artanis speculates it's been the Tal'darim, stealing Protoss technology and learning to replicate it.
  • Hate Sink: In Wings of Liberty, it's clear they're made to be a faction to root against, considering the Zerg have no characterization apart from their Queen, or being a Horde of Alien Locusts. They're a bunch of smug Jerkasses who bully terrans who want no quarrel with them, especially when the Terrans are just running a simple errand taking Terrazine gas that is plentiful. Such a behavior is the type that would make anyone want to punch them in the faces. It doesn't end there—they kidnap Protoss who want nothing to do with them, and steal their technology. In-universe, they're just so hated that Raynor wishes they could just go away, and the main Protoss rail on them for their treacherous actions, and even demand they die for their crimes against them. They grow out of this role in Starcraft II Legacy Of The Void, which establishes that they aren't simple jerks that ruin the good guys' day: They at least have some semblance of a code of honor (see the first entry in Even Evil Has Standards above), and that the god they worship (Amon) has lied to them since the day they began worshipping him.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: They worship Amon under the belief that when he arrives to destroy the galaxy, the best of the Tal'darim will be raised to become Hybrids, his eternal servants. When they find out Amon lied to them and is going to kill them off along with everything else, the Tal'darim consider themselves betrayed and turn on him, allying with the Daelaam to destroy him. With Amon no longer controlling them, Artanis even encourages them to seek out who they are as a culture, the same way the Khalai have had to without the Khala.
  • The Heretic: The Khalai Protoss consider the Tal'darim heretics for betraying them and serving Amon. However, the Tal'darim consider the Khalai heretics as well.
  • Hypocrite: The Tal'darim treat people stealing from them as a serious offense, but the Tal'darim themselves are thieves, stealing from the main Protoss without a care.
  • Klingon Promotion: The most common way to move up the "Chain of Ascensions" is to kill your superior in ritual combat. However, this can lead to Loophole Abuse: One can also "persuade" his superior to challenge his superior in ritual combat. As long as someone above your rank dies in whatever manner you can think of, you'll be promoted, even if you had no personal hand in it.
  • Knight Templar: They're even more hostile and aggressive in this than the Daelaam Protoss. Their standard response to Terrans arriving on one of their worlds is to kill them, sometimes with a "leave now before we kill you" warning. They even capture Protoss who don't join their cause, or kill them for their "heresy" against Amon. No wonder the Dark Templar and Khalai Protoss hate them.
  • In Name Only: The Tal'darim of The Dark Templar Saga have little in common with the Tal'darim seen in the games, aside from the fact that they are not Khala-adherents; any connection Ulrezaj has to Amon is left up in the air so far, so the reason he named his followers Tal'darim in the novels is unclear.
  • Meaningful Name: Via in-universe Bilingual Bonus. Their name means "the Forged" in Khalani and refers to mythological servants of the Xel'Naga. The Tal'darim took it to symbolise their devotion.
  • Might Makes Right: Full-stop. Not only do the Tal'darim respect strength, but earning a promotion within their hierarchy requires one to be stronger than their superior, as Rak'Shir is essentially a duel to the death. The Highlord is considered the strongest of their kind.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: The Tal'darim worship Amon because they believe that on the Day of Ascension, Amon will finally repay the loyalty of the Tal'darim to him throughout the centuries by turning the strongest of them to hybrid to serve him. But when they find out that no, Amon is not going to do that and will instead kill off the Tal'darim alongside everyone else but the hybrid, the Tal'darim are furious and consider themselves betrayed, and pull off a Heel–Face Turn by allying with the Daelaam to stop him.
  • Obviously Evil: They get gradually less subtle each game. In Wings of Liberty, they had a standard Protoss design, possibly due to Gameplay and Story Segregation. In Heart of the Swarm, they started using a notably darker color scheme, albeit still staying identical to regular protoss otherwise. Comes Legacy of the Void, they get a full Red and Black and Evil All Over redesign, with Spikes of Villainy on some of their units to boot. Ironically, they end up making a Heel–Face Turn in this opus.
  • Obliviously Evil: In the novels. Most of those Tal'darim had no idea they were working for Ulrezaj, or that he was using a drug to slowly cut them off from the Khala.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: In Legacy of the Void, in contrast to the blue and gold of usual Protoss, the Tal'darim's armies are black and red.
  • Religion of Evil/Scary Amoral Religion: The Tal'darim straddle these contradictory tropes thusly: although they worship Amon while knowing full well he's an Omnicidal Maniac, they consider themselves to be worshipping the true god by doing so, and they see all other Protoss as heretics with false beliefs.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Legacy of the Void establishes the Tal'darim have existed since before the Aeon of Strife, when the Xel'Naga first left Aiur. This is despite no hint to their existence in pre-existing lore. The game includes a Hand Wave that they were an urban legend not widely believed, and have only recently come out into the open now that Amon's return is nearing.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: Turns out the Tal'darim led by Nyon were once part of the Amon-worshipping group, but they split off because according to Alarak, Nyon went insane and ended up pursuing his own devices.
  • Revenge: Their motivation to stop Amon post-Heel–Face Turn is this. The Ascendant lampshades it:
    Ascendant (when warped in): "Vengeance for the Betrayed!"
  • The Remnant: The Tal'darim airforce continue to use the Scout vessel that most Protoss haven't used since Brood War (it's not in multiplayer or buildable in the campaign).
  • Replacement Flat Character: Initially were introduced as this in Wings of Liberty, replacing the Khalai's Conclave as the Hate Sink Knight Templar faction of Protoss. They grow out of it in Legacy of the Void to become their own thing.
  • Separate, but Identical: Their units are identical to the rest of the Protoss in terms of stats, though their models vary. Zigzagged in the campaign for Legacy of the Void; the Protoss acquire Tal'darim variants of numerous units that do have different stats and abilities from the base unit, but only the player's forces employ them, enemy Tal'darim forces still use the base units with the Tal'darim model swapped in. When fighting as AI-controlled allies, they use their special units.
  • Smug Snake: More or less all the Tal'darim are this, because they're "The Chosen". They are hostile towards Terrans, see Zerg as nothing more than animals, but have a "you're weak and we're better than you" attitude towards other Protoss as well. Their smugness against others is noted to be their biggest weakness.
  • Space Elves: If the Daelaam are Space High Elves, the Tal'darim are Space Drow, even more so than the Dark Templar.
  • Spikes of Villainy: In Legacy of the Void, they tend to favor sharp spikes in their designs.
  • The Social Darwinist: The Chain of Ascension ensures that the strong Tal'darim rule, while the weak perish. Outside of this, any Tal'darim deemed too weak to serve the Highlord are hunted down and slain by the Blood Hunters.
  • The Usual Adversaries: In Wings of Liberty, this is how Raynor sees them, since they start chasing him everywhere they can after he stole some of their artifact. When they try attacking him right as the planet is about to be consumed by its own sun, he admits he is fed up with them.
  • Virtue Is Weakness: They view other Protoss as spineless for being principled.
  • You Don't Look Like You: The Tal'darim in Wings of Liberty use the same unit models and skins as the Khalai Protoss, then in Heart of the Swarm they use the same models but with unique skins for their units, and in Legacy of the Void they have entirely unique model variants. Legacy of the Void gives this a Hand Wave that the Tal'darim don't have are scavengers who take what they can where they can, including stealing and adapting Khalai technologies, and they don't seem to have centralized production facilities like the Khalai so there is no universal blueprint their architecture uses. This is further justified by each instance of the Tal'darim across the trilogy being a different offshoot group.
  • You Have Failed Me: The Tal'darim have multiple ways to punish failure, from the Blood Hunters executing those deemed too weak to be of use, to being placed inside a Vanguard and sent to die in battle to earn as little as being forgotten.

"Amon has betrayed my people. Retribution will be claimed for this, and if your Hierarch survives, he will aid in it."

Voiced by: John de Lancie

First Ascendant of the Tal'darim and their field commander. Upon learning the truth about Amon's motives, he betrays him and allies with Artanis, eventually overthrowing Ma'lash as the Highlord.

Provides examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Alarak is a brutal Evil Overlord who treats his minions as expendable and views sentimentality and mercy as weaknesses. But if you impress him, or strike a bargain with him, he'll be courteous enough, though he'll probably still insult you just because he feels like it. Even then, this is a huge contrast to other leading members of his faction like Nyon, who just bullies Terrans and other Protoss for no reason.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: For all his flaws, he's less evil than Ma'lash was, and also a much better leader.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Like Artanis. He is the Tal'darim First Ascendant, the second highest rank in their hierarchy, and appropriately is one of their most dangerous warriors in combat. Played even straighter when he becomes Highlord.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: This is how he takes control of the Tal'darim from Ma'lash.
  • Berserk Button: Alarak does not take well to people who attack anything deemed his, without provocation. Including his warriors. Doing so is a good way to get Alarak into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    • Betrayal is also this to him, if his campaign against Amon is any indication.
  • Blood Knight: There's little that makes him happier than killing.
  • Blown Across the Room: If Alarak brings his psionic abilities to bear in combat, someone's probably going to go flying, as demonstrated against Vorazun and a hapless Zealot. His hero unit has an ability that blows away everything in front of him that isn't anchored to the ground.
  • Breakout Character: Initially one of several "generals" that advised and aided Artanis in Legacy of the Void, he proved very popular due to his badassery and snarky Troll behavior, the latter helped by John de Lancie's voice acting. He since appeared in Heroes of the Storm, was added to Co-op as a commander, was one of the first two voice packs announced for purchase by streamers, and returns in the main story in Covert Ops aiding Nova. Blizzard even acknowledged his popularity as the reason why he's in Co-op:
    "When we were deciding on who we’d introduce as the next Co-op Commander, the choice seemed to be clear: the community wanted Alarak, and they wanted him now."
  • Bring It: Goes hand-in-hand with his personality, against anyone that would oppose him.
    Alarak: Highlord, hear me! I invoke the rite of Rak'Shir. Fight me according to our laws, or die a coward!

    Alarak: So, Amon intends to lay siege from all directions. Step forth, Dark One, and face Alarak, Highlord of the Tal'darim!
  • Brutal Honesty: He makes no apologies for any of his opinions, and has no problem telling the other Protoss around him that he thinks they're idealistic morons.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: He's totally up front about his intentions with everyone, since they begrudgingly need his help. When asked about his people's freedom from Amon, he clarified that they simply switched masters, and completely forgot that the other Protoss were his allies, not his slaves, during his ritual duel. The fact that he completely ignored Artanis during the latter's "ahem" moment is just the icing on the cake.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: He rose to the rank of First Ascendant not by killing those above him, but by convincing those ranked above him to challenge those ranked even higher. Regardless of who won, someone higher in rank than Alarak died and he moved up the chain accordingly. His final play is in the short story "Ascension," where he takes advantage of a Rak'Shir between the First, Second, and Third Ascendants, against Ma'lash, to ensure the former all died and he moved up from Fourth to First in the aftermath. Then, during the game, he uses the Daelaam to usurp Ma'lash and become Highlord. He doesn't betray them after Amon is banished to the Void, he just voluntarily parts with them on civil terms.
  • Conflict Ball: A downplayed example in Covert Ops. After making a deal with Nova to track down the Defenders of Man, he warps his Death Fleet in on Vardona and starts massacring civilians because the world is the Defenders' main base of operations, nevermind the Emperor of the Dominion being there or Vardona being a Dominion world full of hapless civilians. He basically tells Nova that he is going to kill everyone there, and she will suffer the same fate if she tries to intervene. However, Nova beforehand failed to ask him what he was going to do about the Defenders and how, so it was more Alarak exploting Exact Words and Loophole Abuse (as he would usually do), not a particularly egregrious case of sudden stupidity.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Delivers one to Vorazun (and a hapless zealot who happened to accompany her) when he breaks into the Spear of Adun and she mistakes him for an enemy.
  • The Cynic: Believes that freedom is nothing more than a delusion granted to the weak by the strong, and that the Tal'darim simply switched masters when he deposes Ma'lash.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He's constantly making dry jokes at the expense of others, usually Artanis and Vorazun.
  • Defector from Decadence: He betrays Ma'lash when he learns Amon's true plans for the Tal'darim.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: He is not at all shy about letting everyone know that Amon betrayed the Tal'darim, and that he intends to make him pay for it. A line of his in the final mission of the main campaign has him flat-out daring Amon to face him.
  • The Dragon: He's the second-highest ranked Tal'darim, behind Ma'lash, and in charge of the fleet while he remains on Slayn.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Becomes one when he figures out the full extent of Amon's plans and decides to usurp Ma'lash.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • In Legacy of The Void, he forms an alliance with the Tal'darim's mortal enemies, the Daelaam Protoss, to get vengeance on Amon, in return offering the end of hostilities between their peoples. After this, they part on good terms.
    • In Covert Ops he offers to help Nova recover her memories and defeat the Defenders of Man because they ambushed a Tal'darim outpost. Not that this stops him from having Ji'nara compete with her for Terrazine to weed out the weaklings in his forces. Befitting Tal'darim culture, these types of challenges are typical.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Technically, his first appearance in the game is as the enemy commander on Glacius (the planet with the Purifier Research Facility where you recover Fenix/Talandar). But his first appearance in person goes like this: he warps onto the Spear of Adun without warning as if he owns the damn thing, gets into a brief fight with a templar (and easily tosses them aside), then easily disarms Vorazun, but instead of killing her he tells her he isn't there as an enemy. Vorazun erects a stasis field to imprison him, which he treats as a minor bother before he keeps talking to her arrogantly until he gets fed up with her not trusting him. At that point he destroys the stasis field, marches up to Vorazun, and coldly tells her that Artanis will die, but he's willing to help her save him in return for aid in claiming vengeance on Amon. "Make your decision." This all sets Alarak up as snarky, brutal, straightforward, and eager for battle, but he is not without a sense of honor.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: If you speak to him after Revanscar, Alarak thinks the Terrans (more specifically, Moebius Corps) are way in over their heads with their Hybrid experiments.
    Alarak: Such hubris. To think that they could control what they did not understand. Oh, it's always hubris with the Terrans. Get too close to a black hole, and it will crush you.
  • Evil Overlord: Becomes the new Highlord of the Tal'darim after killing Ma'lash.
  • Foil:
    • Alarak is cynical, disrespectful, and intensely pragmatic when it comes to dealing with enemies or potential enemies. Contrast with Artanis's idealism, respect towards others, and eagerness for diplomacy. Even their armor contrasts: Shoulders of Doom, a waist cape, and two prongs jutting up from their backs. While Artanis's helmet covers the top half of his head, Alarak's covers the bottom.
      • Ties into gameplay as well. Artanis' abilities are mix of support and offense, allowing him to deal damage and keep friendly units alive. Alarak's abilities are focused entirely on dealing damage and keeping himself alive
    • Alarak also shows contrasts with Arcturus Mengsk, who just like him, was the evil leader of a faction that used red as its primary colour. Both got their positions through an uprising against the previous evil leader of their factions, with the help of a playable faction, and both see some of the people they lead (Alarak to the weakest of the Tal'darim; Mengsk towards the fringe world colonists) as cannon fodder. The main differences are that while Mengsk was Faux Affably Evil, hiding his evil intentions to the public underneath a charming persona, Alarak is an Affably Evil Card-Carrying Villain, who doesn't bother hiding his intentions and never denies that he's in an Enemy Mine situation (on the contrary, he seems quite proud of it). While Mengsk did a Face–Heel Turn, Alarak did a Heel–Face Turn. And while Mengsk has no problem throwing his people under the bus for his ambitions, Alarak actually gives a damn about what his people go through and will go out of his way to seek vengeance against those who wrong them, even if he considers them his slaves (as is common in Tal'darim society).
  • Frontline General: Literally. His troops occupy the center during the final battle, and being on the front lines means his troops take the brunt of Amon's assault. Being a Blood Knight, this is just how Alarak wants it.
  • Genius Bruiser: He's not only a very powerful combatant, but a smart and calculating schemer. While he rose to the rank of First Ascendant mostly by plotting and manipulating others to avoid getting his hands dirty, his ability to match Ma'lash in battle proves he could have just fought his way up the chain if he wanted to.
    • Physically, he's much larger and more imposing than other Tal'darim Ascendants, who are, for the most part, based on the same model as the High Templar, and unlike his Ascendants, he prefers melee combat. Tellingly, Alarak himself is the only melee unit in his Co-op lineup.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: After he joins Artanis. A good chunk of his humor comes from the fact that he keeps thinking, acting and speaking like an Evil Overlord despite being technically on the side of good.
  • Honor Before Reason: Alarak believes that the only way to get something is to do it "right", and he won't settle for anything more or less, even if the gravity of the situation proves to be large. In Legacy of The Void, Alarak believes the only way to get rid of Ma'lash is to usurp him in Rak'shir. Artanis calls him out and tries to remind him that they don't have time to do things according to tradition. In Nova: Covert Ops, Alarak will give Nova access to Terrazine, but he can't just give it to her, insisting she has to fight for it.
  • I Gave My Word: For all of his ruthless ways, he actually upholds his end of the bargain regarding taking the Tal'darim out of the conflict and siding with the Daelaam against Amon. However, anyone who makes bargains with him has to be very careful with the words they use, or Alarak will interpret the deal in the worst way possible.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In-Universe. As much as he is an advocate for violence and ruthlessness, he is right to point out that Artanis's optimism is dangerous, and that they cannot expect to save everyone. This proves very prudent during the final mission, that as much as Artanis wanted to save the possessed templar, the Daelaam had to kill off a number of their brethren in defense, which was a rather painful choice.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Very arrogant, constantly annoys his allies, power-hungry, and is devoid of any sense of morality. However, he always upholds his end of a bargainnote  and despite appearances, he actually cares about his people.
  • Laughably Evil: As a snarky Troll prone to Brutal Honesty voiced by John De Lancie, it's impossible not to laugh with him.
  • Life Drain: One of his passive hero abilities absorbs the essence of fallen enemies to heal him.
  • Loophole Abuse: Alarak is very good at utilizing this trope to get what he wants.
    • The short story "Ascension" explains that Alarak pays attention to which Tal'darim customs are religious doctrine and which are merely "tradition"; the former, he will find a loophole that allows him to get around it without (technically) breaking it. As for the latter, he will ignore them as he sees fit.
    • This trope is how he became Fourth Ascendant. When someone dies in Rak'Shir, everyone below them is promoted until the gaps in the chain of command are filled; participation in that Rak'Shir is not a concern. Alarak manipulated one of the largest Rak'Shir battles in history from behind the scenes, setting up hundreds of Tal'darim to fight. Then he sat it out, let them all kill each other, and in the aftermath he, in the words of Nuroka, "flew up the Chain that day."
    • When he was the Fourth Ascendant, a Rak'Shir was fought between then First Ascendant Nuroka and Highlord Ma'lash, with the Second Ascendant Guraj fighting for Ma'lash and Third Ascendant Zenish fighting for Nuroka. He didn't get involved in the duel until Guraj killed Zenish, at which time Alarak entered the arena without a word and killed Guraj, but then declared allegiance to Ma'lash and aided him in killing Nuroka. It is only tradition to enter a Rak'Shir at inception, and to declare allegiance upon entry, but it isn't mandatory. However, it is law that once allegiance is declared for someone you cannot change your mind, which is why Alarak said not a word upon entry, so he had free right to attack anyone he wanted since he technically hadn't chosen a side yet.
    • When he challenges Ma'lash, of course there are no rules against bringing other Protoss like Artanis and the Daelaam into things, because the idea is so outrageous with how the Tal'darim are their mortal enemies no one ever expected it to happen.
    • Also pulls this in Nova: Covert Ops. His deal with Nova was he wouldn't take any action until the leader and the base of the Defenders of Man was found. No one said anything about attacking them and the innocent civilians caught in the crossfire after the deed was done. It also doesn't help that Nova failed to discuss with him what he plans to do about the Defenders and how.
  • Might Makes Right: A firm believer in this, since the Tal'darim champion the ideology of Asskicking Equals Authority. He repeatedly says that some Tal'darim question what he's doing, but he doesn't care: they obey him because he's their leader, and that's all that matters to him or them. When everyone was worried that the Purifiers might rebel and turn on them, he suggests solving that problem by subjugating them to put them in their place.
  • Nominal Hero: Every thing about him screams that he's an enemy who you should be fighting (and you do actually fight him (or at least Tal'darim under his command) in one early mission). But he's willing to take the Tal'darim out of the war if Artanis helps him kill Ma'lash, so he's (barely) tolerated.
  • Noble Demon: For all of his posturing and self-admitted lack of respect for freedom as a concept, he does care about his people.
  • No-Sell: In his introductory cutscene, Vorazun traps him in a force field, which he shatters as soon as it becomes inconvenient for him and in order to make the point that he has no time for their nonsense.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution:
    • He doesn't give a crap about Artanis' cause and aspirations to rebuild the Protoss society or his goal to save their people. However, he does want to make Amon pay in the most violent way possible, so they have a common enemy.
    • In the short story "Ascension," he feels pretty much the same way about the Tal'darim and their worship of Amon. He knows which traditions of theirs are only traditions and thus can be broken, and the ones that are religious doctrine, he finds loopholes to get around them. While other Tal'darim see the Chain of Ascension as a sacred rite, Alarak just sees it as a game he can play to get more power and influence for himself.
  • One-Man Army: In addition to his normal attacks being strong, he has an area-of-effect ability that deals 50 damage to all enemies across a large area, has a single-target high-damage Charge ability, and has a passive Life Drain ability that heals him every time something dies near him. When you take control of him in a mission, with good micro it's possible to solo his part of the mission (save for sections where you're forced to use Vorazun instead). His one weakness is that he can't attack air units, but his area-of-effect ability can so that works out to a minor inconvenience.
  • Pet the Dog: Surprisingly, he gets one in the epilogue: when deciding to create his own society rather than join the Daelaam in rebuilding Aiur, he allows those among the Tal'darim who disagree one chance to join the Daelaam instead. Considering he pretty much stated he considered his minions as slaves at the beginning of the game, this is quite impressive.
    • Also does this to Nova. When he attacks Vardona, he gives her the opportunity to leave with her life.
  • The Power of Hate: He is a firm believer in this, as shown by this exchange:
    Alarak: I cannot tether my fate to yours. Hatred does not burn within you as it does in me. You do not seethe with the agony of knowing all you believed in is a lie, and that only solace is found in the destruction of your betrayer.
    Artanis: No? Amon corrupted my people and now turns them into hybrid abomination. My rage burn brighter than a thousand suns, and soon all will see my wrath unleashed!
    Alarak: Then this is something I hope to witness.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Drops one on Ma'lash, right when he is about to win Rak'Shir.
    Ma'lash: Our master has already won, Alarak. You will lead our people to their doom.
    Alarak: You're right about one thing, Ma'lash. I will lead them.
  • Pride: Sweet mercy, YES. Artanis repeatedly lampshades he's far too arrogant and cocky for his own good, but Alarak ignores him.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: In his eyes, he plans to destroy his former god for lying to his people about their purpose.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Sure, he may be ruthless, bloodthirsty, and power-hungry note , but he's not a crazy fanatic like Ma'lash. Since then, he will at least try to play nice.
    • During the Defenders of Man conflict, even though Nova interfered with his forces, he isn't mad and knows she and the Dominion aren't as bad as the Defenders. If anything, he recognizes that Nova doesn't like the Defenders any more than he does, and felt it would be more beneficial for them to cooperate against them.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Like all Tal'darim, he has black armor with red psionics. Subverted when he turns out to be a fairly reasonable, if brutal and violent, warrior, and performs a Heel–Face Turn along with the rest of the Tal'darim.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The snarky, arrogant and bloodthirsty Red to Artanis' respectful, humble and calm Blue.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Inverted. At the end of Legacy of the Void, he is invited to remain with the Daelaam but instead leaves due to the irreconcilable differences between them. The other Tal'darim are likewise allowed one chance to choose to remain or go.
  • Revenge Before Reason: The main reason for the Conflict Ball mentioned above. However, it should be noted that Alarak is vindictive by nature anyway, so this trope isn't 100% surprising.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Happens in "Salvation" if you let his base be overrun.
    Alarak: "I have no intention to die for this cause, Artanis!"
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: See The Cynic above and Shoot the Dog below. Alarak thinks the other Protoss around him, including Artanis, are nothing more than idealistic idiots. He also thinks that freedom is nothing more than a delusional concept, does not believe in non-violent solutions to problems, and sees the sacred rites of his faction's religion as nothing more than a game to get power and influence for himself.
  • Shoot the Dog: Alarak thinks it's easier if Artanis just puts the corrupted Khalai Templar out of their misery than the far more complex solution of trying to free them from Amon's control, believing there isn't any hope for them. Of course, this does not amuse anyone: Talandar calls him out for it, and Artanis responds that is not acceptable; they will save the corrupted Templar no matter what, if they can.
  • Shout-Out: His armor design bears one hell of a resemblance to Kane's Awakened cyborg armies from the Kane's Wrath Expansion Pack to Command And Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars, as well as its successor title. Give him a face-concealing helmet and they could run around in each other's games without anyone being the wiser.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: With Vorazun.
  • The Starscream: He kills and usurps Ma'lash as the new Highlord of the Tal'darim. After Ma'lash, Amon would be next.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: He's only around for his own motivations, and while he is helpful, most of Artanis's other allies either expect a betrayal, or think that war will result after Amon is defeated. Thankfully for Artanis' allies, Alarak never betrays or wages war with them.
  • Token Evil Teammate: The only reason he's among the honorable Protoss alliance is because he desires exacting vengeance on Amon in the most bloodthirsty way possible. In the meantime he's an Evil Overlord who is still violent, cruel, and self-interested.
  • Tranquil Fury: Barely. When you speak to him on the Spear of Adun he mostly stays calm, but in missions where he fights, he lets loose his rage with hammy shouts and merciless bloodshed. His entire campaign against Amon is basically a Roaring Rampage of Revenge for betraying the Tal'darim.
  • Troll:
    • He's constantly annoying Artanis and everyone else for his own amusement. His first mission has Artanis kill four other Ascendants for him. While Alarak gives the flimsy justification later that they would have aided Ma'lash in their duel and challenged Alarak's reign when he won, he admits the main reason he told Artanis they had to be eliminated is because he just wanted to see them die. After becoming leader of the Tal'darim, he entertains the idea of fully allying with Artanis, on the condition that he submit to Alarak's rule of course.
    • In the short story "Ascension," when the then-First Ascendant Nuroka duels Ma'lash in Rak'Shir, Alarak lends Nuroka his power and Nuroka pushes Ma'lash back to the pit. Then, as Nuroka is about to win, Alarak swiftly declares his allegiance to Ma'lash, switches his power flow to him, and Ma'lash crushes Nuroka easily. Given Alarak's thoughts and conversation afterward, it's clear he was planning to side with Ma'lash all along; siding with Nuroka to let him come close to winning and then pulling the rug from under him was obviously just for the sake of this trope.
    • In Nova: Covert Ops, Alarak orders Ji'Nara to challenge Nova for the Terrazine, and Reigel suspects it is a ploy just for Alarak to have his weakest warriors culled.
  • Vetinari Job Security: How he survived despite Ma'lash seeing how much a threat to his reign he was. The Rak'shir that elevated Alarak to the First Ascendant left all the other highest ranking Ascendants dead so there was nobody who could take his place.
  • Violence Really Is the Answer: He usually suggests just attacking enemies to kill or subjugate them, rather than waste time trying to find a non-violent resolution.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: His relationship with Artanis develops into this. While he is constantly trolling the Hierarch, snarking at him and questioning his idealism, he also has moments where he claims that he enjoys their conversations and acknowledges his value. He also admits they are Not So Different after hearing how Artanis feels about Amon's actions, and the fact that Artanis can show him backbone.
  • Villain Protagonist: During the short story "Ascension", which takes place from the point of view of the Tal'darim.
  • Villain Respect: After Artanis proves his mettle repeatedly on the battlefield, Alarak's opinion of him starts to improve.
    • In the Covert Ops missions, Alarak reveals himself to Nova after she messes up Ji'nara's plan... and strikes a bargain with her, when previously he considered the Terrans little more than Puny Earthlings. When the leader of the Defenders of Man is brought into public view, he starts attacking Vardona with every intention of mowing down anyone who stands (literally) in his way to kill her. He allows Nova to leave, but Nova stays and defends the civilians alongside the Dominion against the Tal'darim, much to his irritation.

Whoever designed his armor didn't give much thought into practicality.
Voiced by: Neil Kaplan

The Tal'darim Highlord, first introduced in Whisper of Oblivion as operating a shrine of Amon. He is the leader of all Tal'darim.

Provides examples of:

  • Advertised Extra: The advertised part is downplayed, but despite the facts he is the Highlord of the Tal'darim and The Dreaded, he gets a surprisingly small role in Legacy of the Void, only appearing in two cutscenes (In Whispers of Oblivion) and one mission. Contrast him with Moebius Corps leader and fellow Amon-worshipper Narud that has a more relevant role in the first two games of the trilogy, his role in the prequel notwithstanding.
  • Arc Villain: Of the Whispers of Oblivion prologue and the Tal'darim questline in the campaign.
  • Disney Villain Death: Eventually dies at the hand of Alarak in Rak'Shir, resulting in him falling to his death in a sacrificial pit.
  • The Dragon: His rank as "Highlord" designates him as the Tal'Darim leader, which makes him Amon's general and right-hand.
  • The Dreaded: Zeratul pretty much knows things are bad the moment he is informed the Tal'darim Highlord is here in Whisper of Oblivion. Later in Legacy of the Void, Alarak confirms he has a fearsome reputation even among his people.
  • Evil Sorcerer: He's a High Templar and prefers to fight with psionic blasts and other energy attacks, wielding no hand-to-hand weapons.
  • Expy: He's Nyon version 2.0, spouting the same type of taunts and boasts and filling a similar role in the story.
  • Face Death with Dignity: As Alarak pushes him to the edge of the Pit of Sacrifice, his final words are a warning that Amon has already won and Alarak will lead the Tal'darim to their death.
  • Hidden Eyes: His modified High Templar armor covers his eyes.
  • Hypocrite: He spreads the word that Amon will ascend the strongest of the Tal'darim into hybrids, when he knows it's not true, according to the short story "Ascension". Ma'lash keeps Amon's intent to Kill 'Em All (Tal'darim included) a secret.
  • Informed Attribute: He's spoken of as a ruthless and powerful warrior who has felled dozens of challengers in Rak'Shir, and operates as a cruel and calculating warlord over the other Tal'darim. While he definitely is evil, he has too little screentime to actually see him display his cruelty, and the one mission he is seen fighting is his duel against Alarak, where the two of them are equally powerful and you are forbidden from taking directly part in the fight. Granted, Alarak is shown later on to be a formidable fighter and a One-Man Army, so the fact Ma'lash could go toe-to-toe with him suggest he was indeed very powerful.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: His armor includes a mask that conceals his upper face.
  • One-Way Visor: has a blind-helmet.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: As with the other Tal'darim he wears black armor with red psionics. Unlike Alarak, Ma'lash plays it straight all the way through.
  • Red Baron: He is known as "Amon's Blade" among the Tal'darim.
  • Trapped in Villainy: His final words imply he knew Amon intends to invoke You Have Outlived Your Usefulness on the Tal'darim, but Amon is so powerful and his plans so close to completion, that Ma'lash saw no point to rebelling.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: When Zeratul reaches the altar in his temple, he warps out.

"What a pathetic display. When the time comes, I hope Alarak proves a more fitting challenge."

Voiced by: Nicole Oliver

A Tal'darim Ascendant, ranked directly under Alarak. When he becomes Highlord, Ji'nara rises to become his First Ascendant.

Provides examples of:

  • Ascended Extra: She featured in a single novella leading up to the release of Legacy of the Void and nowhere else, then got featured in a Co-op mission and even got voiced dialogue for it. She also appears in Covert Ops in missions.
  • Continuity Nod: She tells Alarak to "declare for her" in Co-op, referring to the "Ascension" short story where Tal'darim entering Rak'shir would traditionally declare upon entry which main combatant they intend to fight for.
  • Combat Pragmatist: She, like Alarak, has no trouble calling in outside forces to help her defeat Amon's champion in Rak'shir.
  • Developers' Foresight: Taking Alarak into "Chain of Ascension" prompts different dialogue from Ji'nara, since she's his second-in-command.
  • The Dragon: She is Alarak's second-in-command as First Ascendant of the Tal'darim. The Co-op mission implies that while he was on the Spear of Adun representing the Tal'darim in negotiations with the Daelaam, Ji'nara was back on Slayn keeping things organized there. The short story "Ascension" also suggests she's been Alarak's accomplice in his schemes for a while before he became Highlord.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: As with any Tal'darim loyal to Alarak, Ji'nara accepts that anyone who serves Amon is crazy and foolish.
  • Jerkass: She just isn't very nice as a person, having no respect towards anyone who beats her and is very petty towards them.
  • Mission Control: Acts as one for the Chain of Ascension Co-op mission. Unusually for this trope, she is present and in the battlefield (although she cannot be attacked by allies or enemies).
  • Morality Pet: Played with in regards to Alarak's relationship with her. He seems to treat her well enough and thinks of her in better terms than he does the Daelaam, but it's ambiguous if he actually cares about her as an individual, or because she's a valuable minion to him and he would prefer not to have to replace her. He says in the short story "Ascension" that he would "hate to kill someone of [her] competence" in a thinly veiled threat she understands to be a warning not to participate in the Rak'Shir. While Alarak reflects he said this to ensure she would remain out of the duel and he can keep things contained easier, it's left ambigious to what degree he meant the threat, or even if he was just giving her an order they both understood and were just keeping up appearances.
  • The Rival: To Nova in Cover Ops, competing with her to claim terrazine.
  • The Smurfette Principle: the only named female Tal'darim.
  • The Starscream: She intends to one day challenge and kill Alarak to claim his title. Given how the Tal'darim operate as a culture, however, it would be weird for her not to be this trope.

Remember kids, Drugs Are Bad. This guy learnt it the hard way.
"We will follow you to the ends of the universe, James Raynor! A thousand deaths cannot atone for your wanton sacrilege"

Voiced by: Gary Anthony Williams

Nyon is a Tal'darim executor that was dispatched along with a group of followers to harvest terrazine, but Nyon was driven insane in the process, and went rogue. His Tal'darim forces were also often seen guarding the Xel'naga artifact pieces Raynor's Raiders were looking for. Acts as the Protoss antagonist of the Wings campaign.

Provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: His name was initially only given via the achievement that rewards his portrait. Alarak finally names him in Legacy of the Void.
  • Arc Welding: Legacy of the Void provides some context for his actions being at odds with the rest of the Tal'darim.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: He pilots a beefed-up mothership with all the toys attached.
  • Badass Boast: Before he brings in his Mothership:
    Executor: : "Make peace with your Gods, defilers! You will now answer for your crimes!"
  • Boss Banter: The guy never shuts up on any of the missions you encounter his men on. The only way to shut him up is to kill him, which you can't do until the "Maw of the Void".
  • The Bully: Nyon bullies terrans who so much as set foot in his worlds without care or remorse.
  • Cool Starship: In "Maw of the Void" commands a Mothership.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: When he finally takes the field in "Maw of the Void", he fights you for a bit, then teleports away when he starts to take too much damage.
  • Jerkass: He is clearly not the nicest person to be around.
  • Hate Sink: Perhaps the most intentionally dislikeable Tal'darim in the game. This guy is a huge Jerkass fanatic, serving no purpose but to bully you and make your day in each Tal'darim mission miserable. What's worse is that he won't see reason, and will never stop talking about Raynor's "defilement". There's also the fact that he imprisons all protoss who defy them. It all makes the player want to kill him the more he says something, and it's very satisfying to kill him in "Maw of The Void."
  • The Heavy: He's not the real leader of the Tal'Darim, just their commander in Wings. Then, we later find out from Alarak that he's a renegade Tal'darim commander.
  • The Heretic: Ironically, given he declares everyone else to be one. His prolonged exposure to terrazine drove him insane and he went rogue from the bulk of the Tal'darim.
  • No Name Given: Even the subtitles just use "Tal'darim Executor". He was finally named in-game in Legacy of the Void.
  • Right Hand vs. Left Hand: Nyon and his Tal'darim keep trying to stop Raynor from getting the artifact pieces even though Narud (and through him, Amon) is the one who hires Raynor to get said artifact pieces. This was explained in Legacy of the Void as Nyon going insane from terrazine exposure and basically having no idea that his actions were interfering with Narud's plans.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: He and the other Tal'darim appear to be Knight Templar versions of regular Protoss.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: He and his men "gladly march towards death to [ensure] your doom". At least "Maw of the Void" shows he isn't too wimpy to attempt this himself.
  • Taking You with Me: Tries to stall Raynor's Raiders in "Supernova" in case they cannot outright eliminate them - in that case, having everyone consumed by the eventual supernova is acceptable.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In Legacy of the Void, Alarak does not think highly of Nyon, due to the task he was assigned to and his final fate.
  • The Usual Adversaries: Whenever Raynor meets the Tal'darim executor, the Executor makes a number of over the top threats (like the page quote) at Raynor. Raynor mostly reacts with mild to medium annoyance.
  • We Have Reserves: Nyon's forces could even rival the zerg in this department - Nyon's Tal'darim often have several bases deployed in each mission with a lot of unit-producing buildings, more than the vast majority of enemy bases on other missions.
    • A particularly ridiculous example of this trope is him spending much of "The Dig" throwing Archons at you in twos and threes. Yes, those Archons.
    • Weaksauce Weakness: Fortunately for Raynor's Raiders, these building clusters are often supported by only one Pylon, which means that can be depowered very quickly.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: In Legacy of the Void, Alarak implies Nyon was sent to harvest terrazine, and Nyon's prolonged exposure to it drove him insane.



First Ascendant of the Tal'darim, Nuroka is a loyal servant to Amon. At least, he was; when he discovers Amon's true intent for the Tal'darim, he plots to overthrow Ma'lash and take command of the Tal'darim to turn them against Amon.

  • Accidental Public Confession: How did Nuroka find out Amon's true intentions? He consumed more terrazine than usual, and as such, peered so far into the Void that he could enter Amon's thoughts, as he had let his guard down. Nuroka also discovered through this that Ma'lash did know Amon was never going to ascend the strongest of the Tal'darim into hybrids, yet he pretended not to know such truth.
  • Drugs Are Bad: A surprising inversion - taking too much terrazine was what led him to his groundbreaking discovery.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Alarak is First Ascendant in Legacy of the Void but Ma'lash is still Highlord, so there's your clue to how Nuroka's story ends.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: Inverted, he became disillusioned with Amon and turned on the Tal'darim.
  • Hero Antagonist: Insomuch as the Tal'darim can be considered "heroes." Nuroka is largely the antagonist of the short story where he features, but is trying to get the Tal'darim to break away from Amon and kill the dark god.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: He recruited Alarak to aid him in Rak'Shir, but underestimated Alarak's cunning ways and (back then) faith to Amon.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: He wants to kill Amon. Alarak notes that this is ridiculous to even consider, but Nuroka is confident there must be a way.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Despite only featuring in a short story published on-line, Nuroka's words and actions spur Alarak to uncover the truth for himself. By proxy, you can thank Nuroka for setting the stage for Alarak to betray and kill Ma'lash and ally the Tal'darim with Artanis.
  • We Can Rule Together: He recognizes Alarak as a more useful ally than either the Second or Third Ascendants of the time, and so tells Alarak that if he helps Nuroka kill Ma'lash, Nuroka will raise Alarak to his First Ascendant. Too bad Nuroka didn't count on Alarak having a plan to get that rank without allying with him.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: