The Burning Legion is the name for the demonic forces of the universe. Under the leadership of the fallen titan Sargeras, they move from world to world, seeking to consume them in fire and undo the creation of the Titans. The Legion consists of a number of subgroups, most of whom are classified as demons.
- The Eredar, who are represented more or less as "classical" demons, started out as good but were corrupted to evil by Sargeras. They are the leaders of the Legion.
- Assorted lesser demons like the Pit Lords, Mo'arg, Gan'arg, Doomguard, etc., form the armies of the Legion.
- The Scourge are the Undead forces under the command of the Lich King. Originally subservient to the Legion, Ner'zhul eventually betrayed Kil'jaeden and became independent.
- The Shadow Council, an Equal-Opportunity Evil group of warlocks originally founded by Orcs on Draenor, works to further the Legion's goals.
- There are enclaves of demons, cultists (mostly influenced by the Shadow Council), and satyrs throughout Azeroth that are aligned with the Burning Legion and eagerly await their return.
"To conquer this puny world."
"And burn it to a husk."
- Authority Equals Asskicking: During the Invasions, the Lords (who appear in Stage four) are more powerful than most bosses you'll encounter, able to kill any player - except maybe tanks - with one backhand slap.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Justified, you have to be evil (or become corrupted) to get into the Legion in the first place.
- Big Red Devil: Red is one of the most common skin colors for man'ari eredar. The other is dark grey.
- Body Backup Drive: Word of God revealed during Warlords of Draenor that the Twisting Nether, to which the souls of all demons are tethered, transcends all realities. This means that every version of a demon, across all realities, is the same person with the same consciousness. Since demons can only die if their soul is destroyed in the Nether, this effectively gives every demon as many Body Backup Drives as there are realities, especially since Warlords of Draenor (and previously Twilight of the Aspects) proved that jumping between realities is a very real possibility. If Archimonde, for example, really wanted to manifest on main universe Azeroth again, he'd just have to find a way to hop one of his alternate reality bodies over. However this comes at a cost as some demons appear to be unable to distinguish the difference between timelines and according to Wo W Chronicles Vol.3 these timelines are merely shades and are similar to tributaries of a river(main timeline) and these alternate timelines would naturally disappear if left alone. This means the Legion wasted time fighting in other timeliness which would disappear on their own or be destroyed if the main timeline is destroyed. Also if their soul does not return to the Twisted Nether they may not reform again such as the demons sealed in the Tomb of Sargeras. However the said demons were extremely weak when they were sealed and not many places exist that can negate fel energy and even then the demons managed to recover their power making it unfeasible.
- The Corruption: How they "recruit" new species; for example, fel orcs and satyrs were once normal orcs and night elves who were mutated by fel power.
- The Dark Side: Fel energy empowers magic users dramatically, at the cost of corrupting their mind and submitting them to the Legion's will. The Light is its complete opposite.
- Death Is Cheap: Demons can only be permanently killed if the death takes place either in the Twisting Nether, or areas highly saturated with its energies (such as the Eredar homeworld of Argus). Killing them anywhere else will just cause their souls to return to the Nether, where they can reform a new body and come back as many times as they please.
- Decapitated Army:
- As of the conclusion of the Tomb of Sargeras raid, both Archimonde and Kil'jaeden, the interim leaders of the Legion, have been permanently defeated; however, Sargeras himself seems to be active enough to communicate with his followers, so the Legion may soon be undergoing head reattachment surgery.
- After Antorus, this is now in full effect. Sargeras is permanently sealed away, Argus-The-Titan has been killed and with it the demon's ability to cheat death on fel-tainted worlds died with him, the Demon Hunters and Army of the Light have all but taken the planet back and any death they suffer will be a permanent dent in the formerly endless army, including the bosses you kill in the Antorus raid itself (important demons such as their most powerful portal master, for example). It's safe to say the Legion has been almost entirely dismantled.
- Demon Lords And Arch Devils: The Legion has a hierarchical structure, which originally had Sargeras in overall command, and Archimonde and Kil'jaeden as his lieutenants. As Archimonde is presumably dead and Sargeras is stuck in the Twisting Nether, Kil'jaeden is now the de facto leader.
- Determinator: No matter how the people of Azeroth keep ruining its invasion schemes, the Legion will keep trying.
- Elite Mooks: Wrathguards, a subtype of man'ari eredar that specializes in melee combat along with some fire magic. They are shock troops and honor guards for the Legion's commanders.
- Evil Is Bigger: Most are at least slightly bigger than your character, and they get bigger as their level of authority and might grow. The Lords are the size of towers.
- Evil Is Hammy: As the provided quotes show, they love to taunt enemies with the hammiest threats imaginable. (Not that the good guys are much better in that regard.)
- Evil Sorcerer: The man'ari eredar, at the top of the Legion power structure, are usually this.
- Fighting a Shadow:
- Sargeras is so powerful that death may not even be a possibility, at least not by anyone other than a fellow Titan, and the most that the heroes of the universe have managed is sealing away his physical form via Portal Cut. This also applies to the Nathrezim, as they can't be slain unless they're on their homeworld or a place saturated in the power of the Twisting Nether. Other demons are implied to share the same immunity, but pit lords and the three Eredar lords (Archimonde being a good example) have shown that they can be permanently slain on other worlds.
- Or not so permanently. All of the Legion's demons are bound to the Twisting Nether, which exists outside of the timelines of titan ordered planets. This means that any demon that has been killed has its essence returned to the Nether where it can reform, though it takes time depending on its power. Sargeras has yet to reform (maybe because of his avatar's body being sealed away), but Archimonde took the time between the Battle of Hyjal (Warcraft 3) and the Iron Horde's invasion (Warlords of Draenor).
- Alternately, if a member of the Legion dies, they may lose the ability to manifest on that planet. Archimonde and Mannoroth have yet to manifest themselves on Azeroth a second time, and Mannoroth had to be re-built and resurrected to return on Past-Draenor. The limits and extent of this ability are not clearly stated. It doesn't help that demons were never stated to have any resistances to death prior to Warlords of Draenor other than being tough to kill in the first place.
- There are a few stated ways to kill demons in uncorrupted worlds. The sword Ashbringer kills demons (and undead) dead, as it is a powerful relic of The Light. The Illidari have also learned to slay demons permanently (presumably by using the fel energies in themselves).
- Legion finally seemed to put its foot down on a Demon's nature around 7.3. If a demon is killed on a normal planet their soul (barring soul traps or overcharges of light like mentioned above) will return to the nether where they'll naturally regenerate over time (a long time). However, if killed in the nether or in a fel-saturated planet (like Argus itself) they're permanently and irrecoverably slain. Unfortunately for everyone however, it's revealed that the corrupted world soul of Argus has been serving as a linchpin for the Legion's immortality meaning that even on a place where Killed Off for Real should apply to all demons, it doesn't. Though there's also signs that Sargeras may have control over who is and isn't revived, Kil'Jaeden and Archimonde are left dead for real for their failures, while Varimathras was revived purely for the sake of torturing him for his failures. Demons on Argus can also drop soulstones, the flavor text states that smashing it permanently kills the demon you took it from (even though this obviously can't reflect in the game.) After the ending of Legion, it will very likely be open season on every demon on the planet to kill them for good, heralding the true end of the burning crusade.
- Galactic Conquerer: They've dominated many planets, and in truth use a lot of Magitek starships.
- Golem: Infernals and Abyssals are large constructs made from stone and animated by demonic fire, which the Legion (and warlock players) can summon in the form of fireballs dropping from the sky.
- Greater-Scope Villain:
- Throughout most of Warcraft's history, Sergeras and the Legion have been the largest known threat out there. While not always present and at the forefront, it was generally accepted that the Burning Legion was the most existential threat out there.
- Later subverted. When the Old Gods were more formally introduced, they were described as more evil and more powerful than even Sargeras, and their resurgence would see a new dark age for Azeroth if not beyond.
- And yet later, another Retcon would set the record that the Titans are more powerful than the Old Gods. The problem is that the Old Gods are an aspect of the Void, and a Void-infected Titan would be able to corrupt or unmake the entire universe. And the Void is a permanent part of the cosmology, meaning the universe will always be under threat. Hence, Sargeras formed the Burning Legion to destroy the whole thing to wipe the slate clean so that the next universe wouldn't have to deal with it.
- Hell Hounds: The Legion uses Felhounds, demonic hounds that feed on magic.
- Humongous Mecha: Fel Reavers are gigantic robots running on fel energy. They are the Legion's biggest assault units by far.
- It's Personal: Azeroth is the only planet ever to have fought the Legion off successfully, and they've actually done so multiple times. At this point the motive for demons attacking Azeroth seems to largely be revenge-based and for Sargeras, to prevent Azeroth's world-soul from falling to the Old Gods' corruption. Confirmed by Blizzard to be their (at least current timeline Kil'jaeden's) motivation for attacking Azeroth.
- Legion has also revealed that Sargeras is infatuated with Azeroth's (female) world soul.
- Large and in Charge: The leaders are titanic, towering over their minions and enemies on the battlefield. Commanders are much larger than players too.
- The Legions of Hell: In addition of having nearly the same name, they are army of demonic beings bent on travelling between worlds to destroy and conquer them, corrupting everything on their way.
- Magitek: They have starships that run on souls.
- Master of Illusion: Legion is playing up their ability to disguise themselves as mortals. In the followup quest to the Broken Shore scenario, the new demon hunter members of the Horde or Alliance will reveal that magically disguised demons have infiltrated the area using their Spectral Sight ability, and battle ensues.
- Mooks: The Mo'arg species of demons generally serve as the rank-and-file of the Legion. The actual race called the Mo'arg almost always serves the Legion in a Mad Scientist capacity (in Legion they have started showing up as front-line Giant Mooks), and the stunted subtype called the gan'arg are minor laborers and technicians. The subtype called Felguards are the Legion's front line troops; occasionally they can be huge.
- Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: No matter how many times and how comprehensively defeated, the Legion never runs out of troops or materiel with which is prosecute their wars. While it could be justified in that they just have that many in terms of troops and smiths, Legion did confirm that they had an unlimited power source used to resurrect troops and make all of their gear, the Titan Argus.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Pretty much the whole point of their existence.
- Obviously Evil: Armies of demons who cause Dramatic Thunder via their very presence, spew poison, flames, and necrotic energy, killing everything in sight. Can't get more obvious than that.
- Our Demons Are Different: More specifically, they are an army of diverse creatures from various worlds who use a form of evil magic known as Fel Power and use The Corruption to assimilate new species in their ranks.
- Out of Focus: The Legion were hardly mentioned at all from Wrath of the Lich King through Mists of Pandaria, primarily because there were much more imminent threats to tackle. They got more screen time in Warlords of Draenor (with Archimonde being the final boss, similar to how Kil'jaeden was the final boss of Burning Crusade) and are the primary antagonists in Legion, where they begin their largest incursion on Azeroth to date.
- Retcon: See the entry for Sargeras.
- Ridiculously Fast Construction: During the invasions in the pre-Legion world event, they can deploy towers that are constructed in seconds (Baine Bloodhoof specifically mentions this in the Broken Shore scenario), which can be destroyed by breaking their protective fel crystals. Justified in that the structures are probably pre-built and are being summoned to the battlefield.
- Sickly Green Glow: Fel power seems to emit this, and players will see this coming from their demonic forges and cannons.
- Spikes of Villainy: Man'ari eredar have small spikes surrounding their eyes, which the draenei lack. Also, Felguards have large spikes that seem to grow from the top of their back, just behind the neck.
The Fallen Titan
Voiced by: Rick Wasserman
Sargeras is the Burning One, the master of the Burning Legion. Originally a Titan, he fell from grace and decided to undo all of creation, returning it to the Twisted Nether. To that end, he enlisted the aid of the original Draenei race, promising incredible power to those who would follow him. Sargeras and his Burning Legion moved from world to world, eradicating or corrupting all life thereon, until they were attracted to Azeroth by the wanton use of magic by the Night Elves. They found the planet a tough nut to crack, however, and the Legion tried many ploys ranging from brute force to corruption to infiltration.
Eventually, Sargeras attempted subterfuge. He allowed a young and naive Guardian to discover his "plan" to enter the world in physical form. When she attacked and destroyed him, his spirit entered her body and was later passed on to her offspring, Medivh. Under Sargeras' domination, Medivh opened the Dark Portal, allowing the Orcs to enter Azeroth and starting the First War. It was not until the Second War that Medivh's corruption was exposed; his death banished the spirit of Sargeras back to the Twisting Nether. It is not known if he can return.
- And I Must Scream: His fate at the end of Legion-put in a new can at the lacking mercy of Illidan Stormrage. His fate seems...bleak.
- Ascended Extra: Originally just a footnote in the Warcraft II manuals.
- Badass Beard: He had a beard before. But now it's made of FIRE!!
- BFS: Depicted wielding a sword as large as he is while still fighting for the titans, and a smaller one with a jagged tip after his corruption. If the Tabletop games are to be believed, they are Gorshalach, the most powerful weapon in the universe, and Gorribal, what's left of Gorshalach after it shattered itself and was reforged. According to Chronicle, it was shattered during the battle with his old comrade Aggramar and remained that way ever since. As of Legion it was briefly reformed and is now embedded in Silithus in Azeroth, stretching into the sky and the hilt alone dwarfs the surrounding mountains.
- Big Bad: He is personally directing the Burning Legion during the War of the Ancients, and the invasion of Azeroth by the orcish Horde is his doing through the possessed Medivh.
- The Chessmaster: He didn't create the Burning Legion by being bad at scheming. See what he did with Medivh.
- Demonic Possession: Of Medivh, starting back when he was in the womb. He also does the same to Argus in the Mythic version of his boss fight at Antorus.
- Enemy to All Living Things: It's one of his titles and he's said to turn the temperature up by 50 degrees in a thousand mile radius from his location.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
- "Love" might be a bit a a stretch for a genocidal sociopath, but Legion has revealed that he wants the female titan world soul inside Azeroth to belong to him.
- The lore behind the Fangs of the Devourer artifact weapons state that he had a pet felhound named Goremaw that he greatly cared about. When the child of a conquered world killed Goremaw in its sleep, Sargeras was so furious he destroyed the entire planet and its population in one attack.
- Expy: Of Surtur from The Mighty Thor, and by extension Surt from Norse Mythology. Also shares traits with Morgoth (and several of them with Satan, as mentioned below). He may also be inspired by the very similarly named Sargonnas, as both are powerful warriors, and both are presented with a pair of giant horns.
- FaceHeel Turn: Once the Titan's Champion, he wandered the universe fighting, vanquishing and imprisoning demons wherever he could find them while protecting the planets his kind had seeded with life. An encounter with a world corrupted by the Old Gods, including the Titan that slept within, drove him to destroy that planet and try to convince his fellow Titans that they needed to stand against the Void Lords, and when they refused and thought him mad he decided the only way to stop the Void Lords was to purge all creation.
- Fallen Hero: His former title was "Sargeras the Defender", after all. Then he realized the universe he was trying to defend was beyond normal means of saving, in his eyes, and turned to more...radical methods.
- Final Boss Preview: The Mythic Gul'dan encounter in the Nighthold sees a bonus final phase in which the raid battles Illidan's body possessed by Sargeras, and again in the Tomb of Sargeras where his Fallen Avatar is fought.
- Flaming Hair: He had normal hair before his fall, but after shattering the prison world of Mardum and releasing the demons there his body absorbed the fel power within the planet and turned it into flames.
- Freak Out: Upon learning that there were beings in the universe capable of corrupting world-souls, he separates from the Pantheon, and turns the swarm of demons he once imprisoned into his army to cleanse the universe.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Long after he's dropped off the face of the plot, his Burning Legion continues to cause problems on Azeroth.
- Good All Along: A very, very downplayed example, while he isn't nearly by any stretch of imagination good, but it was originally believed Sargeras wanted to destroy the universe because demons kept destroying ordered planets and the stress of hunting and imprisoning them made him snap. Legion reveals his motivation is to stop the Void Lords from bringing everything to nothingness, showing he at least has noble motives, though horrible ways of going through with his plan.
- He Who Fights Monsters: He seeks to eradicate all life in the universe because the Void Lords want to corrupt and dominate all of reality.
- I Did What I Had to Do: When he found a world soul being corrupted by Old Gods, he determined that it was too far gone, and cleaved the planet in two. The Pantheon admonished him for this act, believing that it could've been saved, which led to his Start of Darkness.
- If I Can't Have You...: Implied to be the reason Sargeras stabbed Azeroth while the Titans tried to pull him back to the Seat of the Pantheon to be imprisoned.
- It Is Beyond Saving: His opinion of the universe as it exists, believing the Void Lords have had too much of a head start in overtaking it.
- Kill the God: Sargeras killed the rest of the Pantheon when they tried to stop him.
- Last Breath Bullet: As the other Titans, bar Argus tried to pull Sargeras off Azeroth, he dealt a devastating blow to Azeroth, stabbing his sword into Silithus. Played with, as he was about to be imprisoned, not killed.
- Last of His Kind: He killed all the other Titans when they tried to stop him. He and the last world soul in Azeroth are the only Titans left. Later subverted when it's revealed he has taken the souls of the other titans, bar Eonar who is in hiding and Azeroth who has yet to be awakened, and is trying to have them reborn but under his control, as he as done with Aggramar and Argus.
- Man of Kryptonite: After being inundated with fel magic when he shattered Mardunn, Sargeras became this to other Titans (since Titans are beings of arcane magic, and arcane is weak against fel). In fact apart from Aggarmar, who Sargeras cut in half, fel magic was how Sargeras defeated the remainder of the Titan Pantheon.
- Magic Knight: Sargeras was the Pantheon's physical combat specialist, but he has a command of sorcery that is more than substantial.
- Magma Man: How he is depicted in the art after his corruption, complete with Volcanic Veins, and how he appears in the Antorus ending cinematic.
- Nigh Invulnerable: Sargeras's sheer size alone makes it impossible for mortals to significantly damage him in his true form—when a Fantastic Nuke corresponds to a pinprick on his planetary body, there isn't much you can do. Even his Avatars are some of the most powerful entities imaginable on that scale, only vulnerable to legendary magical weapons and spells on the level of a Guardian of Tirisfal.
- Non-Standard Game Over: If Sargeras physically arrives on Azeroth with his full power, Azeroth dies along with everything on it. Nothing on Azeroth can stand up to him save perhaps other Titans.
- Oh, Crap!: In a Freeze-Frame Bonus before the Titans pull him off Azeroth to the Seat of the Pantheon in the ending cinematic of Antorus, Sargeras has this expression on his face for a second.
- Omnicidal Maniac: His personal reason for beginning the Burning Crusade is to destroy everything to prevent the Void Lords from conquering reality. This makes him something of a Downplayed example, as his entire motive is to leave the universe fallow for new life free of the spectre of the Old Gods, while the Void Lord's victory would be a cosmos-wide Fate Worse than Death.
- Physical God: He is of course a Titan, with all the ambiguity and Flip-Flop of God that apply to them as a whole. According to Krasus, Sargeras individually was a much greater threat to Azeroth than the entire rest of the Burning Legion combined. At full size he can cut a planet in half with one swing from his sword, so he is at least a Planet Destroyer. He is also able to kill the Player Character just by looking at them, as witnessed in the Broken Shore scenario.
- Portal Cut: The portal being used to summon him to Azeroth through the Well of Eternity closed on him when he was partway through. The force obliterated his physical body. His spirit would not be gotten rid of so easily, though, and he remained scheming even without a permanent body, having to settle for projecting avatars containing only a shadow of his true might.
- Originally, the eredar and nathrezim (dreadlords) were said to have each played a role in corrupting Sargeras into their ranks. The eredar were removed from this equation around the release of the Burning Crusade expansion, instead having Sargeras be the original evil who corrupted the eredar (later called man'ari eredar). This allowed the rest of the eredar (the draenei) to become a separate race and join the Alliance.
- Chronicle volume 1 goes into depth: What corrupted Sargeras was the knowledge that there were Old Gods being hurled through the Great Dark Beyond with the purpose (and power) to corrupt world souls, with the end goal to end existence. The ones to tell Sargeras this was a group of nathrezim who lived on an Old God infested world.
- Satanic Archetype: At least in terms of backstory.
- Stalker with a Crush: One of the Legion lorebooks has revealed that he had a vision of Azeroth's titan world soul shortly after the War of the Ancients in which she opened a single eye at him and instantly knew she had to be his.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Sargeras' ultimate fate in Patch 7.3. The surviving Titans, apart from Azeroth, and Illidan use their combined power to imprison Sargeras forever at the Seat of the Pantheon.
- Story-Breaker Power: Sargeras is on a completely different league of power from any entity encountered by mortals on Azeroth. Before his might, all the heroes, armies, nations... all of Azeroth's history is as nothing. The only reason they still live is because Sargeras has to get to Azeroth before he can obliterate it, meaning that he either walks the distance for eons, tries shortcuts that can be disrupted, or sends his army that can be defeated.
- Super Strength: His strength was said to completely dwarf that of one hundred dragons and he could easily cleave a planet in half. Sargeras was nearly strong enough to hold a closing portal open with his bare hands; in perspective, the portal was compared to a black hole in destructive force. That puts his physical strength near Superman at his strongest (when the latter could move planets).
- Taking You with Me: After Argus is defeated at the Seat of the Pantheon and the Titans drag Sargeras to the Seat of the Pantheon to imprison him there, he swiped at the Vindicaar with one hand, seeking either to crush or grab it. He just missed it.
- The Unfought: Sargeras is not fought directly in Legion, despite technically being the main villain. Instead, the role of final boss goes to Argus, the Unmaker, the titan Sargeras uses to power his army. The closest to fighting Sargeras is in Mythic Antorus fight where Sargeras possessed Argus and fought the raid.
- Unholy Matrimony: He presumably wants this with Azeroth's titan world-soul after he corrupts her.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: How he views his Start of Darkness. Believing that a universe devoid of life would be better than one controlled by the Void Lords, his purpose is to stop the Void at all cost to prevent to prevent it from overwhelming the Light and return the universe to nothingness.
- Winged Humanoid: Once he becomes evil, as can be seen in the Warcraft Saga comic, published in the World of Warcraft Magazine.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: He was so traumatized by the realization that the Void Lords were attempting to destroy the universe and nearly did so by corrupting one of his unborn kin with the Old Gods, combined with the rest of the Pantheon's disapproval of his act of Mercy Killing the titan and refusing to listen to him that he decided the only way to save the universe was to purge it with fire and lead an army of the very demons he had worked all his life to contain.
- Xanatos Gambit: Several, but most particularly the one with the Guardian. If she destroyed him, then he can reincarnate. If she failed, one less guardian is still a good deal.
Voiced by: Fred Tatasciore (The Burning Crusade), Lex Lang (Legion)
Currently the leader of the Legion, Kil'jaeden was one of the three original Eredar lords who were approached by Sargeras and one of the two who joined the fallen titan. While his companion, Archimonde, tended to preferred brute force, Kil'jaeden went the Magnificent Bastard route, manipulating, tempting, and even outright lying to accomplish his goals. After Sargeras was banished with the death of Medivh, Kil'jaeden sought to take over leadership of the Burning Legion and prove his worth by completing the assimilation/destruction of Azeroth. Kael'thas attempted to summon him into Azeroth but didn't finish the job, leaving half of Kil'jaeden's body sticking out of the Sunwell. Consequently, he was ultimately defeated (but not killed) at the Sunwell by the combined forces of the Blue Dragonflight and a band of heroes.
He returns in the Legion expansion. Here he acts as the Man Behind the Man to Gul'dan and partially achieves revenge against Velen by tricking him into fighting his long-lost son to the death. He later appears as the final boss in the Tomb of Sargeras raid.
- Alas, Poor Villain: As he is about to die, he confesses to Velen that he was always envious of Velen's gift of prophecy, and his own despair that he believed Sargeras was unstoppable. Velen wordlessly places his hand on Kil'Jaeden's forehead as the latter is about to die, implying that Velen had forgiven the wayward Eredar for everything.
- Alphabetical Theme Naming: The three original Eredar "brothers", all have a "D" title (Kil'jaeden the Deceiver, Archimonde the Defiler, and...Velen the Divine). Even though the third brother is good-aligned, his title still starts with a "D".
- Arc Villain: He's the primary antagonist of the middle of the Legion expansion, succeeding Gul'dan.
- Best Served Cold: He wants revenge on Velen, and partially accomplishes it by having let him think he killed his son, only to raise him as one of the most monstrous eredar until Velen himself would be forced to fight him.
- Berserk Button: Velen in general is one, though in the trailer for Tomb he smashes the screen in fury when Velen denounces him as a monster who butchers his own people.
- Big Bad: Of The Burning Crusade, though all the advertising was focused on Illidan until the release of the Sunwell.
- Big "NO!": Upon being defeated at the Sunwell.
- The Chessmaster: His focus is on cunning plots and trickery, to balance out Archimonde's brute force.
- The Corrupter: His personal machinations led to the orc clans slaughtering the draenei of Shattrath and drinking demonic blood; turning Ner'zhul into the Lich King; and Kael'thas turning on both Illidan (leading to Illidan's downfall) and his own people (beckoning a new invasion of Azeroth). In Legion, he also takes great interest in bringing the Illidari into the Legion, and it's implied he was responsible for many other races joining the Legion's ranks.
- Co-Dragons: To Sargeras; shared with Archimonde.
- Despair Event Horizon: In his dying words, Kil'jaeden reveals that one of the reasons he joined with the Burning Legion is because he believed Sargeras simply could not be stopped. Thanks to the Chronicles, the audience knows that Sargeras himself only created the Legion (and recruited Kil'jaeden) because he believed the same about the Void Lords.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: In the 7.2 trailer he angrily cuts off his communication with Sargeras before ordering an attack on Dalaran.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Justified in Burning Crusade, since he was not completely summoned when players fight him and is fought with only part of his full power.
- Dragon Ascendant: Specifically in that Sargeras, the canonical Big Bad, is defeated before Kil'jaeden; however, this is not a case of the latter slacking so much as the former getting careless.
- Driven by Envy: He admits this to be the case with Velen as he lay dying.
- Evil Is Petty: Velen notes that it is no coincidence an attack on the draenei ordered by Kil'jaeden is led by an eredar commander as a "creative" punishment. Even more so when said commander is revealed to be Velen's own son, taken and raised by Kil'jaeden for the sole purpose of being used as a weapon against his father.
- Evil Sounds Deep: His is not as deep as Archimonde, but it's still a pretty low register.
- Face Death with Dignity: After being mortally wounded by the combined powers of the adventurers, Velen, Khadgar, and Illidan and realizing that they will escape, Kil'jaeden has a final conversation with Velen where he admits his motives and concedes his defeat and dies gracefully.
- Final Boss: Of the Burning Crusade expansion and the Tomb of Sargeras raid.
- Freudian Excuse: Before Sargeras showed up, Kil'Jaeden had great respect for Velen and constantly pined for his approval. Despite the fact that he spends millennia trying to find and kill Velen, he is still heavily affected by Velen's words: when Velen calls him a monster and a butcher, he doesn't take it very well. Conversely, their final exchange above Argus allows him to Face Death with Dignity.
- Gambit Roulette: Kil'jaeden has an extremely long-term mind set, so he naturally does nothing but these. Considering he could empower Ner'zhul with, among other things, limited foreknowledge of future events, it's not completely out-there to consider he might have a bit of prophet in himself as well.
- Genius Bruiser: Emphasis on the "Genius".
- Hazy Feel Turn: Kil'jaeden never expresses remorse for his countless atrocities, but he seems to have at least turned against Sargeras while at death's door, acknowledging - and implicitly hoping - that Azeroth's heroes may defeat him.
- Hot as Hell: Implied to help in drawing his victims to the dark side.
- Ignored Epiphany: In the 7.2 trailer after a string of defeats he questions Sargeras about his promised destiny and what he lost to achieve it, He then soon brushes it off and starts an attack on Dalaran
- It's Personal:
- According to Word of God, Kil'jaeden did his job for the Burning Legion without letting his ego get the better of him and just saw Azeroth as just another world to conquer. Now, after his defeat at the Sunwell? He is pissed.
- He also took Velen's "betrayal" very personally - while Archimonde was not really bothered by it, and encouraged Kil'jaeden to just let it go, and instead focus his attention on destroying and conquering countless worlds for the Legion, Kil'jaeden never stopped searching until he found his "brother" about 25,000 years later at Draenor.
- Killed Off for Real: The actual boss fight with Kil'jaeden takes place on a Legion warship in the Twisting Nether. Due to being within inside the Twisting Nether itself, this means that Velen avenges his son and people and Kil'jaeden is gone once and for all.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Kil'Jaeden is done in by the three living individuals he hates the most and has spent the most energy trying to kill: Khadgar (organized the Shattered Sun Offensive that ended his attempt to reach Azeroth back in Burning Crusade), Illidan (failed to kill the Lich King and then ran to Outland in The Frozen Throne, then began a secret campaign to attack the Legion on Mardum), and of course his brother Velen, whom he had spent 25,000 years trying to hunt down.
- Large and in Charge: Like Archimonde, he is generally depicted as many times the natural height of his race.
- Man Behind the Man: He was behind Illidan's plans in Frozen Throne, and was secretly behind Kael'thas's plans in Burning Crusade.
- Manipulative Bastard: They don't call him The Deceiver for nothing. His most notable example of deception, and possibly the origin of the epithet itself, is his impersonation of the orcs' ancestral spirits, which allowed him to convince the orcs to attack the draenei. This plan fails in Warlords of Draenor due to the actions of Garrosh Hellscream. As revealed by the Burning Legion Missive, Archimonde's patience with Kil'jaeden's methods has reached its end, and he is ready to simply take Draenor using his preferred method: good old-fashioned brute force.
- Man in a Kilt: All he ever dresses in is his skirt, leaving his upper body free.
- Moral Myopia: In most cases, he has a sort of grim resolve in the evils he does, doing them impersonally and with practiced efficiency. Where Velen is concerned, however, anything one might call "restraint" or "impartiality" completely falls away. He piles brutality onto brutality towards those with even the most tenuous connection to the Divine, whom he furiously labels a horrible traitor to his people for not bending the knee to the Legion. When Kil'jaeden overhears Velen calling him a monster who butchers his own people even after... millennia of butchering his own people, he's genuinely hurt and distraught by it.
- Never Found the Body: Kil'jaeden's defeat at the Sunwell technically banishes him back to the Twisting Nether rather than completely destroying him. He makes a return in Legion where he explodes upon his death so there's a reason his body is never found.
- Never My Fault: In the "Tomb of Sargeras" audio-drama, Kil'jaeden repeatedly puts the entire blame for the failed Draenor campaign on Gul'dan. While he doesn't respond aloud, Gul'dan recalls doing his part — Gul'dan was The Unfought, it was the Legion that faced adventurers and failed to conquer Draenor while he was opening the Black Gate.
- Person of Mass Destruction: His magic can be best described at "point at something, it goes boom."
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Archimonde's red, despite their coloring. Kil'jaeden is a schemer who doesn't like to waste his forces, while Archimonde always goes for the frontal assault and damn the consequences.
- Satanic Archetype: While Sargeras has the backstory, Kil'jaeden is a better allegory in terms of personality and appearance.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Technically - it requires the Sunwell to be reopened for Kil'jaeden to attempt physical entry into Azeroth, which Kael'thas is only too happy to provide.
- Sorcerous Overlord: As the highest-ranking demon in the Legion and a master mage, he's this.
- The Starscream: Had hints of this in The Burning Crusade where he said he would secure his place as the true master of the Legion. In the trailer for Legion patch 7.2 he is angry at Sargeras's leadership and how all of his designs have yet to bring him the destiny promised, and so he cuts off his communication with Sargeras and orders an attack on Dalaran.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Presumably he does this because it means his wings are free.
- White Hair, Black Heart: His new model in World of Warcraft: Legion gives him a long ivory mullet, which can also be partially seen in some game art.
- Winged Humanoid
- A case of Power Gives You Wings, since normal eredar don't have them. Interestingly, he seems to be the only male Eredar who has them.
- Villainous Breakdown: The closest Kil'jaeden comes is giving the heroes a What the Hell Are You? style speech in the Tomb of Sargeras.
- You Have Failed Me: Averted. He's surprisingly forgiving of his underling's mistakes, as long as they don't completely screw up his over-all plan. In other times, it IS actually part of his plan (he expects them to fail), so no real failure there.
- For example, in the Tomb of Sargeras audio drama, Gul'dan betrays Kil'jaeden and takes the power within for himself. Instead of getting revenge, Kil'jaeden simply points out how Gul'dan would stand no chance against the heroes by himself since they are the ultimate Determinators. Gul'dan realizes he's right, and Kil'jaeden's subsequent forgiveness showed Gul'dan that the Burning Legion is the closest thing he'll ever have to a family, causing him to relinquish the power and securing his Undying Loyalty.
- This is in contrast to his fellow Co-Dragon Archimonde, who is of the "return victoriously or not at all"-type.
Voiced by: David Lodge
The Final Boss of Warcraft III, Archimonde the Defiler was the second of the Eredar lords that took Sargeras' offer of power and became one of his most powerful lieutenants. Unlike Kil'jaeden, Archimonde prefers a much more...direct approach to conquering the universe. He takes battles into his own hands instead of sitting back and plotting. Archimonde participated in the War of the Ancients, where he managed to kill Cenarius' father Malorne. Ten thousand years later he was brought back into Azeroth by Kel'Thuzad to lead the Legion's army. He promptly began destroying Lordaeron before crossing the sea to destroy Kalimdor. There he was held off by a coalition of Alliance and Horde members while trying to drain the World Tree Nordrassil of its power, before being blown up by thousands of wisps.
In Warlords of Draenor, Archimonde sees that Kil'jaeden's plans to manipulate the orcs have failed and so takes over the invasion of Draenor. Where Kil'jaeden favored deceit, Archimonde is much more brutal. As a result, the demons in the alternate timeline don't bother hiding themselves like they did in the main timeline and are invading Draenor in force.
- Ambiguous Situation: There is some debate as to whether Archimonde is alive or dead after Warlords of Draenor. Since he pulled the players into the Twisting Nether for the last stage of the fight on Mythic difficulty, some argue that he was killed in the Nether and thus finally Killed Off for Real. Others say that, as the ending cinematic shows, he didn't truly die until he was back of Draenor, sparing him for another Back from the Dead. Word of God only states that the specifics for killing a demon in the Nether are yet unknown, essentially leaving the door open for his return should Blizzard choose to go that route.
- Ambition Is Evil: He betrayed his old master Thal'kiel out of this, rather than any moral issues in order to be one of the three leaders of the Eredar.
- The Archmage: Before Sargeras recruited his race, he was the head of the Conservatory of the Arcane; basically Argus's equivalent of the Kirin Tor.
- Back from the Dead: Due to the alternate timeline in Warlords of Draenor. The player can obtain a Burning Legion Missive in Talador that contains a message from Archimonde to Kil'jaeden; apparently Archimonde is annoyed at Kil'jaeden's failure to corrupt the orcs via subterfuge in this timeline and is ready for a more, er, direct approach: "The sky will rain fire...the oceans will be filled with blood...DRAENOR WILL BURN!".
- Badass Boast: See the quote at the start.
- Bad Boss: Kills his own men in frustration after Tyrande escapes.
- The Brute: In terms of personality, at least.
- Call-Back: Just as his ally Kil'jaeden emerged as the surprise final boss for BC, he sneaks into Warlords as the final boss of Hellfire Citadel. Unsurprisingly, some of his attacks are reminiscent of the Hyjal encounter.
- Co-Dragons: To Sargeras, with Kil'jaeden. Mannoroth and Tichondrius are his Dragons.
- Death of a Thousand Cuts: After ripping through hundreds of mortal forces. Archimonde was finally killed by Wisps, the basic Night-Elf Worker Unit.
- Defeat Equals Explosion: His death emits a wave of flame that incinerates most of the forest on Mount Hyjal and greatly damages the World Tree Nordrassil.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Subverted, you aren't supposed to kill him in the final mission, and doing so is extremely difficult because not only do his bases never run out of resources and he can build units that can't be built in normal games, Archimonde himself is nearly unstoppable in a head-on fight. In the Battle for Mount Hyjal instance, you bring him to 10% HP and then the wisps do the rest. Finally played straight in Warlords of Draenor, where no wisp assistance was needed to take him down.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Wished to steal the power of the World Tree for himself in order to take command of the Burning Legion from Sargeras and Kil'jaedan.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Very evil, and has a very deep voice.
- Fallen Hero: Legion retcons his backstory: In his youth, he banded together with others to overthrow his master and ruler who consorted with dark entities and put his skull on display as a warning. He ended up doing pretty much the same thing when Sargeras showed up. Although he can be considered more of a Villain with Good Publicity then because he only didn't side with his master out of ambition and wanted to prove himself to Kil'Jaeden and Velen.
- Final Boss: Of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos.
- Also the final boss of the Hyjal Summit raid in The Burning Crusade.
- He later came back as this in the Hellfire Citadel raid in Warlords of Draenor, making him the final boss of the expansion.
- Finger Poke of Doom:
- Foe-Tossing Charge: His march to Mount Hyjal was little more than this.
- Foreshadowing: The Burning Legion missive toy in Warlords of Draenor features a conversation between Archimonde and Kil'jaeden about the fate of Draenor, illustrating how pissed Archimonde is about the stunt Grommash pulled. Archimonde later becomes very active in doing something about it, throttling the Iron Horde with fel energy through Gul'dan.
- Genius Bruiser: Emphasis on the "Bruiser".
- Greater-Scope Villain: He spearheads the Burning Legion's invasion of Draenor through Gul'dan, but he doesn't appear personally. Until the end of Hellfire Citadel, where he is the last boss.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: Subverted in the final mission of Warcraft III. Because it's a Hold the Line mission, the player is not meant to directly face him. But when this is attempted, it cannot even be called a hopeless boss fight, since Archimonde removes any attacking army as if they are flies, and when he actually does attack you, he'll likely show up when there's already an army on your doorstep. Part of the reason for this is because Archimonde is immune to spells and can only be damaged by chaos attacks. The fun is that the player has no units at their disposal that inflict chaos damage except for the units from the Mercenary Camp nearby.
- Hijacked by Ganon: After Gul'dan and Grommash spent the expansion vying for the position of Big Bad, Archimonde, who had already appeared as the Final Boss in a previous raid, takes center stage.
- The Juggernaut: The last level of Warcraft III has Archimonde stomping through the orc, human, and night elf defenses effortlessly.
- Kill 'em All: His plan for Draenor's inhabitants.
- Killed Off for Real: Slain by dozens of wisps all exploding at the same time around the World Tree. Until it was Subverted in Warlords of Draenor, where he comes back. See Body Backup Drive above, Archimonde has as many back up bodies as there are realities, and he could use all of them provided he has a way to move his physical body between dimensions.
- Word of God has stated their intention was for Archimonde to be defeated in the Twisting Nether if the raid was on Mythic difficulty, which would make him dead for real at the end of Warlords. However, when asked for a confirmation on Archimonde's status, Blizzard wasn't quite sure themselves and have stated it's all open for retconning, making whether Archimonde is alive or not unknown for now. His absence in the Burning Legion-centered Legion expansion may indicate he's no longer around.
- Large and in Charge: He seems to be able to shrink or grow at will.
- Lord British Postulate: This trope is fully in effect. Observe, how to kill Archimonde without using any cheat on Hard difficulty.
- Made of Iron: In Warcraft III he has an absurd amount of health, and divine type armor which means everything except Chaos damage (which you only get access to through mercenaries in that mission) do a single point of damage to him, he's immune to spells, and he has Ankh of Reincarnation which brings him back to life with 500 hp.
- Meaningful Name: Arch is Greek for king and monde is French for world, i.e. "King of the World" (a title traditionally claimed by Satan). By happy coincidence, it also sounds exactly like "arch-repulsive" in French.
- Neck Snap: Performs this on Malorne in the War of the Ancients.
- Nothing Personal: Unlike Kil'jaeden, he isn't bothered by Velen's betrayal, and encourages him to let it go.
- Person of Mass Destruction: If him casually destroying Dalaran wasn't evidence enough.
- Rasputinian Death: The last thing he expected was getting zerg rushed.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Kil'jaeden's blue, despite their coloring. Archie is impulsive, while Kil'jaeden is calculative.
- Significant Anagram: Remove the "i", and you get "Archdemon".
- The Starscream: Mixed a bit with Fallen Hero, but he betrayed his master Thal'kiel on Argus because he was ambitious and wanted to prove himself to Kil'Jaeden and Velen, not out of any moral quandary.
- The Stoic: During the War of the Ancients, Archimonde was said to hold the same stern faced focus throughout the entire conflict, even in his climatic battle with Malorne.
- Summoning Ritual: Gets to Azeroth via one of these, thanks to Kel'Thuzad. It may actually be what led to his ultimate downfall, as wisps' Detonation deals damage to summoned units.
- Super-Power Meltdown: What the wisps do to him.
- Undignified Death: He is killed by wisps (the weakest of the night elf units, who don't even fight normally) due to their sheer numbers.
- Villainous Breakdown: Also his Last Words, though only in the Caverns of Time: Battle of Mount Hyjal instance in The Burning Crusade.
- You Have Failed Me:
- Unlike Kil'Jaeden, Archimonde plays this straight. His policy pretty much boils down to "Succeed or die!"
- Alt!Archimonde as well.
Leader of the Pit Lords, and the one originally responsible for the corruption of the Orcs. He's quite committed to either bringing them back into the service of the Legion, or killing every last one of them.
- Back from the Dead: Gets brought back from the dead in the Hellfire Citadel raid and once restored is a boss fight.
- Badass Boast: A lot, but in the Warlords of Draenor cinematic:Mannoroth: Hehehaha... You would reject this gift? And did you bring these mongrels here just to watch you... die?
- Blade on a Stick: Two blades on a single stick.
- Blood Knight: It is said that even the orcs' bloodlust is nothing compared to his. Heck, if he is not fighting, he will even start killing his own soldiers just for satisfaction!
- The Brute: He is Archimonde's field general.
- Co-Dragons: Along with Tichondrius, to Archimonde.
- The Corrupter: Responsible of the orcs going evil in the first two games, as well as the corruption of Grom Hellscream and the Warsong clan in the third.
- Cutscene Boss: Pretty cool cutscene, though. Averted by his actual boss fight in the Hellfire Citadel raid.
- Deal with the Devil: How he ensnared the orcs in the original timeline, though background material suggests the offer was made only to Gul'dan, who then misled the rest of the Horde, leading to their corruption. He repeats the same trick on Grommash Hellscream and his garrison of orcs while they are crumbling under attacks by the demigod Cenarius in Warcraft III, only appearing to inform them of the deal after they've already taken it. In the Warlords of Draenor timeline, the deal is made more explicit to alt!Grom, but only because he was warned by his son from the future about what the deal entailed, and knew enough to ask first.
- Defeat Equals Explosion: His fiery death mortally wounds Grom Hellscream in Reign of Chaos, and would have done the same to Past!Grom in Warlords of Draenor, if not for a diving save by Garrosh.
- Dem Bones: When he first engages the raid in his boss fight, he is but a skeleton. He regains his flesh later on.
- Double Weapon: His weapon is a huge spear with blades on each end.
- Evil Is Burning Hot: Has green flame running along his head and back in a crest or mane.
- Evil Laugh: Has an impressively intimidating cackle, as displayed in the Warlords of Draenor cinematic.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Has a VERY deep voice befitting his stature.
- Flunky Boss:
- In the Well of Eternity instance, although he arguably starts out as a Dual Boss, since much of the early fight has you facing Varo'then.
- Straighter example in his Hellfire Citadel fight, where infernals and imps will spawn (additional doomguards in Mythic difficulty).
- Genius Bruiser: Though his Ax-Crazy Blood Knight nature makes it so this doesn't show up much in combat, he's eloquent and extremely intelligent.
- Guttural Growler: Par for the course for Pit Lords.
- Hidden Depths: Believe it or not, despite being portrayed just as a brute elsewhere, he shows himself to be very competent at sorcery in the War of the Ancients trilogy and very intelligent too (though still not nearly as skilled or smart as Archimonde or Kil'Jaeden).
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Killed by the very first orc that drank his blood.
- It's Personal: He took the Orcs' failure to conquer Azeroth and eventual rebellion very personally, and as a result focuses his effort on enslaving them again in Warcraft 3 to "teach them discipline", even though at this point the Scourge pretty much makes them obsolete as an army.
- Kill It with Fire: Explodes in flames when killed, through which he takes down Grom Hellscream with him.
- Killed Off for Real: Slain twice by Grom Hellscream in two different timelines. Third time's the charm when the raid disposes of him before they face off against Archimonde.
- Large Ham: A broad vocabulary and a deep, loud voice add to this effect.
- Magic Knight: While mostly noted for his physical strength, he also has powerful magic at his disposal.
- Meaningful Echo: His death in the Warlords of Draenor cinematic perfectly echoes his death in the main timeline.
- Playing with Fire: His primary magical arsenal involves lots of fire.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Pulls this on Grom in the Warlords of Draenor cinematic despite his size and appearance.
- Stout Strength: Pit Lords in general have rather hefty upper bodies, with huge strength to match.
- The Unfought: In WC3, despite being the Arc Villain of the Orc Campaign, you never actually fought him. He is killed by Grom in a FMV instead.
- The Worf Effect: One of the most Legion's most powerful fighters, but he's also been used to show off how powerful somebody else is by having them beat him. He gets manhandled by Azshara in the Ancients trilogy, killed in a single hit by Grom in Warcraft 3 (Though Grom could've been boosted by the corruption from Mannoroth's blood; in effect turning Mannoroth's own power against him), while his alternate timeline counterpart is killed again by Grom in a single hit in Warlords of Draenor (Though he did take an Iron Star to the face right before that). Subverted with his boss fight.
- Worthy Opponent: Despite being a nightmarish butcher, he seems willing to regard others as this in Warcraft III. He says to Tichondrius that he would relish a chance to face Cenarius in combat again and actually applauds Thrall's (unsuccessful) attempt to attack him: "A worthy effort, but futile!"
The nathrezim leader of the Dreadlords, and one of the top ranking commanders of the Burning Legion. During the Third War, Tichondrius watched over Arthas' journey to make sure that the fallen Prince completes his task. Arthas' task being to command the Undead Scourge against the humans of Lordaeron, and high elves of Quel'Thalas, in order to clear the way for the summoning of Archimonde into the world of Azeroth. After Archimonde's been successfully summoned, Tichondrius is given command of the Scourge to support the Burning Legion's invasion of Kalimdor. However, during the corruption of Felwood, Illidan manages to kill Tichondrius due to the power he obtained from the Skull of Gul'dan.
Presumed to be dead this whole time, Tichondrius makes a return in Legion as one of the bosses in the Nighthold. As it turned out, Tichondrius was only sent back to the Twisting Nether following his defeat to Illidan, and was eventually reconstituted. In the Nighthold, Tichondrius watches over Gul'dan to make sure that the Orc doesn't fail in achieving the Burning Legion's goal.
- Affably Evil: Very polite and soft spoken. You'll never seen him losing his temper, although sometimes he has to get serious when some of his subordinates talk him back.
- The Bus Came Back: While he was defeated by Illidan in Warcraft III, he returns in Legion where he's one of the bosses of the Nighthold. As he was never killed in the Twisting Nether, he's not gone for good.
- Co-Dragons: Along with Mannoroth, to Archimonde.
- Color Motif: Red given his connection to flames.
- Evil Genius: He does very little fight of his own, instead coming up with the plans and informing the Scourge about them.
- Deadpan Snarker: Which leads to Snark-to-Snark Combat with Arthas.Arthas: I was wondering when you'd show up.
Tichondrius: I am here to ensure that you do your job, little human. Not to do it for you.
- Finger Poke of Doom: Like Archimonde, he also knows the powerful spell Death Finger.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: He owned the Skull of Gul'dan, and used it to corrupt Felwood. Illidan stole the Skull and absorbed its power, making him powerful enough to kill Tichondrius.
- Mr. Exposition: Spends a good chunk of the Undead campaign in Warcraft III explaining things to Arthas.
- Nigh Invulnerable: In Warcraft III Tichondrius is one of the few heroes with Divine armor, which makes all attacks that are not Chaos types deal Scratch Damage. Tichondrius's case is notable as the only other two heroes that have Divine armor and show in the campaign are Cenarius, a demigod, and Archimonde, Tichondrius's superior.
- Properly Paranoid: He wondered if Ner'zhul had ulterior motives for choosing Arthas as his champion. While the other dreadlords dismissed it, he was right to be suspicious given that Arthas aided Illidan in absorbing the Skull of Gul'dan and aid in defeating the Legion.
- Playing with Fire: Uses a Orb of Fire in Warcraft III.
- Shout-Out: One of his attack lines in Warcraft III is "Ash nazg gimbatul".
- Surrounded by Idiots: Begins his boss fight in the Nighthold bemoaning the the Nightborne can't even defend their own palace well enough to stop the raid from penetrating the inner walls.
- Tempting Fate:Tichondrius: Believe me, brother. Neither the Lich King nor his undead lackeys will jeopardize the Legion's return!
- This Cannot Be!: Upon being defeated at the Nighthold, he will express disbelief over losing to your raid.Tichondrius: Impossible! You are... inferior...
- Winged Humanoid: Like all the Dreadlords, he has quite impressive bat-like wings.
The Dreadlord Evil Chancellor of the Forsaken. Varimathras was one of the Nathrezim sent to keep an eye on the Lich King during the Third War, but evidently a low-enough-ranking one that he was made to stay behind and supervise the destruction of Lordaeron and the Eastern Kingdoms rather than join the assault upon Hyjal. Unaware of the events that transpired at that final battle, Varimathras' first inclination that things had changed came when Arthas made a grand entrance back into the capital city of Lordaeron and announced that in his new undead kingdom, the Dreadlords would no longer be necessary. He and his brothers fled the Death Knight's wrath and plotted their revenge, including extending a hand to the bitter Banshee Queen. Together they drove Arthas from Lordaeron, but then things went sour when Sylvanas refused to play along.
Trounced in battle by Sylvanas' forces, Varimathras joined her cause to save his own life. He even assisted her in butchering his two surviving brothers. (It seems he was aware that at least one of them, the dreadlord Balnazzar, would return from the dead, so this is, in retrospect, not much of a betrayal.) As naturally manipulative as any of his kind, he quickly amassed quite a following among the liberated undead and appeared to make himself useful enough that Sylvanas continued to tolerate him. Throughout the early parts of World of Warcraft's storyline Varimathras seems to have served as a corrupting influence upon the Forsaken, twisting them further to evil and sponsoring the genocidal urges of the Royal Apothecary Society. This comes to a head during the Wrathgate storyline, where the entire Society rebels against Sylvanas and the Horde, dropping their deadly corrosive Blight plague upon the assembled forces of the Alliance and Horde. Sylvanas and Thrall, alongside the player and the faithful members of the Forsaken, swear revenge, lead an army into the captured Undercity, and destroy the treacherous dreadlord once and for all.
- Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Claims that he's forbidden to kill other dreadlords, but reluctantly complies with Sylvanas' order to kill Balnazzar but it's later revealed Balnazzar survived.
- Black Magic: His abilities seem to be a mishmash between traditional Dreadlord abilities (Sleep and Vampiric Aura) and those of a Pit lord (Rain of fire and Doom), likely to give the singleplayer campaign a taste of what the Pit Lord's abilities are.
- Body Horror: The Coven of Shivarra mutilated him as punishment for his failures in the Undercity, resulting in easily one of the scariest-looking enemies in the game.
- Cavalry Betrayal: The Apothecary, presumably under him in the Battle of the Wrathgate.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: "I'm always on the winning side." Amusingly, even when he was not openly revealed as a backstabber, Varimathras would casually allow people to fight Sylvanas without helping her out unless he had to.
- Civil Warcraft: An instigator.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: He kills Garithos with a single hit of his "Rain of Fire" spell, despite the fact that gameplay-wise Garithos can cast Avatar, which turns him magic-immune. Not to mention being able to beat both him and Sylvanas in a straight fight. Though Garithos was surrounded by a wide variety of Forsaken troops such as ghouls, and likely would've died anyway.
- Eye Scream: His eyes appear to have been gouged out by his boss fight.
- Evil Chancellor: He's evil and he was Sylvanas' advisor.
- Flaying Alive: Part of his torture involved tearing away his flesh.
- HeelFace Mole: It's pretty obvious to every player that he's not really there to help out..
- Large Ham: Not so much in WarCraft 3, but definitely displays this in his fight in World of WarCraft. Taken Up to Eleven once he's gone insane in Legion.
- Mercy Kill: Considering the years of torment he's faced, and the miserable state he's been reduced to, the Adventurers do him a kindness by putting him down for good. Of course, Varimathras, who blames them for his predicament, doesn't see it that way.
- The Mole: Honestly, this wasn't really a surprise; Sylvanas thinking Varimathras was anything else can be chalked down to his powers of persuasion and her being slightly preoccupied.
- Most Definitely Not a Villain: From the perspective of the player Varimathras' evil is extraordinarily obvious, but from the characters' perspective he's highly manipulative.
- Nominal Hero: Subverted, although initially appears to be this, in the end it is revealed that he was always a traitor.
- Not So Different: Claims this of Sylvanas after learning of her plan to betray Garithos, prompting her to object.
- Our Demons Are Different: He's themed more like a Vampire then a demon.
- Smug Snake: Very, Very smug
- The Starscream: He actully tried to take over, but Horde players put him down after Wrathgate.
- Token Evil Teammate: He was this to the Forsaken until he finally betrayed them. Given he's the token evil, to the token evil group, that's saying something.
- Vagueness Is Coming: When faced by an Alliance party, he makes several cryptic comments about how the Alliance is doomed to be betrayed from within.
A Dreadlord left behind by Archimonde in Lordaeron along with Detheroc and Varimathras. Following Archimonde's defeat, Balnazzar worked with Detheroc and Varimathras to command the Lordaeron Scourge against Arthas. However, Arthas is forced to depart to Northrend; leaving the three Dreadlords to face off in a Lordaeron Undead civil war against Sylvanas, a Dark Ranger who the Lich King recently lost his control over. The civil war ends when Varimathras, as proof of loyalty to Sylvanas, is ordered to slay Balnazzar.
However, it is revealed in World of Warcraft that Varimathras did not finish off Balnazzar. Adventurers would venture into the Scarlet Bastion of the Eastern Plaguelands, and find out that Balnazzar is still alive. For the most part, he was manipulating the Scarlet Crusade to do his bidding by posing as Grand Crusader Dathrohan. During the battle with the adventurers, he would completely shed his disguise, and turns the remaining Scarlet Crusade members into the Risen. Revealed to have been sent back to the Twisting Nether, Balnazzar makes a return in Legion supporting the Burning Legion's new invasion.
- Arc Villain: Of the Paladin Campaign in Legion.
- Color Motif: Purple in Warcraft III, which gives him a dark-looking evil color scheme. He also uses a Orb of Darkness, which uses a black-and-purple color to go along with it.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Poses as Saidan Dathrohan, leader of the Scarlet Crusade, after personally slaying him. He sheds this disguise when at low health in vanilla World of Warcraft, and outright stops using it after Wrath of the Lich King.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He was shocked when Varimathras betrayed them and even mourned for Detheroc's death.
- Karmic Transformation: He did this to the Scarlet Crusade members in Stratholme and Tyr's Hand.
- Killed Off for Real: After getting killed by adventurers twice, Balnazzar is finally put down for good in Legion when he leads the assault on Netherlight Temple in person. With Netherlight located inside the Twisting Nether itself, this means Balnazzar isn't coming back.
- Manipulative Bastard:
- He's a good enough one that in his disguise as Grand Crusader Dathrohan he's able to give convincing reasons for all the villages he's destroyed in the name of ending the Scourge(namely that the villages couldn't possibly protect themselves and that the only reason they survived was someone else secretly protected them so that they could reach critical mass for Scourge plaguing which is a convincing excuse.)
- Of course in reality the unseen protector AKA Balnazzar himself was merely gathering the people into those "havens" so that he could deprive the Scourge of corpses to reanimate. The fact he came up with that plan and came up with a reasonable excuse to convince those with moral objections to such methods of destroying the Scourge shows that Balnazzar is in fact the sanest of the Scarlet Crusade to the point that he's a villainous Reasonable Authority Figure.
- The Necromancer: Can exert his will over some of the Scourge independently of the Lich King.
- Not Quite Dead: Twice. Not only does he survive from Varimathras' killing blow in Frozen Throne, he also survives against the adventures that come across him in vanilla World of Warcraft.
- One-Winged Angel: During his encounter when he shed his disguise.
- Purple Is Powerful: The most powerful Dreadlord in The Frozen Throne, and colored purple.
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil: In the Warcraft III Legacy of the Damned campaign he is the strongest dreadlord and the last to be defeated. Detheroc was stronger than Varimathras who got defeated first,
Another Dreadlord, and extremely manipulative to boot. He posed at the original leader of the Scourge in order to lure Arthas to Northrend; starting the Lordaeron Prince down the dark path that eventually leads to him becoming the Lich King. During his first journey to Northrend, Ner'zhul allows Arthas to kill Mal'Ganis shortly after the Prince acquired Frostmourne.
However, Wrath of the Lich King reveals that the death didn't stick. Here, Mal'Ganis is revealed to have copied Balnazzar by posing as the commander of the Scarlet Onslaught, Barean Westwind. Down the line, adventurers manage to defeat him within Northrend's Icecrown zone, but since the soul of Mal'Ganis was only sent back to the Twisting Nether, he makes another return in Legion.
- Arch-Enemy: Mal'Ganis did everything he could to establish himself as Arthas' to lure him to Northrend. It bit him in the ass hard when he learned too late that Ner'zhul had no problem letting Arthas have his vengeance. After this, the Lich King became this to him.
- Arc Villain: Of the Human Campaign in Warcraft III Reign of Chaos.
- Back from the Dead: Twice. Presumed dead by Arthas in Warcraft III, he returns in Wrath of the Lich King where he is defeated again, then returns in Legion, his whereabouts currently unknown.
- Badass Boast: "I am Mal'Ganis! I AM ETERNAL!"
- Batman Gambit: His whole plan was to make Arthas thirsty for revenge, making him hunt him in Northrend and claim Frostmourne. It is quite possible he let Muradin and his dwarves survive so that they could lead Arthas to the sword.
- The Corrupter: Basically did this to Arthas, and later to the Scarlet Onslaught.
- The Dragon: Mal'ganis is the closest example of this trope towards the Lich King during the human campaign of Reign of Chaos. Then Arthas took over that role.
- Karmic Death: After all the things he got away with orchestrating in Lordaeron, his death at Arthas' hands can be considered payment for Stratholme alone, never mind arranging for the plaguing of Arthas' homeland.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Inverted. Mal'ganis, the first Dreadlord to appear in the Warcraft III campaign, is the only one among those that appear therenote that has no elemental Orb equipped.
- Manipulative Bastard: Stands out even among dreadlords, to the point where he's arguably second only to Kil'jaeden himself.
- The Necromancer: His signature ability in Warcraft 3 allowed him to convert humans who ate poisonous food into undead minions, which he could then teleport away to build up his army.
- Oh, Crap!: Has this reaction when he realized that Ner'zhul had no problem with Arthas getting his vengeance on him for all the crap he pulled in Lordaeron.
- Not Quite Dead: He turns out to be the hidden leader of the Scarlet Onslaught, before vanishing again.
- Unwitting Pawn: During his whole plan of corrupting Arthas and leading him to Frostmourne, Mal'ganis thought the Lich King planned it to aid the Burning Legion. When Ner'zhul allowed Arthas to kill him, he's shocked in the realization the Lich King had other plans in mind.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Victim of this by Ner'zhul. Once Arthas was driven mad and took Frostmourne, Ner'zhul had him kill Mal'ganis.
One of two Dreadlords who stood with Tichondrius during the Third War. After Tichondrius' defeat to Illidan, Anetheron steps in as the next Dreadlord commander of the Undead Scourge. Anetheron supports Archimonde's Burning Legion during the Battle of Mount Hyjal, but ends up falling to the Night Elf, Human and Orc alliance.
However, since his soul was only sent back to the Twisting Nether, a reconstituted Anetheron makes a return in Legion.
- The Bus Came Back: After his small role in the Battle of Mount Hyjal that resulted in his death, Anetheron returns in Legion.
- Color Motif: Orange given that electricity is usually associated with the color.
- Disc-One Final Boss: In both the last mission of Warcraft III and the Caverns of Time instance in World of Warcraft, Anetheron serves as one of the mini-bosses before the player has to take on the Final Boss, Archimonde.
- Flat Character: Wasn't as bad as Mephistroth, but still didn't have much to do in Warcraft III. However, that may change at some point down the line given Anetheron's reappearance in Legion.
- Flunky Boss: In Warcraft III, Anetheron would often cast Rain of Chaos early in the battle, forcing enemies to deal with a group of infernals as well as him.
- Not Quite Dead: Supposedly having been killed off in the last mission of Warcraft III, Anetheron returns in Legion.
- Shock and Awe: His Dreadlord unit in Warcraft III uses a Orb of Lightning, making his melee attacks electric.
- Winged Humanoid: Like all the Dreadlords, he has quite impressive bat-like wings.
- You Are in Command Now: For the Battle of Mount Hyjal, Anetheron steps in after Tichondrius' defeat.
One of two Dreadlords who stood with Tichondrius during the Third War. Unlike Tichondrius and Anetheron, Mephistroth ended up staying out of the Third War, and returned to the Twisting Nether following Archimonde's defeat on Azeroth.
He finally reappears in Legion, and is given a much larger role where he's seen commanding the forces of the Burning Legion against the forces of Azeroth on the Broken Shore of the isles where the Tomb of Sargeras resides. He sets up his base of operations within the Cathedral of Eternal Night, but is eventually defeated by Illidan and the adventurers.
- An Ice Person: His Dreadlord unit in Warcraft III uses a Orb of Frost, which makes his melee attacks cold.
- Ascended Extra: Legion does this for Mephistroth in a big way compared to his brief one-off appearance in Warcraft III.
- The Bus Came Back: After one brief appearance in Warcraft III, Mephistroth finally makes a reappearance down the line with a much larger role in Legion.
- Color Motif: Blue, which makes sense given that frost is usually associated with the color.
- Flat Character: Had it worse than Anetheron in Warcraft III where Mephistroth has one brief scene, and is then completely forgotten about. He finally gets more to do in Legion.
- Greater-Scope Villain: To the Warlock Order Hall. He is the one who commanded the Pit Lord who controlled the Dreadscar Rift and who held the Skull of the Manari Demonology Warlocks seek.
- Killed Off for Real: Meets his defeat to Illidan in Legion.
- One-Shot Character: Mephistroth has only one brief cut-scene appearance in Warcraft III where he speaks just one line.
- Winged Humanoid: Like all the Dreadlords, he has quite impressive bat-like wings.
A Dreadlord left behind by Archimonde in Lordaeron along with Balnazzar and Varimathras. Following Archimonde's defeat, Detheroc worked with Balnazzar and Varimathras to command the Lordaeron Scourge against Arthas, and like the two other Dreadlords, then faced off in an Undead civil war against Sylvanas for control over Lordaeron. During the civil war, Detheroc sets up a base of operations alongside the remnants of Garithos' human forces that he managed to mind-control. However, Detheroc is eventually defeated and killed by a Sylvanas army backed by the undead forces of Varimathras, who chose to defect to her side.
Similar to his other Dreadlord colleagues, Detheroc soul returned to the Twisting Nether following his defeat in Lordaeron, and makes a return in Legion.
- Arc Villain: He's the one behind everything in the Rogue campaign in Legion.
- The Bus Came Back: After remaining dead since his defeat to Sylvanas and Varimathras in Frozen Throne, Detheroc returns in Legion, being the main villain in the Rogue campaign.
- Color Motif: Green, which is a color often associated with poison.
- Disc-One Final Boss: He's the first Dreadlord that the combined Sylvanas and Varimathras force faces off against before moving on to the Final Battle against Balnazzar.
- Mind Manipulation: Has the ability to mind-control people, such as humans. His Frozen Throne mission shows him in complete control of a human force led by Grand Marshal Garithos.
- Poisonous Person: His Dreadlord unit in Warcraft III uses a Orb of Venom, which makes his melee attacks poison its targets.
- This Is Unforgivable!: He's left stunned in disbelief that Varimathras chose to side with Sylvanas to fight against his Dreadlord brothers.
- Winged Humanoid: Like all the Dreadlords, he has quite impressive bat-like wings.
The Nightmare Lord
Once the high councilor of Queen Azshara, Xavius was the night elf who first worked to bring the Legion into Azeroth. After he was killed by Malfurion Stormrage, Sargeras returned him to life as the first of the satyrs. To avoid him returning again, Malfurion bound him within a tree that was eventually sunken below the seas in the Sundering. In the depths of the ocean, Xavius was approached by the Old Gods, and given power over the Emerald Dream to twist it into the insidious Nightmare.
- And I Must Scream: He spent some time as a disembodied spirit being tortured by Sargeras and even more time trapped within a tree at the bottom of the ocean. He actually quotes the trope after coming back from the former instance.
- Arch-Enemy: Of Malfurion. Whatever Xavius' form, whatever sinister force is backing him, he will be gunning for Malfurion and making it his personal goal to force the Archdruid to suffer in some form or another.
- Arc Villain: He's the main enemy of the Val'Sharah region and the Emerald Nightmare raid.
- Back from the Dead: Courtesy of Sargeras, leading to...
- Came Back Wrong: As a monstrous satyr rather than a night elf. Though Xavius prefers it this way, really.
- The Corrupter: First turning other night elves into satyrs, then corrupting the Emerald Dream and those associated with it into the Nightmare. Including the likes of Cenarius and Ysera.
- Death Is Cheap: He's suffered three distinct defeats, each of which Malfurion believed he would never return from. Not only has Xavius continued to survive, he's if anything gotten stronger between each appearance.
- Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: He could be considered a Wild Card except he is firmly on the side of evil: he just happens to jump from one evil faction to another. First, he works for Azshara and by proxy the Burning Legion, becoming a demonic being. Then he defects to the Old Gods after getting tossed into the ocean (which is their domain) by Malfurion, and becomes master of the Nightmare. Come Legion, he once again is aligned with the demons and uses the Nightmare in their favor, even having satyrs and felhounds as minions. However, once you are in the Emerald Nightmare raid it becomes clear that he retains his Old Gods loyalties as well. That the Old Gods and the Burning Legion's end goals are mutually incompatible makes Xavius' actions even more interesting.
- The Dragon: First to Azshara, now to N'Zoth.
- Dream Weaver: He uses the power of the Nightmare to, well, give people nightmares.
- Dying as Yourself: After killing him in Emerald Nightmare raid. You are teleported to the Emerald Dream along with his body which has transformed back into his original night elf form, indicating that he's finally dead.
- Enemy Mine: As of Legion he's back to working for the Burning Legion, even though it is a sworn enemy of his current masters. It seems that his plan was to use the demons against the heroes of Azeroth so that its weakened armies could not stand against the Old Gods later on.
- Evil Makes You Ugly: He was once a night elf, after all.
- Fauns and Satyrs: The first satyr ever created, though he himself was twisted into this form by Sargeras, and then he started turning other night elves into them.
- Fighting a Shadow: The boss battle against him in Darkheart Thicket is a case of this. The boss is even called the Shade of Xavius.
- Justified, as it is said he cannot use his full power outside the Emerald Nightmare.
- I Shall Taunt You: He does this frequently appearing in a shadow form during the Val'sharah quest chain to ridicule your efforts or mockingly inform you of what lies ahead. He usually concludes each encounter with an Evil Laugh while he disappears.
- Jerkass: Even beyond being the reason behind the corruption of the Emerald Dream and an agent of both the Old Gods and Burning Legion, Xavius is a petty, rude ass who takes time out purely to mock you.
- Master of Illusion: How he ensnares Cenarius, tricking him into believing that Malfurion and you succumbed to the Nightmare.
- Monstrosity Equals Weakness: Averted. While outside the Emerald Nightmare, he simply looks like a red and black satyr with more Spikes of Villainy, his true form is a gigantic monstrous thing that only vaguely resembles a satyr but is far more powerful.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: His satyr form now looks like this.
- Red Baron: Nightmare Lord.
- Sadistic Choice: Xavius forces Tyrande to make one by choosing between trying to rescue Malfurion and protecting a temple of Elune from a corrupted Ysera; her husband or her goddess. Tyrande chooses to protect the temple then sends the player character to Darkheart Thicket to rescue Malfurion.
- Transflormation: Was turned into a tree by Malfurion during their second fight. This backfired as it connected him to the Emerald Nightmare and the Old Gods.
- You Are Too Late: A recurring part of trying to stop him in Val'Sharah. Before the player even arrives he's already inflicted Nightmare corruption on Cenarius. When the player tries to gather the archdruids to free Cenarius, they find Xavius has already corrupted one of them too. As a plan B they are sent to retrieve the Tears of Elune, only Xavius has already stolen them.