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For his Warcraft III statistics, see Anub'arak (Warcraft III). For his tactics in Azjol-Nerub, see Anub'arak (tactics). For his tactics in Trial of the Crusader, see Anub'arak (Trial of the Crusader tactics).
Image of Anub'arak
Title The Traitor King
Gender Male
Race Crypt lord (Undead)
Affiliation(s) Scourge
Former affiliation(s) Kingdom of Azjol-Nerub
Occupation Leader of the Scourge nerubians, majordomo to the Lich King[1]
Former occupation(s) King of Azjol-Nerub
Location Various
Status Deceased (lore)[2]
Killable Wrath-Logo-Small.png

“I was king of this empire once, long ago. In life I stood as champion. In death I returned as conqueror. Now I protect the kingdom once more. Ironic, yes?”

— Anub'arak[3]

Anub'arak was the last king of the nerubian empire of Azjol-Nerub. He was among the nerubians slaughtered in the War of the Spider and later raised by Ner'zhul the Lich King as an undead crypt lord to do his bidding. When the Lich King began losing his powers, Anub'arak assisted Arthas Menethil in reaching Icecrown before Illidan Stormrage's forces. For years, the undead nerubian continued carrying out his master's will in the ruins of his former kingdom until he was slain by adventurers. He was later raised once more and relocated to the caverns below Icecrown to plague the Argent Tournament, but the so-called traitor king met his final end at the hands of adventurers partaking in the tournament.[2]


Death and undeath

WoW-novel-logo-16x62.png This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.

[[File:|thumb|Anub'arak, The Traitor King, artwork by Wei Wang.]] Anub'arak was the king of the nerubians when the Lich King arrived in Northrend. During that time, the spiderlord Anub'Rekhan was his most loyal commander.[4]

Eventually, the War of the Spider pitted the nerubians against the Lich King's forces. Anub'arak ruthlessly snuffed out the Lich King's attempts to spread the plague of undeath in Azjol-Nerub, and so the Lich King instead turned to waging a war of attrition against the nerubians. Anub'arak himself eventually fell, and the Lich King was delighted to raise him as a powerful undead crypt lord. The former ruler was now a slave, and though he chafed at his leash, he could not free himself from it.[5] He was forced to lead the Scourge against his own people, slaughtering many of his former subjects and conquering their ziggurats[6] (such as Naxxramas)[7] to repurpose them for the Lich King's designs. For this, the living nerubians began to refer to him as the "Traitor King" and lay the destruction of their kingdom at his feet.[6]

When Kel'Thuzad arrived to Northrend prior to the Third War, Anub'arak greeted him and escorted him through Azjol-Nerub and Naxxramas, telling him of the War of the Spider and of the Lich King's plans to scour humanity from Azeroth.[7]

Race to Icecrown

WC3RoC-logo.png This section concerns content related to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos or its expansion The Frozen Throne.

Following the death of Archimonde, Anub'arak was sent to meet Arthas Menethil when he arrived in Northrend. Anub'arak saved Arthas from an attack by blood elves, before he introduced himself and told Arthas of Ner'zhul's plans. Anub'arak helped Arthas to establish a base, and then masterminded the attack on the blue dragon Sapphiron. Anub'arak told Arthas that it would take far too long to fight their way through Kael'thas and Vashj's expansive forces, and formulated a plan to go through the underground ruins of Azjol-Nerub to reach Icecrown, but warned that it would be a perilous journey.[8]

Anub'arak led Arthas into the ruined Nerubian Empire, negating many perilous traps along the way, but all the while, he fought many of his former subjects, the living nerubians, who called him the traitor king for serving the Lich King, who had destroyed Azjol-Nerub.[8]

When they entered the kingdom, they encountered survivors of Muradin's expedition. Their new leader, Baelgun, reported that an ancient evil had been released beneath the kingdom, and that he would not allow anyone to open the Inner Kingdom's doors. Anub'arak and Arthas defeated the troublesome dwarves and broke into the Inner Kingdom.[9] Soon, they came upon the evil the dwarves had spoken of - the faceless ones - strange, malformed creatures who had been imprisoned beneath the earth in ages long forgotten. They even faced off with a forgotten one, a creature of great power and resilience.[10]

Upon entering the Upper Kingdom, an earthquake separated Anub'arak from Arthas, and Anub'arak and his minions fervently dug through the rubble to get to Arthas before he was slain by one of the many booby traps laden throughout the halls of Azjol-Nerub's Upper Kingdom.[11] Anub'arak was impressed by Arthas's resilience when he found him, and quickly ushered him out of Azjol-Nerub and to the surface, where they engaged with Illidan Stormrage and his servants in a battle for the Frozen Throne.[12]

During the battle, Anub'arak defended Arthas as he magically activated the four obelisks surrounding Icecrown's pinnacle. Once all four were active, Anub'arak stood by as Arthas climbed the stairs to his destiny.[12]

Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath-Logo-Small.png This section concerns content related to Wrath of the Lich King.

Main article: Anub'arak (tactics)
Anub'arak in the Brood Pit of Azjol-Nerub.

Anub'arak returned to his former home of Azjol-Nerub to continue carrying out the Lich King Arthas' commands[2] from his ruined palace within the Brood Pit.[13] During the war against the Lich King, the Azjol-anak, a faction of living nerubians, called for his death. Adventurers defeated the Traitor King (whose last words were of relief to finally be free from the Lich King) and brought his husk back to the Azjol-anak.[14] The Kirin Tor also acquired Anub'arak's crown and put it aside for the nerubians whenever they decided to coronate a new king.[1]

Trial of the Crusader

Main article: Anub'arak (Coliseum tactics)

Following his defeat in Azjol-Nerub, Anub'arak was once again resurrected by the Lich King and enhanced with frost-related powers. He was sent to plague the Argent Tournament, and resided within the the Icy Depths beneath the Crusaders' Coliseum, where he served as the final encounter during the Trials of the Crusader and Grand Crusader. The heroes of Azeroth faced him once more, and this time, he was definitively eliminated.[2]


Notable appearances
Location Level range Health range
Anub'arak (tactics) 74 - 82
Anub'arak (Trial of the Crusader tactics) ??
Purge of Dalaran 90 39,394


Road to Damnation

Anub'arak: The nerubian race, yes. Then the master came. As his influence spread, we made war upon him, foolishly believing we stood a chance. Many of us were slain and raised into undeath. In life I was a king. Today I am a crypt lord.
Kel'Thuzad: In return for immortality, you agreed to serve him. Remarkable.
Anub'arak: 'Agreed' implies choice.

Arthas: Rise of the Lich King

  • Behold the entrance to a once-powerful and ancient place. I was lord here, and my word was obeyed without question. I was mighty and powerful, and I bowed to no one. But things change. I serve the Lich King now, and my place is defending him.

Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne

Main article: Quotes of Warcraft III/Undead Scourge#Anub'arak
King Arthas: Who? Me?
Anub'arak: He is referring to me, death knight.
  • Anub'arak: They are the horrors the dwarves spoke of. I thought they were only legends.
King Arthas: What?
Anub'arak: They are the Faceless Ones...
  • It cannot be... A forgotten one. Look to your defenses, death knight! Fight as you've never fought before!
  • I see now why the Lich King chose you as his champion, death knight. Few men could have survived this labyrinth alone.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

Main article: Anub'arak_(tactics)#Quotes
Main article: Anub'arak (Trial of the Crusader tactics)#Quotes

Heroes of the Storm trailer

"I once ruled Azjol-Nerub. Then came a war I could not win. I was forced into servitude. But here, in this strange place, no one commands my POWER! I will conquer the Nexussss! Those who oppose me shall embrace the web of death. I am Anub'arak. I ruled once before. I shall rule again!"

Servitude to the Lich King

Anub'arak in the Icy Depths beneath the Crusaders' Coliseum.

In Road to Damnation, when Kel'Thuzad remarked that Anub'arak had agreed to give himself to the Scourge in exchange for immortality, he answered: "'Agreed' implies choice." After that, Kel'Thuzad realized that the Lich King could compel obedience from the undead.[7] In Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, Arthas detected the vaguest stirring of resentment in Anub'arak's voice. He speculated that Anub'arak served only because he had to, and would turn on the Lich King if he was able to do so.[15]

In Azjol-Nerub, his quote upon death is, "Ahhh... RAAAAAGH! Never thought... I would be free of him...", confirming that Anub'arak had been an unwilling slave. The Lich King raised Anub'arak again, following his defeat at Azjol-Nerub, to kill the champions of the Crusaders' Coliseum. Anub'arak appeared grateful to serve his master there, though that may have been forced obedience. According to Muradin Bronzebeard, the reason the Lich King resurrected him may possibly be because he had a fondness for the Traitor King who'd originally escorted him to Icecrown.[13]

The living nerubians do not view those who fell defending Azjol-Nerub from the Scourge as traitors,[16] but they frequently refer to Anub'arak as the "traitor king".[17] Anub'arak may have betrayed his people in some way (as crypt lords in general did)[18] only to find himself regretting that decision later. Since the nerubians only began using the "traitor king" title after Anub'arak returned to lead the undead against them,[6] it is also possible that Anub'arak was held to a different standard and blamed for his deeds in undeath while other fallen nerubians (like Krik'thir) were not.

The Ultimate Visual Guide says Anub'arak was killed in the War of the Spider, raised into a crypt lord, and turned against his people in death. Although he was a servant of the Lich King, he was not a willing one.

In his Heroes of the Storm trailer, Anub'arak expresses his resentment over being forced into servitude and his desire to be a ruler once again.[6]

Notes and trivia

  • During the Purge of Dalaran, Archmage Lan'dalock summoned images of various Wrath of the Lich King bosses, Anub'arak among them, to fight for him against the Horde.
  • Anub'arak was originally planned to play a bigger role in Wrath of the Lich King as a "primary character" who would interact with players outside of instances,[19][20] likely as part of the cut Azjol-Nerub zone.
  • In The Frozen Throne and Heroes of the Storm, Anub'arak is purple with green wings. In Wrath of the Lich King, he is green with purple wings.
    • An unfinished crypt lord model using Anub'arak's original color scheme exists in the World of Warcraft game files; it was likely scrapped when the Azjol-Nerub zone was cut.
  • Anub'arak appears as a legendary minion for the rogue class in The Grand Tournament expansion for Hearthstone. His flavor text reads: "Was actually a pretty nice guy before, you know, the whole Lich King thing."
  • Anub'arak is a playable hero in Heroes of the Storm.
  • In Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, Anub'arak was voiced by Steve Blum. In World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, he was voiced by Frank Welker. In Heroes of the Storm, he is voiced by Darin De Paul.


Heroes of the Storm
Fan art


See also


  1. ^ a b N [80H] Proof of Demise: Anub'arak
  2. ^ a b c d Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 169
  3. ^ Anub'arak (tactics)#Quotes
  4. ^ Eligor Dawnbringer#Dragonblight
  5. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 29
  6. ^ a b c d Anub'arak Hero Week
  7. ^ a b c Road to Damnation
  8. ^ a b The Return to Northrend
  9. ^ Into the Shadow Web Caverns
  10. ^ The Forgotten Ones (WC3 Undead)
  11. ^ Ascent to the Upper Kingdom
  12. ^ a b A Symphony of Frost and Flame
  13. ^ a b Exploring Azeroth: Northrend, pg. 75
  14. ^ N [15-30D] Death to the Traitor King
  15. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pages 288-289
  16. ^ N [15-30D] The Gatewatcher's Talisman "Krik'thir, guardian of the gates to Azjol-Nerub, was not a traitor. He fell in the War of the Spider defending our home from the Scourge." - Reclaimer A'zak
  17. ^ N [15-30D] Death to the Traitor King "Anub'arak, the traitor king, makes his home in the once proud Kingdom of Azjol-Nerub." - Reclaimer A'zak
  18. ^ Warcraft III - Undead -> Units > Crypt Lord
  19. ^ WoW BlueTracker: 08/08 Information on Northrend. Archived from the original on 2007-11-03.​ “Anub'Arak will also be a primary character for player interaction.”
  20. ^ Bornakk 2009-06-30. Re: Anub'Arak and Other Cryptlords. Archived from the original on 2009-12-01.​ “We are focused on developing the Death Knight right now and have no information on further hero classes, we’d definitely like to involve Anub’Arak as a primary character outside of raiding. :)”
Preceded by:
Ruler of Azjol-Nerub
Succeeded by:
Seer Ixit