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For the mage specialization, see Mage#Arcane. For the magic school, see Magic schools#Arcane. For users of arcane magic, see Arcanist.

“I believe that you will find that my gift to you is not just a profound duty—which it is—but also a delight—which it is! Magic must be regulated, managed, and controlled. But it must also be appreciated and valued and not hoarded. Such is the contradiction you must deal with. May you be dutiful...and joyous both.”

Norgannon's blessing of the Aspect of Magic[1]
The Guardian of Tirisfal Medivh, wielding the powers of arcane magic in Karazhan.

Arcane magic (also called Order magic,[2] arcane energy,[3] or arcana)[4] is a cold and intellectual[5] magic that warps time, space, and controls the flow of mana,[6] which is just a measure of a fundamental power—if mana were water, then arcane would be steam pressure.[7] Though extremely volatile, arcane is so similar to an element it might as well be one, for all magical intents and purposes.[8] As the manifestation of Order in the Great Dark Beyond, arcane is the language of order and the opposite end of the spectrum from fel,[9] which represents Disorder.[10]

Origins and characteristics

The confrontation between Archmage Khadgar and Gul'dan, a battle of arcane and fel magics.

The cosmic force of Order is most commonly perceived in reality as arcane magic. Arcane energy is innately volatile, and wielding it requires intense precision and concentration. Disorder, on the other hand, manifests as highly destructive fel magic, a destructive and extremely addictive energy fueled by drawing life from living beings and consuming their souls.[11] Arcane energy counters and is countered by fel energy, its polar opposite.[12] Arcane has been described as the "base fabric" of the world,[13] and like all other types of magic, can be animated, the prime example of this being the arcane elementals. It can be pulled from ley lines,[14] channels of immense magical power that course through Azeroth itself.[15] The ley lines are like blood vessels of the planet, carrying arcane magic instead of scarlet fluid,[16] while volatile arcane energies have been described as the lifeblood of the nascent titan Azeroth.[11]

In eons past, the titans of the Pantheon of Order, among the most powerful beings in the universe, used the primal "language of the arcane" to weave entire worlds into existence. Hailing from the far reaches of the cosmos, they shaped and brought life and order to countless planets across the Great Dark Beyond.[17]

Pure arcane appears white and/or violet.[18] However, when used to bend other types of magic, it takes on the characteristics and appearance of those magics. Examples of this can be seen with element-based abilities used by mages, such as red/orange for fire magic, blue for ice magic, or the bronze glow of chronomancy.[19]

The successful restoration of the Sunwell indicates that the Light is compatible with arcane magic.[20] The quel'dorei managed to link their Runestones to Thas'alah, tying the power of Life to their arcane spells.[21] However, life and arcane magics may simply refuse to "cooperate" if there is any imbalance between them, which can prevent the intended effect or be dangerous for the spellcasters.[22][23]

According to Medivh, when a mage creates fire with arcane magic, all they do is concentrate the inherent nature of the fire contained in the surrounding area into one location in order to call it into being.[24] He also stated that stress and anxiety make it more difficult for a mage to read a person's mind.[25] When they run out of mana, mages can no longer cast spells.[26] As stated by Antonidas, arcane magic draws its energy from the physical forces of the mage, and the only way to regenerate the body is by consuming food,[27] especially protein.[28] They can also use mana potions prepared by alchemists,[29][30] or consume the essences of arcane creatures to gain mana.[31]

Uses and powers

In general, arcane magic can be used to do nearly everything and is seemingly limited mostly by imagination, as it can be used to manipulate both space and time, and bend reality. It can be used to create objects such as food or drinks or to conjure mana gems from nothing, and briefly enhance personal intelligence.[32] It can be used to turn oneself and their allies invisible or inaudible, to create multiple images of oneself or other creatures to assist and distract enemies in combat. It can polymorph objects and people into something else entirely, as well as to communicate from afar via projections,[33] and to enable understanding of other racial languages.[34]

Wielders of arcane magic are usually called mages, who usually use it to create portals or teleport people and objects. The magi Umbranse was notably able to speak to those in the realm of Death,[35] using Arcane Tesseracts to open rifts into other worlds.[36] Arcane magic can be used with other types of magic to reinforce them, such as when Archmage Khadgar summoned an orb of fire and ice energy, along with an arcane orb, and combined them together.[37] Another example is Khadgar infusing ice with arcane, rendering it extremely resilient, so much that it nullified the fel assault of Gul'dan entirely.[38] Some Kirin Tor magi have used earth elementals in the past, implying the arcane can, under certain circumstances, bind other elements as well.[39] The Fire and Frost schools seem to be related to the arcane, with several of their spells described as "simple manifestations of arcana" by Archmage Nakada and can be even be combined as the Frostfire school. The draenei mage Valaatu has allegedly taught the arcane, frost, and fire magics for over a century, feeling them just as strongly on Azeroth as she did other worlds.[40]

Arcane spells can be used for protection. Jaina Proudmoore and Thalyssra have been able to generate larger arcane barriers shielding entire groups of people,[41][42][43] and the Kirin Tor is able to maintain city-wide shields capable of repelling the blue dragonflight from Dalaran.[44] The Highborne night elves of Suramar and Eldre'Thalas were able to use arcane energy to shield their cities from the devastating effects of the Great Sundering. Arcanist Doan was able to temporarily render himself completely immune to all spells and attacks, magical and otherwise, by encasing himself in an arcane bubble. It is also possible for high-level magi to temporarily negate others' arcane abilities, sometimes with inhibitor crystals,[43][45] even imprisoning them for an extended period of time,[46] and it is not particularly difficult to block unwanted portals, as most civilized cities just use wards to prevent them.[47][48]

In-game, in addition to the usual mage abilities, the arcane has been used to protect, knock back,[49][50] charm,[51] stun,[52] disorient,[53] bind,[54] suffocate,[55] reflect spells,[56][57][58] conjure spellswords,[59] control humanoids,[60] restore health by reversing time,[61][62] siphon health,[63] drain energy,[64] increase and decrease size,[65] increase movement speed,[66] summon enchanted tomes serving as effective mailboxes,[67] and generate a barrier capable of automatically preventing death and restoring health.[68]

It can be used to animate constructs and objects such as arcane golems or brooms, power machinery, manipulate the fabric of time (usually by rewinding, reversing, slowing or hastening its flow), access alternate timelines,[69][70][71] scry other places and peoples,[72] view the past,[73] sense the future by discerning fortunes,[74] open locked doors,[75] summon objects or individuals from other locations,[76] share visions of others' memories,[77] project visions of past events complete with sound,[78] preserve and record messages inside enchanted crystals,[79] form empathic bonds,[80] strip others of their spells and use them as your own, conjure illusions by disguising oneself entirely, remove negative magical effects, erode others' magical resistances, create runes of power to amplify the spells, knock nearby enemies into the air, or briefly fade into other realms to avoid all attacks.[81]

The human One Hundred unleashing a gigantic fire storm on the Amani Empire during the Troll Wars.

The individual members of the Kirin Tor, both past and present, are especially adept at manipulating arcane energies for various potent effects. Kael'thas Sunstrider was able to suspend and lapse gravity itself in his immediate surrounding area, he also created and enchanted seven legendary weapons able to fight remotely by themselves.[82] Antonidas enveloped all of Dalaran in auras powerful enough to destroy any undead of the Scourge which passed through its boundaries, and erected barriers blocking all teleportation into the city.[83] Khadgar once channeled a spell capable of briefly stopping time in his vicinity.[84] Arugal was able to awaken and pull the banished worgen from their long seclusion in the Emerald Dream to fight for Gilneas, and provided his favored servants with a semblance of sanity and human intelligence.[85] The Great Akazamzarak simultaneously opened and maintained eight portals to locations scattered across three continents,[86] and contained a pocket dimension capable of housing animals within his top hat.[87] The Kirin Tor magi in Ambermill were able to shunt their town into a nearly impenetrable pocket dimension in order to hide themselves from the Forsaken. The Council of Six have been able to teleport the city of Dalaran across vast distances in the blink of an eye. Jaina Proudmoore was able to raise her father's battleship from the depths of the ocean, and later flew it into the skies above Lordaeron Keep to destroy part of the stronghold's defenses using cannons charged with raw arcane energy.[88]

Queen Azshara's mastery of the arcane far surpasses and predates even the greatest of the human magi.[89][90] In "a frightening display of arcane power", she notably shatterred the Tidestone of Golganneth, a Pillar of Creation able to hold Neptulon at bay,[91] and trapped the Court of Farondis in an eternal ghostly state in Azsuna, unable to pass on from the world of the living even after ten millennia spent trying to break her spell.[92] The Highborne of Shandaral accidentally caused an enormous explosion which forever transformed part of their continent Northrend into Crystalsong Forest. The high elves of Quel'Thalas bathed their land, the Eversong Forest, in eternal springtime after creating the Sunwell, while their Runestone and mooncrystal-empowered barrier Ban'dinoriel not only masked their magical activities but made their realm nearly impenetrable for millennia. Empowered by the Nightwell, Grand Magistrix Elisande was able to place an entire invasion force comprised of three elven armies in a long-term temporal stasis or "time lock",[93] and could scry countless possible futures to predict likely outcomes; in combat, she was able to stop the flow of time for all but herself and send her enemies back in time, repeatedly saving herself from being killed, although this required a considerable amount of even her energy.[94] Illidan Stormrage nearly destroyed the Frozen Throne and its Lich King by tapping into the nexus of potent ley lines near Dalaran, and unleashing a massive "tempest of arcane energy" towards Northrend, causing fissures to erupt around the world.[95]

Older and more experienced spellcasters are capable of even more extraordinary and formidable feats using the arcane. The Aspect of Magic Malygos was able to channel raw energy allegedly sufficient to destroy Azeroth ten times over through the Eye of Eternity. The Aspect of Time Nozdormu made the entire kaldorei race immortal for 10,000 years through his blessing of temporal magic upon Nordrassil. Former Guardians of Tirisfal such as Alodi and Aegwynn were able to permanently bind and tether spirits to the living world. Aegwynn was also able to extend her natural life span by nearly a thousand years,[11] and created Karazhan itself by harnessing the full potential of Aluneth's energies near a confluence of ley lines, causing the great tower to rise from the earth.[96]

Effects on beings

Mages are often aged from the stress of the magical energies they wield, causing their hair to prematurely turn gray.[97]

Through Well of Eternity, the night elves became virtually immortal by feeding on its potent source of arcane energy.[98] Over their lengthy isolation, the exposure to the Nightwell gradually transformed the night elves of Suramar from their original appearance to their present darker, more night-based, form as the nightborne.[99]

The high elf race was fundamentally changed from being constantly suffused in magic, and became addicted to the Sunwell's energies. With their source of magic gone, they all suffered acute pangs of withdrawal. Only the very old, the very young, and elves already in poor health died from it, however, the withdrawal also results in permanent mental or physical damage. Certain magical artifacts can ameliorate and even suppress the symptoms.[100][101] The wretched are those who failed to control their innate addiction to magic. Desperate and demented, they siphoned arcane magic in amounts exorbitant, causing them to physically transform them into emaciated, reckless, black-hearted fiends who would gladly kill for a few mana crystals.[102]

As the demon hunters embrace fel magic, believing it necessary to challenge the Burning Legion, they mark their bodies with arcane runes in order to keep their fel forces in check.[12] On the other hand, Jace Darkweaver, a former night elf mage, lost most of his former abilities (aside from occasionally glimpsing into faraway places) after becoming a demon hunter.[103]

When Draenor was torn apart from the magical stress of Ner'zhul's multiple portals, the arcane energies released altered the black dragon eggs left there by Deathwing. This resulted in the nether drakes: ethereal dragons whose bodies are composed of energies from the Twisting Nether.

The arcane energies released by the mana bomb dropped on Theramore turned its people purple for a fraction of a heartbeat, before they exploded in a cloud of lavender ash. Those further from the center of the blast were frozen like statues but crumbled into shining violet dust when touched. Saved by a portal of Rhonin, Jaina barely surviving the blast and found herself radiating with arcane energy, which turned nearly all of her once golden hair to moonlight white.[8]

When Dimensius the All-Devouring opened countless gateways into the void and the Twisting Nether around K'aresh, bathing it in arcane and dark energies, the unimpeded flood of arcane energy tore away the then-mortal race's corporeal shells and infused their souls with enough energy so that they could subsist without a body. Members of this race, now called ethereals, took to binding themselves with enchanted strips of cloth to provide their souls with enough structure to survive.[104]

Laws of arcane magic

A mage learning the secrets of arcane magic.

There is a set of rules that governs the destiny of every person who chooses to continue down the path of arcane magic:

Law of sympathy

The sympathy between a subject and the object used by her becomes stronger with a more constant and thoughtful use. As auras vary with individuals, the vibration makes it possible to connect to the individual by affecting the item, and vice versa.[106] Even before Warp-Scryer Kryv deciphered the Burning Legion Missive, he had been able to sense the hatred and urgency woven into the scroll.[107] Among its practical uses, sympathy may allow a lock of hair to be used in a love charm, or a coin to be tracked back to its original owner. Similarly, an expert can read handwritten letters or books without having to actually read them.[106]

Schools of arcane magic

The mages of the Kirin Tor have divided the eldritch arts into eight[note 1] different categories. All schools of magic can be combined to create formidable spells that utilize multiple sources of power. Mages are cautioned about the dangers of combining multiple types of magic.[108] There are also multiple spells and branches of arcane research forbidden to members of the Kirin Tor.[109]

While the Kirin Tor considered necromancy to be a school of arcane and it has been described as an arcane art,[110][111][112] it is in truth a separate branch of Death magic.


Abjuration is the study of protective magic. The most generalized abjuration spell is the mana shield, a spell that transmutes raw mana into a barrier that protects the caster from attacks. Elemental armor spells require far less raw energy than a mana shield and are more easily maintained over time, but lack the raw potency of the mana shield. Ward spells are quick, potent incantations to protect the caster against a form of magical damage, often caused when magic slips out of a mage's control.[113]


Conjuration is the study of magically creating creatures and objects. There is nothing more enjoyable for a mage than creating a fresh slice of bread or a glass of water.[114] Mages can combine water and air vapors into a water elemental for a short time before they deconstruct into their base liquid forms.[115] The elemental attacks that mages use are a form of conjuration.[116]


Divination is the school of magic dedicated to gathering information. Powerful divinations can allow the mage to see targets from a great distance, or even view what may normally be invisible. One of the most common uses of divination magic is scrying, which is the art of seeing something that may be far away—perhaps even on another plane of existence.[117] Divination spells can be used to counteract Illusion spells.[118]


See also: Enchanting

Enchantment is the process of imbuing an object—or person—with magical power. Some enchantments are temporary, while others can offer permanent benefits. Disenchanting is the process of dispelling or removing magic. The dispel magic spell is among the most important in a mage's arsenal, as it can potentially reverse the catastrophic effects of a misfired spell. It is also possible to permanently [Disenchant] a magical item. This process produces a unique form of crystallized mana that can be used in the process of imbuing another item with magical abilities.[119] Conjured water elementals could possibly be considered to be water animated by enchantment.[120][121]


Illusion is the art of deceiving reality itself. The mists of illusion can make a mage invisible or inaudible to the world or twist the image of a location into something entirely different. Illusion can be used for disguise or manipulation, but spells to counteract illusions exist in the divination school. Illusions can be used to trick your enemies into fighting each other and be used to display several images of a mage's body that are nearly indistinguishable from the caster's real form.[118]


The ninth[note 1] and final school of magic is transmutation. It is among the most popular and useful of all of the schools, allowing a mage to manipulate time and space. Perhaps the most iconic Transmutation spell is [Polymorph], which allows a mage to temporarily turn something—or someone—into something else.[122] It is possible, but unadvised, to increase the intelligence or power of a creature through polymorph, polymorph into exotic creatures, and polymorph inanimate objects.[123]

The second most famous use is teleportation. The most basic teleportation spell is [Blink]. Attempts to cast a teleportation "on the fly" often result in one very dead mage inside a wall, chair, or another mage.[122] A properly used portal is just as safe as the average zeppelin trip, but frequent use of teleportation wears down the infrastructure of the ley lines.[124]

Spells that manipulate time also fall into this category, such as [Slow Fall], [Slow], and spells that increase movement speed.[122] This particular arcane art is known as chronomancy.


This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials. It should not be taken as representing official lore.

Evocation may be one of the schools of arcane magic. The in-game book on Abjuration mentions Evocation alongside Abjuration, noting that Arcanist Doan had perfected a spell that combines Evocation with Abjuration to shield himself for a short time while preparing a powerful area-of-effect spell.

The non-canon World of Warcraft RPG includes Evocation as one of its eight schools. However, its inclusion may be a result of the RPG being based off of Dungeons & Dragons, in which Evocation is one of the nine schools of magic.

Arcane-related items

Stub.png Please add any available information to this section.
In the ancient past, Neltharion used a titan artifact called the Oathbinder to infuse his dracthyr soldiers with Order magic, binding them to his will. When the artifact was shattered, their unity was dispelled.[125]

Mages have the ability to store mana into gems for future use without alchemical aid,[126] while Arcane bombs are weapons designed to fight spellcasters, they drain mana, inflict damage, and prevent spellcasting for a short time.

Surge needles are massive constructs made of stone and arcane energy used to tap into or manipulate ley lines. Malygos used them to redirect the ley lines of Azeroth to the Nexus.[127]

Manaforges are arcane machines created by the Sunfury blood elves in order to harvest the chaotic magics of the Twisting Nether[128] from the Netherstorm.

The Focusing Iris is an orb of immense power, capable of magnifying and focusing arcane energy.[129] Malygos used it to create and direct surge needles.[130] Its energy was used to animate Chromatus, and Jaina Proudmoore once used it to bind together thousands of water elementals into a colossal tidal wave which nearly destroyed Orgrimmar.[8]

Mana bombs are powerful explosive devices developed by the blood elves. They are fueled by pure arcane energy and kill instantly.[131] With the Focusing Iris, Thalen Songweaver manufactured a massive mana bomb able to destroy an entire city's population and permanently scar the surrounding region,[132] as well as projecting a dampening field disrupting and preventing all magical means of escape.[8]

During the War of the Thorns, the Horde used demolishers and arcane-enhanced payloads to fire on the Sentinels fleet, and later to shoot from Darkshore on Teldrassil, burning it down.[133][134]

In Outland, there are eco-domes and manaforges made from the arcane in the Netherstorm.

Arcane wells

Well of Eternity

The Well of Eternity was made from the very lifeblood of the nascent Azeroth. When Aman'Thul ripped the Old God Y'Shaarj out from Azeroth, it created a gaping hole in the planet's crust itself from which arcane energy was hemorrhaging. After the war against the Black Empire, the Keepers healed the wound in the form of a lake of scintillating energies that they named the Well of Eternity. Its potent energies would nurture the bones of the world and empower life to take root in the land's rich soil.[135]

Volatile arcane magic was once concentrated in the Well of Eternity, but its destruction during the War of the Ancients spread arcane power throughout the world.[136] The well collapsed into itself and became the center of the Great Sea as an immense, violent whirlpool, named the Maelstrom. Its waters churn constantly in a dizzying storm of tidal and arcane energy that seems to have no end.[137] Before the Great Sundering, Illidan had filled several vials with enchanted liquid from the original well. He poured some of them into the lake atop Mount Hyjal, transforming the idyllic waters into another fount of arcane power.[138] The dragon Aspect Alexstrasza would then plant the world-tree Nordrassil in the fount to prevent the Burning Legion from using it as an entry to Azeroth.


Following the War of the Ancients, Elisande and her followers harnessed the Eye of Aman'Thul, one of the Pillars of Creation, to create an immense fount of arcane magic. Known as the Nightwell, this source of power would nourish the sorcerers for thousands of years, and protect them from future threats. The Arcway is a complex labyrinthine built thousands of years ago that runs beneath the foundations of Suramar's largest buildings, delivering the Nightwell's energies throughout the city. Before the creation of the Nightwell, it was used to deliver the energy of the ley lines beneath the land of Suramar. Star Augur Etraeus, a skilled astromancer, used the Nightwell to directly draw upon the energies of planets he scryed from other star systems.


Just before the Highborne had been exiled from Mount Hyjal, Dath'Remar Sunstrider had secretly taken one of Illidan Stormrage's remaining vials from the custody of the night elves. Dath'Remar poured the vial into a small lake at the center of a nexus, and a brilliant fount of energy tore through the skies of Azeroth. The Highborne dubbed this glorious cradle of power "the Sunwell", a name chosen in honor of Dath'Remar and his bold quest to reignite their culture.[139] It was destroyed during the Scourge invasion of Quel'Thalas. The prophet Velen sanctified the legendary Sunwell using the spark of the naaru M'uru, reigniting it as a fount of both arcane power and Light.[140]


Moonwells are hallowed repositories of a mix between the sacred waters of the Well of Eternity[141] and the magic of nature. The waters were created by the night elves to maintain and restore their magical powers. Druids also take advantage of the moonwells' properties, which provide growth and protection to their surrounding lands, and the Sentinels revere the wells as shrines to Elune.[142]

Shrine of Lost Souls

Illidan used the Shrine of Lost Souls beneath the Black Temple to free demons of their addiction to the Legion's fel magic and bind them to his service. Kanrethad Ebonlocke believed that this same power source is what Illidan intended to offer the blood elves to free them of their addiction to the Sunwell.[143] Strangely, its properties resembled greatly the Well of Eternity's.


“No matter how learned and knowledgeable, how wise and how wonderful, how powerful and puissant, there is always one more sliver of power, one more bit of knowledge, one more secret to be learned by any mage.”

Medivh, the Last Guardian of Tirisfal[144]

In the Warcraft universe, there is an instability, and those skilled in arcane magic have learned how to exploit that instability,[145] being able to control the elements and other forces such as time.[146]

On Azeroth, the Kirin Tor is the elite cadre of the most powerful wizards in the known world,[147] and the ruling conclave of magi that leads the magical Magocracy of Dalaran.

Some sensitive mortals have the ability to naturally sniff out fel and arcane magic, being able to detect demons, wizards and possessed people on their own.[148]

Blue dragons

Kalecgos, the Dragon Aspect of Magic.

The blue dragons are the foremost experts on arcane magic.[89] After the ordering of Azeroth, the titan Norgannon blessed Malygos and his flight with immense knowledge and power over the arcane, and the duty of ensuring it would never be abused.[149] Magic is what most concerns the members of the blue dragonflight. Acquiring it, researching it, cataloging it. Blue dragons are masters of the arcane and they wield it with a natural, almost intrinsic, ease. Even the flight's dragonspawn armies are flush with magical aptitude. The blues believe that with this power comes a certain responsibility and so members of the blue flight can often be found in positions policing and monitoring the use of magic by non-dragons. Some blue dragons are seemingly immune to arcane magic.[150]


Magi (also called magus, magician, sorcerer or wizard) are arcane spellcasters who favor magiks involving the cardinal elements of the universe. Students gifted with a keen intellect and unwavering discipline may walk the path of the mage. The arcane magic available to magi is both great and dangerous, and thus is revealed only to the most devoted practitioners. To avoid interference with their spellcasting, most magi wear cloth armor, but arcane shields and enchantments give them additional protection. To keep enemies at bay, magi can summon bursts of fire to incinerate distant targets and cause entire areas to erupt, setting groups of foes ablaze.[151] When mages cast a spell, they employ magic formulas which they pronounce word by word in an intelligible manner,[152] whether aloud or by mumbling like Rhonin,[153] and which according to Krasus sound like "the language of Lordaeron spoken backwards, with the wrong syllables emphasized".[154]

Mages of the arcane are diviners of secrets, balancing the ebb and flow of incredible mystic energies. Unparalleled skill is required to manipulate the volatile forces of the universe. These practitioners push their magical knowledge to its very limits—often to the brink of their own exhaustion, and at great risk to the world around them. Those who master this craft are capable of releasing a barrage of unrelenting power upon their enemies, drawing upon replenishing energies to maintain their assault for as long as the battle demands.[6]

Given its history as a destructive force, practitioners of magic are often held in awe and suspicion. With such great power comes great responsibility, and magi will generally only teach their art to those who are willing to take up the burdens that magic entails.[155] Every mage wielded the forces of magic differently, and if one was sensitive enough, one could tell the differences from one to another.[156]

Depending on their choice of school of arcane magic, their talent, or the function in which they specialize, the mages may carry different titles: Archmage, Arcanist, Pyromancer, Cryomancer, Abjurer, Conjurer, Diviner, Enchanter, Illusionist, Transmuter, Battle mage, Warmage, Warcaster,[157] Arcanomancer,[158] Summoner or Mage-Priest.


The draenei, once known as the eredar, are a race of supremely talented magic-wielders who arose on the planet Argus countless millennia ago. Exceptionally skilled in magic, their mastery of the arcane arts were renowned throughout the scattered worlds of the Great Dark Beyond.[159] They are extremely intelligent and have a natural affinity for magic in all of its forms. Using their gifts, they developed a vast and wondrous society,[160] in which art, science, magic, and technology were all as one.[161] It was their magical affinity that attracted Sargeras the Dark Titan, who planned to bolster his ranks by transforming them into demons,[162] and led to the fall of their civilization. In the Army of the Light, few draenei wield arcane magic since it was what tempted their brethren who joined the Burning Legion.[163]


Queen Azshara, perhaps the greatest sorceress the world of Azeroth had ever known.[164]

Around 15,000 years ago, a tribe of dark trolls[165] came to settle near the translucent waters of the Well of Eternity. Over generations, the Well's cosmic power affected this tribe and transformed them into highly intelligent and virtually immortal beings. The tribe gradually abandoned their ancient heritage and tradition. The mystics began worshiping the moon goddess Elune, who they believed slumbered within the fount's depth during daylight hours. The former trolls also discovered the name "Kalimdor" and other titan-forged words from communing with Elune, and adopted the name kaldorei, which meant "children of the stars" in their native tongue.[166]

The early night elf priests and seers studied the Well with an insatiable curiosity. Queen Azshara shared their curiosity, and ordered the educated Highborne to plumb its secrets and reveal its true purpose in the world. The Highborne buried themselves in their work and studied the Well ceaselessly. In time they developed the ability to manipulate and control the Well's cosmic energies.[167] According to Aluneth, the Highborne night elves of ancient Kalimdor purportedly had the potential to rival the Titans.[168]

The surviving Highborne were forbidden to practice arcane magic[136] and soon grew bold in defying the new laws. Rather than execute the Highborne, the rest of the night elves sentenced them to exile. The Highborne were not unhappy at the prospect of exile; on the contrary, they looked forward to it.[169] Banished to the Eastern Kingdoms, the Highborne began seeking a new homeland, within which they could practice their magic freely. They founded the nation of Quel'Thalas and created the Sunwell, a new magical fount, using water from the original Well, and became high elves.[136] The Sunwell's arcane magic was the heart of high elf society, empowering many of their day-to-day spells. The high elves, and those renaming themselves the blood elves, retain a deep affinity for the arcane.[170]


At the heart of ancient Kalimdor lay the Well of Eternity, an enormous lake filled with powerful energies. The Well accelerated the cycles of growth and rebirth on the primordial continent, and soon sentient life forms arose from the wilds. The trolls were among the first and most prolific.[171]

Zandalari trolls have an impressive mastery over the arcane and shadow, having achieved what many others have not as they are able to combine the two schools into one.[172][173] Though mages among trollkind could have been found even during the reign of king Dazar,[174] the Zandalari have sought the Mogu empire to teach them the arcane arts in exchange for the trolls' knowledge of the lands beyond the vale.[175] Some Zandalari trolls even know how call upon Ksu'la, an Arcane Serpent capable of transforming arcanitals in to arcane serpents.[176]

Zandalari mages are known as illusionists. They employ powerful mojo in their incantations, often befuddling and confusing the tribe's enemies. It is quite the sight to see a powerful illusionist at work, bringing the Zandalari's enemies to their knees from their own madness.[177] Magic is a raw, primal force to be shaped by those strong enough to do it. Mojo is the Zandalari's extension of this power; one such potent manipulation of it is in the form of illusion. The Zandalar know the power of this form of magic, and as such illusionists hold an honored place within the tribe.[178]


  • The ogres, as descendants of Aggramar's creation Grond, used the arcane to shape and bend rock and stone to their will, coming to prize Apexis Crystals in particular for their immense potential.[179] The Highmaul magic breakers were strong enough to completely dampen, negate and nullify any particular school of magic using their Forger stone, even rendering fel magic useless against them.[180]
  • Some warlocks were former mages that delved too deeply into the roots of demonic power,[181] while some deliberately chose to follow this path to understand how to fight demons better.[182]
  • By leveraging the sacred powers of the moon, the sun, and the stars, balance druids access arcane and nature magics, made more potent still through shapeshifting into a moonkin.[183]
  • Some hunters can conjure arcane ammunition. They can also tame arcane-related creatures such as the nether rays and warp stalkers.

In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

Important note: While many elements differ between the RPG and game canon, this is especially true for information on arcane and divine magic. Though the origin of the sources of magic is the same, their implementation and effect on the world is wholly different. In the RPG, Divine magic is overall good, while arcane magic is overall bad. In canon, arcane magic still has more corruptive elements than divine magic, but it is not corruptive in and of itself.


Arcane magic is the gift of titans to the world, a gift that comes with the highest price. Thousands of years ago, the titans placed the Well of Eternity in the center of Kalimdor to serve as a source of restoring, life-giving energy. They intended that the Well's energies would empower life of all forms to emerge on Kalimdor — plants, animals, monsters, races. After a time, the titans left Azeroth, leaving Kalimdor in the hands of the five dragon Aspects. Yet the Well of Eternity proved too great a lure to remain hidden for very long, particularly from Sargeras and the Burning Legion.

The Well was discovered by the kaldorei, who were later known as night elves. Ever eager to uncover secrets hidden in dark places, the Kaldorei listened to the Well as it promised to give them great power. At the Well's behest, the Kaldorei learned spellspeech and used it to weave the first arcane spells. Within decades, Kaldorei mages had attained sufficient mastery over arcane magic that they built a great civilization. They founded the imperious city of Zin-Azshari, from which they extended their domination over most of Kalimdor.

Ultimately, the magic corrupted them. The kaldorei had been a simple folk who gazed blissfully at the stars, enjoying the immortality given to them by the Well, but their haughtiness robbed them of that gift forever. Each succeeding generation became prouder and more decadent, and the lust for power only made the Kaldorei more of a beacon to the lords of the Twisting Nether. Their greatest mage, Queen Azshara, cast a spell in the heart of the Well of Eternity itself — and a way was opened for evil to invade the world. Through Azshara's breach came the Burning Legion, the most terrifying warriors in existence. This fiendish horde ravaged Azeroth, pillaging entire kingdoms, destroying all that stood in its path, mocking anyone who begged it for mercy.

The Aesir titan Norgannon, the Lord of mysteries and master of arcane magic.

When the Burning Legion ravaged the land, great heroes recognized that arcane magic posed a continuing threat to all living creatures, so they elected to destroy the Well of Eternity and put an end to arcane magic forever. Unfortunately, among their number was one Illidan Stormrage, an arcane spell caster who dreaded the thought of losing his powers. Secretly he stole some of the well's water and used it to create a new Well of Eternity at Mount Hyjal, thus preserving the power of the arcane. This theft allowed future elven generations to follow in the footsteps of Illidan and Queen Azshara. These elves called themselves the Quel'dorei, "the high elves" (for they believed that their mastery of the arcane elevated them to higher status). They also taught the arcane arts to the newly discovered race of humans, who showed a natural aptitude.

These human mages, however, were even more reckless than the night elves had been. The high elf mages warned their human pupils that magic was addictive, but the acolytes dismissed any suggestion that the tragedies that had befallen the elves would also afflict them. The humans were no better at resisting corruption than the elves had been, and eventually the arrogance of wizards brought the Burning Legion to Azeroth once more. Once again, great acts of heroism were needed to spare Azeroth from destruction. Elsewhere, on the orcish homeworld of Draenor, arcane sorceries corrupted the once noble race of orcs, transforming them into the Horde, a nigh invincible army. After ravaging their home world, the orcs came to Azeroth; and with their warlocks, they waged two great wars against the races of human, elf, and dwarf. The orcs failed to seize control of Azeroth; during these wars, Draenor itself was utterly destroyed, and the orcs were forced to relocate to Azeroth.

In the wake of the Third War against the Scourge and Burning Legion, the orc Warchief Thrall has rejected arcane magic and embraced his race's traditional shamanistic ways. Yet orc warlocks still walk the world, and demons whisper in their ears each time they cast a spell. Neither human nor high elves have abandoned the pursuit of the arcane; if anything, the defeat of the Burning Legion at the Battle of Mount Hyjal has fed the arrogance of many spell casters, who believe the world is now protected from demonic influences and that arcane spell casters may practice their art in relative safety. Nothing sows the seeds of the fields of tragedy quite like arrogance.[184]

The four laws

  • Magic is powerful.

Magic in Azeroth is the difference between a slave and a master, a foot soldier and king. Few races and nations can operate without powerful mages and warlocks. The use of arcane magic is growing; historically, each time this has happened before, a great disaster shortly follows. However, even though the history of the arcane is well known, mages and their patrons invariably come to the same self-serving conclusion: It won't happen to them.

  • Magic is corrupting.

Magic corrupts the soul; if the humblest person in Azeroth became a practitioner of the arcane, by the time the practitioner reached the higher levels in their art, all traces of her humble roots would be lost. Magic breeds pride and arrogance. Magic corrupts the body; it ages the caster before their time and hastens the blight that the world inflicts on things fair and beautiful. Those who claim that only necromancy and fel magic have a corrupting influence are fooling themselves.

  • Magic is an addiction.

When one feels the power of an arcane spell coursing through one's body as it's being cast, resisting the urge to cast it again is difficult. Frequent use leads to a desire for more and, eventually, to a desire for the evil fel energy.[185]

  • Magic attracts the Twisting Nether like flies to honey.

The Burning Legion has invaded Azeroth three times, drawn by the power of the Well of Eternity and those who employ it. Magic is a literal gateway drug that allows dark titans such as Sargeras to bring evil influences to the world. Those who employ arcane magic must deal with demons and other servants of the Twisting Nether.[186]

Warcraft film universe

Warcraft film logo bright.png
This article contains information and lore exclusive to the Warcraft film universe, which is considered to be separate from the main Warcraft universe canon.
Medivh about to unleash arcane magic.

Arcane magic has a pale blue color and is used for various purposes including teleportation.[187]

The young Medivh, Llane Wrynn, and Anduin Lothar faced against a jungle troll warlord. He used fel magic and was invulnerable to arcane magic. However, Medivh used it to cause an explosion and collapse a building on the troll.[188]

At some point, Khadgar shouted a spell, and a blast of arcane lightning shot from his hand. It struck an orc full in the chest and sent him flying.[189]


  1. ^ a b The Schools of Arcane Magic - Introduction says there are eight, but Transmutation is noted to be the ninth. There are only seven books available in the game.


Trading Card Game

See also


  1. ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, pg. 286
  2. ^ N [60-62] Lessons From Our Past
  3. ^ Matt Burns on Twitter (2019-09-21).​ “We sometimes do that in writing, purely to use something like "arcane energies" as an alternative to "arcane magic".”
  4. ^ Dark Riders
  5. ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, pg. 150 on e-book
  6. ^ a b Legion Class Preview Series: Mage
  7. ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter (2014-04-27) - "Only as similar as, say, water and steam pressure."
  8. ^ a b c d Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, chapter 25
  9. ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter (2015-12-03): "Fel is language of chaos, arcane is language of order. Same spectrum, opposite ends!"
  10. ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter (2015-11-10): "Fel isn't death magic. It's the language of chaos, though, so it's pretty nasty stuff :)"
  11. ^ a b c d World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1
  12. ^ a b N Inscription [10-45] Opposites Repel
  13. ^ A Mage [10] Mage-tastic Gizmonitor
  14. ^ War Crimes, pg. 359 on e-book
  15. ^ World of Warcraft: Paragons, pg. 584 on e-book
  16. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 371 on e-book
  17. ^ World of Warcraft: The Magazine Volume I Issue IV, pg. 71
  18. ^ Sean Copeland on Twitter (20114-03-13)
  19. ^ Hellscream
  20. ^ Sunwell Plateau epilogue
  21. ^ Tales of the Hunt
  22. ^ Crimsastrasza#Quotes
  23. ^ Coldostos#Quotes
  24. ^ The Last Guardian, chapter 3
  25. ^ The Last Guardian, chapter 2
  26. ^ Aluneth#Spells
  27. ^ Cycle of Hatred, pg. 39
  28. ^ Cycle of Hatred, chapter 20
  29. ^ N Alchemy [60-70] Mana Markets
  30. ^ B [50] Arathi Donations: Coastal Mana Potion
  31. ^ N [10-30] Keep the Secret Safe
  32. ^ On the Virtues of Magic
  33. ^ Image of Kalec
  34. ^  [Mystical Tome: Arcane Linguist]
  35. ^ N [55] In Eranikus' Own Words
  36. ^ N [15-30] The Arcane Storm Within
  37. ^ N [10-40] The Battle of the Forge
  38. ^ The Tomb of Sargeras
  39. ^ Elemental Slave
  40. ^ A IconSmall Draenei Male.gifIconSmall Draenei Female.gif Mage [2] Mage Training
  41. ^ A [10-50] The Battle for Lordaeron
  42. ^ N [45] Trail of Echoes
  43. ^ a b H [10-60] The Stormwind Extraction
  44. ^ Mage
  45. ^ B [60] Stay of Execution
  46. ^ The Dungeons of Dalaran (WC3 BloodElf)
  47. ^ Vaeldrin's Journal
  48. ^ The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, chapter 28
  49. ^ Prince Tortheldrin
  50. ^ Lightforged Battlemage
  51. ^ Lor'themar Theron#Tactics
  52. ^ Shal'dorei Archmage
  53. ^ Kael'thas Sunstrider (tactics)
  54. ^ Aethas Sunreaver#Abilities
  55. ^ Sorin Magehand
  56. ^ Duskwatch Spellshield
  57. ^ Azuregos
  58. ^ Arcanagos
  59. ^ Magister Phaedris
  60. ^ Star Scryer
  61. ^ Nightborne Sage
  62. ^ Nightborne Tempomancer
  63. ^ Duskwatch Astralite
  64. ^ Ael'Yith
  65. ^ Terrace Grove-Tender (mob)
  66. ^ [Warpwalking]
  67. ^ [Cantrips]
  68. ^ [Ward of the First Arcanist]
  69. ^ A [10-40] For the Alliance!
  70. ^ H [10-40] For the Horde!
  71. ^ The Everbloom#Dungeon Journal
  72. ^ H [63D] Heart of Rage
  73. ^ The Last Guardian
  74. ^ Sayge
  75. ^ Sorcerer Ashcrombe
  76. ^ N Mage [45D] Three Is a Lucky Number
  77. ^ A [10-50] Battle for Azeroth: Tides of War
  78. ^ H [40-70] Thalyssra's Estate
  79. ^ N [45] Moments of Reflection
  80. ^ N [45] Scenes from a Memory
  81. ^ Ley-Guardian Eregos
  82. ^ Kael'thas Sunstrider (tactics)
  83. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, chapter 20
  84. ^ B [20-40] Khadgar's Plan
  85. ^ Ask CDev
  86. ^ N Mage [10-45] The Only Way to Travel
  87. ^ N Mage [45] Down the Rabbit Hole
  88. ^ A [60] Strategic Deployment
  89. ^ a b The Old Wizard's Almanac
  90. ^ B [50R] The Eternal Palace: Queen's Gambit
  91. ^ N [50WQ] The Lords of Water
  92. ^ Ancient Highborne Tome
  93. ^ N [45] Gates of the Nighthold
  94. ^ Grand Magistrix Elisande (tactics)
  95. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 91 - 92
  96. ^ Archive of the Tirisgarde#Aluneth, Greatstaff of Magna
  97. ^ The Last Guardian, pg. 31 (ebook)
  98. ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Night Elves
  99. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 218 - 219
  100. ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia - High Elves
  101. ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia - Blood Elves
  102. ^ Blood of the Highborne, chapter 4
  103. ^ N Demon hunter [45] One Battle at a Time
  104. ^ Ask CDev Answers - Round 1
  105. ^  [Glyphic Letter]
  106. ^ a b The Last Guardian, 40 (ebook)
  107. ^ A [10-30] The Dark Missive
  108. ^ The Schools of Arcane Magic - Introduction
  109. ^  [Regarding Prohibited Magics]
  110. ^ Warcraft: Orcs & Humans manual#The Destiny of the Orcish Hordes, " Using the arcane powers of our Warlocks and Necromancers."
  111. ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual#The Rise of the Shadow Council, "In pursuit of furthering our magical resources, I opened a new school of magical discipline that became known as Necromancy. We began training young Warlocks in the arcane mysteries of life and death."
  112. ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual#The Undead, "These unfortunate warriors gave their lives in battle only to be brought back into soulless servitude by arcane Orc magiks to fight for the Horde."
  113. ^ The Schools of Arcane Magic - Abjuration
  114. ^ The Schools of Arcane Magic - Conjuration
  115. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual#Archmage
  116. ^ Warcraft: Orcs & Humans manual#Conjurer Spells
  117. ^ The Schools of Arcane Magic - Divination
  118. ^ a b The Schools of Arcane Magic - Illusion
  119. ^ The Schools of Arcane Magic - Enchantment
  120. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual#Water Elemental "Water elementals were a favorite tool of the Conjurors of Azeroth during the First War, and now the enchanted creatures have come to aid the defenders of freedom once again."
  121. ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, chapter 25, pg. 533 (ebook): "Jaina laughed. Then she made more. And more still, until there was scarcely any unenchanted water to be seen."
  122. ^ a b c The Schools of Arcane Magic - Transmutation
  123. ^ Polymorphic Rules & Regulations
  124. ^ Thinking with Portals - A Memorandum on Proper Portal Usage
  125. ^ Legacies: Chapter Three
  126. ^ Heroes of Azeroth, 57
  127. ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, chapter 15
  128. ^ Annual 2015, pg. 20
  129. ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, pg. 533
  130. ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, pg. 52
  131. ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, pg. 383 (ebook)
  132. ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, pg. 552 - 553 (ebook)
  133. ^ Elegy
  134. ^ A Good War
  135. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual#The Titans and the Ordering
  136. ^ a b c Ultimate Visual Guide
  137. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 18
  138. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 232
  139. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 251 on e-book
  140. ^ Wrath of the Lich King manual, pages 8 - 9: Winds of Change: From Dark Horizons to a Beacon of Hope in the World of Warcraft
  141. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual#Moon Well
  142. ^ A [5] Crown of the Earth
  143. ^ N Warlock [35] Infiltrating the Black Temple
  144. ^ The Last Guardian, chapter 7
  145. ^ a b Ask CDev Answers - Round 4
  146. ^ Weaver Belmaril#Quotes
  147. ^ Blood of the Highborne
  148. ^ Cycle of Hatred, chapter 15
  149. ^  [Charge of the Dragonflights]
  150. ^ Indigos
  151. ^ World of Warcraft > Game Guide > Classes > Mage
  152. ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, chapter 16
  153. ^ Day of the Dragon, chapter 3
  154. ^ Day of the Dragon, chapter 6
  155. ^ Gadgetzan Times/A Magical History of Azeroth
  156. ^ Cycle of Hatred, chapter 8
  157. ^ Warcaster Fanoraithe
  158. ^ Addled Arcanomancer
  159. ^ The Burning Crusade Bestiary - Eredar
  160. ^ The Burning Crusade Townhall/Draenei
  161. ^ A [10-40] Invisible Ramparts
  162. ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Burning Legion
  163. ^ Archmage Y'mera#Quotes
  164. ^ Lor'themar Theron's gossip in Newhome
  165. ^ World of Warcraft: The Magazine Volume 2 Issue 1
  166. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 93
  167. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual#The Kaldorei and the Well of Eternity
  168. ^  [Aluneth]
  169. ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Dath'Remar Sunstrider#Escape from Zin-Azshari
  170. ^ Blood of the Highborne
  171. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 70
  172. ^ H [35 Daily] Knowledge Is Power
  173. ^ A [35 Daily] Keep It Secret
  174. ^ Wise Tu'aka
  175. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 82
  176. ^ Arcanital Ra'kul
  177. ^ N [60R] Paragons of Power: The Illusionist's Wraps
  178. ^ N [60R] Paragons of Power: The Illusionist's Mantle
  179. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 38
  180. ^ Code of Rule
  181. ^
  182. ^ Daio the Decrepit
  183. ^ Legion Class Preview Series: Druid
  184. ^ Magic & Mayhem, pg. 14 - 15
  185. ^ Dark Factions, pg. 118
  186. ^ Magic & Mayhem, pg. 15
  187. ^ Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, chapter 6
  188. ^ Bonds of Brotherhood
  189. ^ Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, chapter 7
  190. ^ Archive of the Tirisgarde#Felo'melorn
  191. ^ World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 13
  192. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual, pg. 43
  193. ^ N [45] Ravencrest's Legacy
  194. ^ Halls of Origination#Dungeon Journal
  195. ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Sisterhood of Elune The Sisterhood never quite approved of the way in which higher-caste night elves made use of arcane magic, due to the magic's chaotic nature.
  196. ^ Anomalus#Quotes