Black dragon

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For the Warcraft III creeps, see Dragon (Warcraft III).
Black dragon
DFCodex Black Dragon.png
Domain Earth, Protection
Breath Flame, Magma
Major leader(s)  Ebyssian
  Formerly  Deathwing †
Secondary leaders  Wrathion
  Formerly  Sintharia †
 Nefarian †
 Onyxia †
Racial capital Valdrakken
Obsidian Throne (Obsidian Citadel)
  Formerly Neltharion's Lair
Area(s) Dragon Isles, Northrend (Dragonblight), Eastern Kingdoms (Badlands, Blackrock Mountain, Burning Steppes, Redridge Mountains, Twilight Highlands, Wetlands), Kalimdor (Azshara, Dustwallow Marsh, Stonetalon Mountains), Broken Isles, Outland (Blade's Edge Mountains)
Homeworld Azeroth
Language(s) Draconic
Affiliation Black dragonflight (Blacktalon & Obsidian Brood), Valdrakken Accord, Titans, Independent
  Formerly Old Gods' forces, Wyrmrest Accord
Status Nearly extinct, but recovering

“My blessing upon you will seem humble compared to those which have been bestowed upon the others: the managing of time, of life, of dreams and magic. I offer you the earth. The soil, the ground, the deep places. But know that the earth is the basis of all things. It is where we are rooted. Where you must come from, if you are to go to. Here is whence true strength comes. From deep places...within the world, and within oneself.”

Khaz'goroth's blessing of the Black Aspect

Black dragons are dragons with black scales who were given powers over the earth. Most black dragons can breathe magma, though some instead breathe fire or sometimes hot ash. Some powerful, corrupt black dragons can breathe shadowflame. Led by the Dragon Aspect Neltharion, later known as Deathwing, the black dragons were charged by the titans with protecting the earth. The ambitious Neltharion was chosen by the Old Gods to be their ultimate tool of destruction and their corruption eventually spread to the entire dragonflight. Following the creation of the Demon Soul during the War of the Ancients, the black dragons and their minions became one of the most prominent reoccurring threats to the mortal races of Azeroth.

Black dragons have gone through many iterations of service to the Old Gods, with their race having believed to have been wholly corrupted away from their once noble purpose. In spite of this, several black dragons remained loyal to the original cause of their kindred. Among them, Wrathion, a black whelp purified of the Old Gods' corruption, saw to the death of nearly every other black dragon, including his father, and claimed his wishes to protect Azeroth. On the Broken Isles, the uncorrupted dragon Ebyssian has long lived among the Highmountain tauren under the guise of a spiritwalker named "Ebonhorn". Meanwhile, in Outland, the former Prime lieutenant of Deathwing, Sabellian, shepherded the growth of the Obsidian Brood; a clutch of black dragons that have been somehow purified from their Old God corruption by Sabellian's efforts.

When the Dragon Isles were uncovered, the Obsidian Brood returned to Azeroth and helped the Blacktalon to regain control of the Obsidian Citadel from the djaradin. After their victory, Wrathion and Sabellian competed to determine who should be the new Aspect of the black dragonflight. However, after they discovered Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible and the reality of Neltharion's dark legacy, it was Ebyssian who was chosen by his brothers as the new leader of their dragonflight.

Life cycle and appearance

Black dragons, as with all other dragons, go through various life stages before they are fully grown. These stages are divided into whelps, drakes and dragons. Whelps are the children of their kind, while drakes are adolescents and young adults. The oldest of their kind become dragons, though they appear to still grow in some capacity as far older dragons are usually larger than their younger kindred. Traditional dragons look largely the same, akin to an immense lizard with four legs and wings sprouting along their spine. In their youthful stages, whelps seem to exclusively travel by way of flight, with older dragons flying or walking depending on their whims.

Adult black dragons usage of magma appears to also affect some of them. While this may be a symptom of Old God corruption, as it was for their aspect, Deathwing, a number of adult black dragons show signs of glowing magma within; such as Atramedes and Sintharia.

Several of these dragons also take unorthodox forms to those traditionally found; such as the wylderdrake and velocidrake. As these are specified as drakes, it is unknown what their 'dragon' forms or whelp forms would look like; though they are presumably just smaller and larger variations of these appearances. With the advent of Zaralek Cavern being discovered; some slitherdrakes have also been found baring black scales.

Black dragonkin are sometimes referred to as obsidian or onyx. The scales of the black dragonflight almost always retain their heat.[1]


Charge of the Dragonflights

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Neltharion, the Earth-Warder.

Satisfied that the small world had been ordered and that their work was done, the titans prepared to leave Azeroth. But before they departed, they charged the greatest species of the world with the task of watching over Azeroth. In that age, there were many dragonflights. Yet there were five flights that held dominion over their brethren. It was these five flights that the Titans chose to shepherd the budding world. The greatest members of the Pantheon imbued a portion of their power upon each of the flights' leaders. Khaz'goroth, the Titan shaper and forger of the world, bestowed some of his vast power upon the mighty black wyrm, Neltharion. The great-hearted Neltharion, known afterwards as the Earth-Warder, was given dominion over the earth and the deep places of the world. He embodied the strength of the world and served as Alexstrasza's greatest supporter.[2]

In truth, in Azeroth's ancient past, the Dragon Aspects proto-dragons stood united against a foe who threatened their entire species: the bloodthirsty Father of Dragons, Galakrond. Neltharion was one of the more intelligent of proto-dragons, capable of broken speech unlike most of the other, more animal-like of his kind. Alongside Alexstrasza, Ysera, Nozdormu, Malygos and the Keeper Tyr, Neltharion faced Galakrond and the not-living. After killing Galakrond, Neltharion and the others were approached by the other Keepers, and Tyr suggested empowering the proto-dragons to make them defenders of Azeroth, as they proved they were able to stand for the planet. Only Odyn disagreed, and forbid the other Keepers to proceed with that idea, but they decided to go against him. They reached out to the Pantheon and each of the titans blessed the proto-dragons with a portion of their vast power, channeled through the Keepers. They became majestic beings called dragons, and among them, Neltharion became the Aspect of Earth while his black dragonflight was charged with the task of watching over Azeroth, lest any force should threaten its perfect tranquility. One of their first acts was to encourage the rumor that the titans created them from Galakrond, to prevent the truth about Galakrond from leaking to ensure no one would follow in the behemoth's footsteps.[3]

The time following this came to be known as the age of dragons when the civilization of dragonkind was at its peak.[4]

Ancient times

Twenty thousand years ago, concerned at the rift between the Dragon Aspects and Primal Incarnates, Neltharion knew a war was coming. The drakonid were slow, and dragonspawn fragile, but Neltharion saw potential in the mortal races that had begun to emerge across the world. He created the dracthyr as "ideal soldiers," combing the essence of dragons with the traits of mortal races,[5] and used a gauntlet artifact of order magic to keep them under his control. However, Raszageth, one of the leaders of the Primalist rebellion, attacked Neltharion and his dracthyr army at the Forbidden Reach and during the fighting destroyed the relic. Seeing no other way to stop the Primalists, this was the moment that Neltharion gave in to the whispers of the Old Gods that had long haunted him, and used their power to seal Raszageth away.[6] Without the titan relic, Neltharion deemed the dracthyr a risk. He contacted Malygos, explained everything that had happened and that the dracthyr needed to be contained.[7] The Aspect of Magic accepted and put them into stasis with his magic.[6]

Gradually, Neltharion silently chafed at what he felt was a burden that had been inflicted on him; though he could command the entire weight of Azeroth itself, that same weight constantly pressed on his body every waking moment, the load making him feel suffocated to the point that he felt his very spirit unraveling. Neltharion believed that he must bear this burden alone, but ultimately found it to be too much, and began to resent the charge placed upon him. The belief that the titans viewed Azeroth as an experiment only fueled his bitterness.[8] Then came the madness that destroyed Neltharion's mind, changing him and his kind forever. The whispering convinced him that he could have power beyond his imagination, and the voices made Neltharion even paranoid of his own flight, as he began to yearn for a world dominated by the black dragonflight; a world in which the other dragonflights ceased to exist. The Old Gods later convinced Neltharion to create the Dragon Soul.

During this time, the other flights didn't realize that the black dragonflight fell to the whisperings of the Old Gods. The other Aspects attributed Neltharion's oddness to his displeasure with the actions of the Highborne in the Kaldorei Empire.

War of the Ancients

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Neltharion, now Deathwing, after his betrayal.
The Dragon Soul, also named the "Demon Soul".

When the Highborne opened a portal for the Burning Legion on Azeroth, marking the start of the War of the Ancients, the Black Aspect suggested creating a magical artifact to aid in the destruction of the demons. The other Aspects had nothing but the utmost respect for wise Neltharion, and they gave much of their own essence toward the creation of this object, called the Dragon Soul. Neltharion and his flight, however, had secretly refrained from imparting any of their own power.

When each dragon had contributed a portion of his or her essence to the artifact, Neltharion deemed it complete. The blacks joined the other dragons in flight over the battle and the Black Aspect brought the Dragon Soul to bear against the Legion, with devastating effects on the demonic swarm — but only for a precious few moments. He then shocked his fellow aspects and turned the artifact against the terrified night elves as well, and finally his own brethren. The shocked dragons were helpless to resist the power of the Dragon Soul, for it contained a fraction of the essence of each — with the exception of Neltharion himself. All the dragonflights, save Neltharion's own, were paralyzed in midair until the timely intervention of Korialstrasz, a mate of the red dragonqueen, who had been absent from the initial use of the artifact. While Korialstrasz was no match for the Aspect of Earth, he did manage to interrupt Neltharion's concentration for a moment, freeing the other dragons from their paralysis and allowing them to act. Malygos, infuriated at the betrayal by his ally, struck first, but at a great price. As the blue dragonflight flew into formation to attack Neltharion, the mighty black wyrm unleashed the full fury of the Dragon Soul against them, and the power instantly slew nearly every one of them. As the other dragons turned to act, Neltharion retreated, leaving the blue dragonflight broken in his wake.[9]

One particular brood of Ysera's was closely allied with the night elves of the Azuremyst Isles, who were ruled by Prince Toreth. Ysera kindly allowed the night elves to ride her children into battle and they were known as the Dragon Riders of Loreth'Aran. During the war, Ysera's benevolence raised the ire of Deathwing and he launched an attack against Wyrmscar Island where the dragonriders slept. The blacks, including Razormaw, a lieutenant of Deathwing, mercilessly slaughtered the Kaldorei. The greens rose up to protect their allies but were unsuccessful. Not one was spared, though many blacks, including Razormaw, also perished in the battle. The skeletons and spirits of the murdered greens still litter the small island. Razormaw's hatred for the greens was so great that his restless spirit remained soaring high overhead, forever haunting the island.[10]

The black dragonflight's actions left their former allies wounded and shocked, and the noble dragons were forced to abandon their mortal allies. The dragonflights secluded themselves, hoping to recover from the Dragon Soul's powers, but the damage to the draconic race had been done. The Kaldorei and their allies just barely managed to defeat the Legion, but Azeroth was sundered.[11]

Aftermath of the Sundering

A black dragon fighting a bronze dragon.

Deathwing’s betrayal was so destructive that the five dragonflights never truly recovered.[11] If that had not been enough, the ensuing war between the dragonflights decimated the species, most of all the blacks. Some dragons call this time period the Dragon Wars, though others including mortals may know it by other names. Even though it was everyone against the black flight, easily outnumbering them, it was incredibly emotionally hard for the dragons because they had to fight their friends and loved ones, people they had known and grown up with.[12] The black dragonflight was hunted down and nearly annihilated,[13] all but slain because of Deathwing's mad plots.[14] Deathwing's remaining consorts were slain, by his own recklessness, in the first few days of the war,[15] leaving him with limited options to repopulate his flight. They would never again be seen in the same numbers as before. The age of dragons had passed.

To ensure Deathwing would never hold power over dragonkind again, Alexstrasza, Ysera, and Nozdormu placed an enchantment upon the Demon Soul, so that no dragon, including Deathwing, could wield it, and hid the foul disc deep beneath the earth.[16] While Deathwing settled into a deep slumber, as he needed time to recover from his wounds and to regain his strength, the other dragonflights would hunt his corrupted black dragonflight to the brink of extinction.[17]

Within Neltharion's Vault, Huln Highmountain used the Hammer of Khaz'goroth to purify one of Deathwing's eggs, which hatched into an uncorrupted black whelp named Ebyssian.[18]

Approximately five hundred years prior to the opening of the Dark Portal, the black dragon Sintharia, former prime consort of Deathwing, attempted to bring down the Kirin Tor with a curse that left all the wizards in Dalaran unable to use their magic. Her scheme was foiled in part by Korialstrasz, consort to Alexstrasza, and when Sintharia was defeated, most believed her to be dead when her own magic had been turned on her.[19]

Second War

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During the Second War Deathwing saw his opportunity to decimate Alexstrasza and her flight. Deathwing was unable to wield the Demon Soul himself,[16] but it could be placed in the hands of a being that would use it against his enemies.[20] Deathwing sent visions of the artifact to the chieftain of the Dragonmaw clan, a shaman named Zuluhed the Whacked, who claimed the disc for the Horde. The device was given to his lieutenant, the warlock Nekros Skullcrusher, whose magic the disk eagerly reciprocated, and was used to enslave Alexstrasza and most of her flight, turning them into the Horde's hounds of war.[21]

Beyond The Dark Portal

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Gruul fighting Deathwing in Draenor.

During the orc's second intrusion into Azeroth, the black dragonflight briefly joined the Horde. Seeking magical artifacts, Ner'zhul had sent a party under Teron Gorefiend to Blackrock Spire to bring the Blackrock clan back into the fold and acquire their red dragons. Rend refused and Teron left defeated, but they were soon approached by Deathwing. Deathwing presented the Death Knight with an offer. He and his children would lend their aid to the Horde, in return for safe passage of his flight and eggs to Draenor. Gorefiend accepted and the black aspect summoned his flight to him. Before departing Deathwing spoke with Nefarian and Onyxia, asking them to remain on Azeroth and take command of the orcs left within the spire.[22] The remaining members of the black dragonflight, led by Deathwing and his lieutenant Sabellian, allowed the orcs to ride upon them in order to retrieve the needed artifacts.

Once in possession of the artifacts, Ner'zhul pulled the Horde back to Draenor. The black dragons, taking special care of the eggs, crossed through the Dark Portal. Deathwing spoke with Ner'zhul, bidding his farewell and taking the Skull of Gul'dan. A few dragons stayed with the Horde at Hellfire Citadel, but the bulk of the flight settled within the valleys of Frostfire Ridge and Gorgrond, where they could tend to the delicate eggs. Their presence there was not welcome by Gruul, father of the gronn and ruler of the ogres. Gruul and his subjects, assisted by members of the Alliance Expedition sent to recover the skull, attacked drake and egg alike. Deathwing was outraged by the destruction of his precious eggs and fought back, only to be driven off by a strategic spell from Khadgar. Sabellian managed to escape as well. The remaining black dragons, now leaderless, quickly fell to the fury of Gruul's children and were crushed and impaled upon the spires of Frostfire Ridge.[23]

Not long after, Ner'zhul's portals began to tear Draenor apart, and soon the planet was going through its death throes. Deathwing quickly escaped back to Azeroth, abandoning his remaining progeny on the doomed world. Then the cataclysm came and Draenor was shattered, only what would become known as Outland remained. Many of the black dragon eggs were exposed to the Twisting Nether and the dragons that emerged were no longer truly members of the black flight. These ethereal dragons would come to be known as the netherwing dragonflight.[24]

Battle of Grim Batol

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The blacks were nearly extinct and their master, Deathwing, was believed to have been brought down during an organized strike by the most powerful members of the Kirin Tor, his body falling into the sea.[25][26] But this was nothing more than a ruse.

Secretly he had assumed the guise of Lord Daval Prestor and sought a way to rebuild his flight. He devised a plan to steal the eggs of his greatest foe, Alexstrasza, slave of the Dragonmaw. Not wanting to possibly damage the eggs by directly assaulting Grim Batol, he sought a way to bring the eggs out into the open. He fooled Nekros into believing the Alliance planned an invasion, and the warlock ordered to have Alexstrasza and her eggs moved to Dun Algaz where he believed the bulk of the Dragonmaw Clan was stationed. When Deathwing appeared Nekros sent Tyranastrasz to face him, but the old red did not last long against the dark aspect. Deathwing began stealing Alexstrasza's eggs only to be stalled by the sudden arrival of the other Aspects, who proceeded to battle Deathwing in the sky near Grim Batol. Korialstrasz's human apprentice, Rhonin, defeated Nekros and used one of Deathwing's scales to destroy the Demon Soul. The destruction of the artifact released the ancient power that had been sealed inside for millennia, making the Aspects whole once more and allowing them to overpower Deathwing and force his retreat. This final battle was known as the Battle of Grim Batol.[27]

The Aspects gave chase and Deathwing was gravely wounded but not killed. The Black Aspect went into hiding in Deepholm, the realm of earth inside the elemental plane, and no creature, not even members of his flight knew his location. The black dragonflight went into a state of civil war following Deathwing's disappearance, fighting over who would rule the flight.

Third War

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Like the other dragonflights, the black dragonflight did not play any significant role in the events of the Third War. Arthas Menethil, then prince of Lordaeron, did however assist a group of dwarven dragon hunters track down and slay the black drake Searinox near Strahnbrad.[28] Malfurion Stormrage also encountered a small group of black whelps and drakes hiding in the Barrow Deeps, and was quick to dispatch the vile spawn of Deathwing.[29]

World of Warcraft

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Onyxia fought the adventurers in her lair.
Nefarian confronted the heroes in his fortress.

Long ago, Onyxia drove the Stonemaul ogres from their village in the Dragonmurk, a dismal swamp located within Dustwallow Marsh. She did so in order to procure a place to raise her numerous children, who would then leave to infest the Wyrmbog.[30] She and her children became known for terrorizing any travelers who strayed too close to her home. After Deathwing's departure, Onyxia and Nefarian rose to lead their brethren and recouped their failing numbers. Together, with the orchestrations of their human personas, they worked toward replenishing the black dragonflight.[31]

Under the guise of Victor Nefarius, Nefarian claimed Blackrock Spire as his aerie, subverted the Blackrock orcs of the Dark Horde and ensnared the black dragons not already under his control. Black dragonkin under his command were sent in the Badlands, in the Searing Gorge, throughout the Burning Steppes, and as far south as the Redridge Mountains. Nefarian has been experimenting with the blood of all of the various dragonflights to create a chromatic dragonflight of unstoppable warriors,[32] and his soldiers kidnapped whelps of other flights, such as the blue whelps of Mazthoril, to be used in their experiments.[33] In this task he has succeeded his father, and aided by his sister, he planned to use them to rally the black dragonflight to his command.

While Nefarian remained at Blackrock Spire to create twisted abominations that would carry out his will, Onyxia preferred subtle manipulation to further their goals. For several years, Onyxia masqueraded as one of the highest nobles in Stormwind, Lady Katrana Prestor, preventing the people there from sending much-needed aid to the areas near the Burning Steppes, where her brother has great power and influence. Her final goal was to become the ruler of Stormwind, through manipulation and evil schemes. Her plot was foiled by Marshal Reginald Windsor and she was unmasked in the halls of Stormwind Keep. Having fled to her lair, the recently returned King Varian Wrynn led an army to Kalimdor to slay Onyxia.[34] After the battle, the king decapitated Onyxia and sent her head to be hung from the ramparts of Stormwind while Broll Bearmantle summoned roots from the ground to seal her lair's entrance and to kill her unhatched progeny.[35]

Meanwhile, Horde champions fought against Nefarian's twisted creations in the Blackrock Spire, before confronting Nefarian in his lair, ultimately defeating him. The champions then took his head as proof of their victory and returned to Orgrimmar.[36]

The Burning Crusade

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The black dragons that accompanied Deathwing to Draenor remained behind when the planet was torn apart, and could be found in the Blade's Edge Mountains of Outland where they continued their battles against the gronn that have waged since the Second War. Many of the black dragons there met their end at the hands of Gruul the Dragonkiller and his sons, and could be seen impaled on the rocky spires at Dragons' End. Under Sabellian, the black dragons of Outland, the Obsidian Brood, were free of the Old Gods' corruption.[37] During the Invasion of Outland, Sabellian schemed to confront the gronn who have hunted his kind for years.[38][39] At the same time, his servant Samia Inkling hired adventurers to capture whelps from the wyrmcult, a group of mortals who worship the black dragons, and to deliver them to Sabellian.[40]

In Shadowmoon Valley, Deathwing's consort Sintharia visited the Dragonmaw clan to seek the eggs of their nether dragons, which were mutated black dragons, to further Deathwing's experiments in creating the ultimate dragonflight. In exchange, she pledged the black flight to serve as the Dragonmaw's mounts.[41]

In the years following Gruul's defeat, Sabellian and his black dragons bent the Blade's Edge Mountains to their will.[42]

Second Battle of Grim Batol

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Sintharia and hers eggs beneath Grim Batol.

The cursed fortress had not seen the last of the black dragonflight. More than a decade after Deathwing's defeat, his prime consort Sintharia, now called Sinestra, took the mountain for herself, driving off the remnants of the red dragonflight.[43] Sinestra, assisted by the blood elf Zendarin Windrunner and a large brood of black dragonkin led by the drakonid Rask, set up a lair to continue the experiments started by her son Nefarian to create a new powerful dragonflight. Sinestra planned to use the shards of the Demon Soul in conjuncture with Balacgos's Bane to combine the essence of the captured nether dragon Zzeraku with the stolen eggs of various flights.

When Korialstrasz sensed something deep within the mountain, he returned to Grim Batol and found the black consort in the midst of creating the twilight dragonflight, among them, the newest and powerful twilight dragon Dargonax. Korialstrasz and his allies rushed to stop Sinestra while dwarven resistance fighters battled her brood, managing to kill the drakonid Rask. Thanks to Zzeraku's sacrifice, and the anger felt by Dargonax towards his "mother", Sinestra and her creation were defeated. The mountain was once again abandoned, unaware to anyone that Deathwing lurked still deeper within.[44]

Wrath of the Lich King

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During the war against the Lich King, the black dragon ambassador Nalice was present at Wyrmrest Temple as a member of the Wyrmrest Accord, an alliance of the dragonflights created to oppose Malygos's crusade against magic users during the Nexus War. When the Scourge started to siege the various dragonshrines to raise undead dragons, Nalice sent adventurers to meet Serinar at the Obsidian Dragonshrine, in order to fight off the forces of the Lich King and the Cult of the Damned.[45]

Continuing his consort's experiments, Deathwing entrusted a batch of twilight eggs to the black dragon Sartharion in the Obsidian Sanctum beneath Wyrmrest Temple, aided by the twilight drakes Shadron, Tenebron, and Vesperon.[46] Following the sacking of the Obsidian Sanctum by the adventurers on the orders of the Kirin Tor, a powerful war party of the black dragonflight, led by the fearsome twilight dragon Halion, have launched an assault upon the Ruby Sanctum. By destroying the sanctum, the black dragonflight look to crush those that would stand in the way of their master’s reemergence into Azeroth and to ultimately shatter the Wyrmrest Accord.[47]

In the wake of Deathwing's reemergence and his Shattering of Azeroth, Nalice has mysteriously disappeared from Wyrmrest Temple,[48] and with her, the allegiance of the black dragonflight to the Wyrmrest Accord.


Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.

Deathwing unleashes the Cataclysm.

During the Cataclysm, the black dragonflight joined Deathwing in his plan to cause the Hour of Twilight - the liberation of the Old Gods and the end of all life on the planet. Across Azeroth, allied with the cultists of the Twilight's Hammer and the Twilight dragonflight, they caused chaos and confronted the other dragonflights and their mortal allies. After his return, Deathwing began to invade the various regions of Azeroth, raining fire upon the earth and killing any who are unfortunate enough to find themselves in his path.[49]

In the Eastern Kingdoms, the black dragonflight continued to work alongside the Dark Horde in the Burning Steppes, where an army of black dragonspawn led by the drake Minyoth and the drakonid Tugnar Goremaw settled around Dreadmaul Rock. The Alliance veteran John J. Keeshan and the reformed Blackrock orc Ariok destroyed them before they could began their invasion.[50] In the Redridge Mountains, the black dragon Darkblaze took control of the Blackrock orcs in the region, in order to march upon Lakeshire and ultimately Stormwind City, but he was killed by the Bravo Company before he could achieve his plan.[51][52] In the Wetlands, numerous black whelps led by the drake Pyrricion fought against the dragonmaw orcs who seek to capture them, they were assisted by dragonspawn.[53]

In the Blackwing Descent, Nefarian and his attempts to create a new breed of dragon were thought defeated following his death. But the Twilight's Hammer reanimated Nefarian with Void magic,[54] and Deathwing ordered his son to continue his experiments, and even to surpass his previous creations in wickedness and power.[55] Dwelling on the lessons learned from his defeat in Blackwing Lair, he has burrowed deeper into the heart of Blackrock Mountain and rebuilt his sanctuary: the Vault of the Shadowflame.[56] He also succeeded in the reanimation of his sister, Onyxia, but was ultimately slain with her by adventurers of the Alliance and the Horde.[57][58]

The Battle of Life and Death.

In the Twilight Highlands, full-out warfare has erupted in the Twilight Highlands between the black dragonflight and the red dragonflight. Black dragonkin roosted at the Obsidian Forest, constantly under attack by the red flight,[59][60] and black drakes spread throughout the southern regions of the Highlands. The broodmother Obsidia, one of the last mature and breeding black dragons, has relocated her lair nearby and was targeted by the red dragons.[61] Even the mighty Aspects themselves, Deathwing and Alexstrasza, become engaged in the battle over Grim Batol, as the Dragon Queen decided that the black dragonflight could not be saved and should be totally destroyed.[62][63]

At some point, the Twilight's Hammer cultists recovered the broken corpse of Sintharia, pieced it together, and reanimated it with Void magics. Now a ravaged husk of her former self,[64] she continued building an entire flight of twilight dragons,[65] and oversaw the creation of new twilight clutches.[66] Under the Bastion of Twilight, she gave birth to a clutch of black dragon eggs that were to be turned into twilight dragon eggs, performing the duties once held by Alexstrasza in Grim Batol, as her fate was ultimately to be an egg factory for Deathwing and the Twilight Cult. With the help of the red dragon Caelestrasz, who sacrificed himself during the battle, the adventurers were giving enough strength to finally vanquish Sinestra.[67]

In Kalimdor, Deathwing's upheaval has caused volcanic activity at what was once the Charred Vale in the Stonetalon Mountains, where the broodmother Seldarria and her clutch of black eggs were targeted by the Alliance forces at Farwatcher's Glen.[68][69] Seeking to route out the last remaining blues, black drakes led by the drake Malicion traveled to the Sable Ridge in Azshara in search of the elusive Azuregos,[70] however, they were eliminated by Horde adventurers sent by Kalecgos.[71] In his crusade to wipe out all life on Azeroth, Deathwing sought to activate the Forge of Origination in Uldum,[72] which required a powerful artifact known as the Coffer of Promise. He has enlisted Commander Schnottz's expedition to find the coffer and sent black dragon emissaries, including Myzerian, to ensure the artifact became his.[73] To prevent such a disaster, Brann Bronzebeard and a band of adventurers disabled it so that Deathwing's servants could not use it.[74]

The Madness of Deathwing.

At the end of the war against Deathwing, after the defeat of Ragnaros, Deathwing and his black and twilight dragons, aided by his Old God benefactors, laid siege to Wyrmrest Temple. The remaining Aspects and the world shaman Thrall agreed upon a course of action and fought to bring the Dragon Soul to bear against the Destroyer and bring about his final end. The flight was ultimately destroyed by heroes of the Alliance and Horde, through the aid of the four other dragonflights, and even with the aid of one of their own: the uncorrupted Wrathion, a simple but very powerful whelp due to the experimentation on his egg by the red dragonflight. He has been orchestrating the assassinations of his remaining dragonkin siblings and even ordered the death of his own father, Deathwing. After Deathwing's fall, he went into hiding, believing to be the last known black dragon to exist.[75]

However, Wrathion was not the last of the black dragons alive on Azeroth. Some time before the destruction of Theramore, Jaina commented that some black dragons still existed in Dustwallow Marsh.[76] In Outland, Sabellian and his group of dragons continued to live there, and the Black prince was unaware of them.[77]

At some point after the Cataclysm, black drakes and whelps were present in the Charred Vale in the Stonetalon Mountains, they surrounded Aramar Thorne and his friends. One of the drakes took hold of Makasa Flintwill until it was defeated by Llaran and Iyneath of the Sentinels.[78]

Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor This section concerns content related to Warlords of Draenor.

During the War in Draenor, remnants of the flight could be found in Hordemar City, in the Blackrock Spire. Dragonspawn Refugees were also visible from the bridge where Ragewing the Untamed was battled. A dragonman named of Kyrak also joined the Iron Horde and created Drakonid monstrosities for Warlord Zaela.[79]

Battle for Azeroth

Battle for Azeroth This section concerns content related to Battle for Azeroth.

At the time of the Fourth War, though the black dragons and their flight were supposed to be decimated, black dragons, black drakonid, and black dragonspawn appeared on island expeditions and the pristine state of their scales indicated that they were young.[80] These dragons also referred to themselves as "the earth-warders" and claimed the Azerite as theirs by right,[81] Ravenian, Tyrantion and Stygia were among them, and were accompanied by several dragonmen.

After the defeat of N'Zoth, Wrathion stated his intent to have the black dragonflight honor its ancient charge to defend the world once again.[82]


Dragonflight This section concerns content related to Dragonflight.

The Obsidian Brood returning to the Dragon Isles.

When the Dragon Isles were uncovered, Sabellian returned from Outland along with the Obsidian Brood, a clutch of uncorrupted black dragons, as well as a clutch of eggs.[83]

Despite the red dragonflight's warnings, Wrathion and his Blacktalon forces besieged the Obsidian Citadel; the ancient home of the black dragonflight. Fortunately, the assault was spared massive casualties by the unexpected arrival of Sabellian and the Obsidian Brood. The two forces claimed the Obsidian Throne, the apex of the citadel and the literal throne of the leader of the flight. Wrathion and Sabellian then began competing for leadership of the black flight, both stating themselves as the heirs of Neltharion. Wrathion claims his deeds earn him the position while Sabellian claims his leadership of the remaining black dragons and shepherding of the flight's eggs earns him it.[84]

If for a long time the magic of the black dragons was feared due to the corruption of their flight by the Old Gods, after the reopening of the academy, Archivist Edress received the opportunity to become a teacher. She was then able to pass her knowledge to a full class of students, delighted that their ways will not be lost to the ravages of time.[85]

Another group known as the Worldbreakers also formed; led in secret by remnants of the Twilight's Hammer who were attempting to deceive the black dragonkin of the isles.[86]

Notable members

Main article: Black dragonflight members
Ebyssian, the Earth-Warder.
Name Type Role Status Location
Neutral  Ebyssian Aspect Son of Neltharion, rescued as an egg from Neltharion's Lair by Huln Highmountain and purified by the  [Hammer of Khaz'goroth]. Became aspect with the support of Wrathion and Sabellian. Alive Various
Neutral  Wrathion Drake The Black Prince, son of Nyxondra and grandson of Deathwing. Leader of the Blacktalon. Diplomat of the black dragonflight. Alive Various
Neutral  Sabellian Dragon Son and former lieutenant of Deathwing. Leader of the Obsidian Brood. General of the black dragonflight. Alive Various
Neutral IconSmall Neltharion.gifIconSmall Deathwing.gif Deathwing Aspect Aspect of the black dragonflight, Aspect of Death, former Earth-Warder, creator of the Demon Soul and instigator of the Cataclysm. Deceased Various
Neutral  Sintharia Dragon Prime consort of Deathwing, Matriarch of the black dragonflight and twilight dragonflight. Deceased Various
Neutral IconSmall Nefarian.gif Nefarian Dragon Son of Deathwing and Sintharia, Lord of Blackrock Spire, creator of the chromatic dragonflight. Deceased Various
Neutral IconSmall Onyxia.gif Onyxia Dragon Daughter of Deathwing and Sintharia, temporary broodmother of the flight, manipulated the Stormwind court as Katrana Prestor. Deceased Various

In the RPG

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

A black dragon in the RPG.

Black dragons are associated with earth. The term "dragon" is sometimes used instead of the term "mature" to describe the adult phase of a black dragon's lifecycle, between adolescence and becoming a wyrm. They are 100–500 years old.[87]


Black dragons are large creatures that are carnivorous. They spend their time hunting, as well as watching the various wars around the world, and can often be found torturing prisoners, animals, or anything else unfortunate enough to fall into their care. A black dragon is a large, thickly-built creature with a massive chest and a long, sinuous neck. Its hide is a rich, lustrous black with large scales that are supple yet hard as rock. A crest made of peaked bone spikes runs from its head and down its back, and bristles when the great beast grows angry. Its fangs shine a coppery-red, and deep inside its mouth a constant sulfurous light emits a faint glow. Most civilized races say that black dragons have a cruel, callous look to their serpentine faces. Black dragons do not shed individual scales, but rather molt once a year — usually by spending a week resting within a lava flow of an active volcano, which peels off and consumes their discarded skin. The skin of a black dragon nearing its molt grows dull and grey.

Most black dragons appear with their horns and wings in a shade of orange to brown, but a few females appear with purplish wings and horns. Deathwing himself appears black, plated with adamantium, with fiery veins running across his body.

Age Cycle

Black whelps are trained to kill from the moment they emerge from their eggs; in some cases, they are ready to fight even before that. Terrible and vicious, these predators delight in inflicting pain on the mortal races. Though many can speak Common and Draconic, they typically do so only to get close enough to strike. The dragon's dark scales make it almost impossible to see as it moves in and out of the shadows.

Unlike most other dragons at their age, black dragons are nearly fearless, quite willing to die in a bloody frenzy in order to inflict as pain as they can on their targets. As such, they are incredibly dangerous, especially in groups; and this is exactly how they like to fight. If encountered alone, a black whelp retreats to find more of its kind, then return to tear apart whatever has invaded their domain. They focus on the same target as the oldest dragon, killing enemies one by one. Whelps delight in using their breath weapons.[88]

The average black drake's goal in life is no less than to become Deathwing's right hand (or replacement) and thus to control the rest of the flight in conquering or destroying the natural world. Black dragon society is ruled by the powerful, and its “laws” are enforced by brute strength, cunning, and magical power. By this age, a black drake has already proven itself to be a survivor; most blacks don't even make it to adulthood, with nearly every creature in the world, including its own kind, looking to take its head or its hide.

The black dragon's murderous intent is clear from its posture even before one has a chance to look into its eyes. Massive yet sinuous, the dragon spreads its wings and roars in challenge, jaws snapping the air in anticipation. The midnight scales reflect the ambient light brightly, making the beast look even more nightmarish.

Black drakes use every dirty trick, stratagem, and advantage they have to incapacitate or kill their enemies as swiftly and easily as possible. If all else fails, they retreat, no doubt with a plan for vengeance already forming in their minds. When working with a group, they are as showy as possible, trying to assert their dominance and skill over the others, while in reality trying to expend their own energy as little as possible. Drakes use their fiery breath as frequently as possible, but also use flight to their advantage, keeping a distance from opponents on the ground and making strafing flyby attacks. Those who train as spellcasters prefer offensive and manipulative spells, but most drake spellcasters also prepare a few spells intended to help them escape more quickly if all goes badly.

Black drakes speak Common and Draconic, and some speak other languages as well.[89]


Although overconfident, black dragons are canny. On spotting a target, black dragons may make a snap decision to attack rather than following and considering the enemy party's size or strength. Still, they will not land until all ranged fire has ended and the enemy seems routed. Black dragons will not remain committed to battle unless certain they can win or unless the enemy taunts them beyond the point of reason. They are not interested in material possessions and are more than willing to leave behind physical goods. They are drawn to prisoners, particularly nobles and children. If the situation seems desperate, a black dragon will flee with a prisoner in each clawed fist. Although they are not as large as some other dragonflights, they use daring and savage intellect to entrap and destroy their enemies. Black dragons prefer to flame their prey, trapping targets on dangerous ground before swooping in for the kill. They are vicious fighters and rarely retreat. They are most often encountered alone, as they are jealous of sharing kills with another. Still, families with a new clutch of drakes or a clutch of enslaved black dragons are not unknown.[90]

Culture and society

Onyxia (both forms) in Dark Factions.

Black dragons were once earth-warders, caring for stone and mountain using their formidable abilities to cause the rise and fall of terrain. They were to watch as the world of Azeroth changed and to maintain the boundaries and lines of delineation between the races so that none would fall to war over land. They maintained this purpose for a time, living in relative harmony with the other races and shaping the land to better use. In those peaceful times, their leader was known as Neltharion, and his wisdom and power were renowned.[91]

Then came the madness that destroyed Neltharion's mind. As the black dragonflight followed their leader into madness, so did their powers. He lowered mountains and destroyed land so that races would mingle and fight over territory. They traded their gifts over earth for the powers of fire and magma. Destruction was their art and death was their goal. All the other dragons of Azeroth have fought against Deathwing's flight at every opportunity.[91]

At this time, Deathwing was known as Neltharion. When Neltharion was influenced by the Old Gods he no longer was Neltharion but became Deathwing. He began a policy opposite his charge by the titans. He lowered mountains so that races would mingle and destroyed land so that the races would fight each other. His occupation became death. They traded their powers of earth for the powers of fire and magma.

All other dragons of Azeroth fight against Deathwing's flight. They are also very hateful to other except their flight, when in mortal form.

In modern times black dragons are some of the most evil, sadistic creatures known on the face of Azeroth. Black dragons are vicious, selfish beings, not caring even for the lives of their flightmates and children, often killing other blacks to rise in prominence among the flight. Before Deathwing's disappearance, the black dragons sought to emulate their dark master. A wyrm's goal in life was to become the foul black aspect's right hand or even replace him entirely, caring little for any other blacks that got in the way of this goal. Nowadays the black dragonflight is in civil war. With their leader, missing from the black flight, each individual desires to become the new leader of their dark kind.[91] Most black dragons follow the instructions of another only if they expect a benefit or they're confident that the other dragon could eat them.[92]

Black dragons spend their time hunting, as well as watching the various wars around the world, and can often be found torturing prisoners, animals, or anything else unfortunate enough to fall into their care. The Aspect of the black flight, Deathwing, is one of the fiercest and most evil creatures in existence. In his lifetime, he has destroyed many ancient cities. Deathwing often makes deals with the intelligent races, trading members of his dragonflight for slaves and humanoid torture subjects.[91]


Prior to the War of the Ancients the black dragons were numerous and co-existed peacefully with the other dragonflights, working together to safeguard their world. But this age would not last forever.[93]

After having wiped out nearly every member of the flight, the black dragons were not ready to leave the last few blues in peace. The survivors of the blue dragonflight fled to Northrend, then Deathwing attacked the blue dragons, slaughtering them by the dozens. The survivors fought back but were no match for Deathwing's ferocity. In the process, their homes were destroyed and the land so damaged it could never recover. That area became the Dragonblight.[94] Over what is now Crystalsong Forest another battle between the blacks and blues was waged, and many blue dragons died. Their magic released into the air and settled as glittering light on the ground and the rocks and the trees. Finally, an elder blue dragon, beset by many blacks, unleashed a powerful spell to strip the life from his attackers and turn them to stone. The loose magic altered and amplified the spell, spreading it across the entire region and changing soil and stone and wood and flesh into a living crystal.[95]

In the early years following the sundering, is said that Deathwing's black flight attempted to subjugate the bronze dragons. The assault was unsuccessful, primarily because the bronze dragons did not stay and fight as expected. His command of time offering insight into the blacks' plans, Nozdormu alerted his flight of the danger. The bronze dragonflight scattered to the four corners of the globe, where they continued to monitor events.[96]

As a mount

Black drake

As a companion pet

As a toy

A player in Blackwhelp form.



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.
  • The fate of the black dragon mounts of the Dragonmaw clan is unknown. However, the proto-dragons being used by the Dragonmaw clan in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid may prove that their black dragons are dead as well, and they have decided to use proto-dragons instead.
  • Since Deathwing never put his power inside the Dragon Soul unlike the other four Aspects, then the black flight should in theory still be able to breed even after the others became sterile following Cataclysm.
    • Given that Sabellian seems to have several clutches of eggs; to the point where it's even an item in the form of  [Obsidian Egg Clutch], this may be the case.
  • The black dragons and dragonkin who sought out Azerite may have some connection to the Worldbreaker sect found on the Dragon Isles, as they are stated to have previously called themselves Earth-Warders prior to the infiltration of the Twilight's Hammer and also ignore the happenings of the greater black dragonflight.


Black drakes
Black whelps


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  3. ^ Dawn of the Aspects
  4. ^ The Well of Eternity, pg. 193
  5. ^ N [60-62] Lessons From Our Past
  6. ^ a b Legacies Chapter Three
  7. ^ N IconSmall Dracthyr Male.gifIconSmall Dracthyr Female.gif Evoker [65-68] For Blue Eyes Only
  8. ^ Charge of the Aspects
  9. ^ The Demon Soul, pg. 305
  10. ^ Prince Toreth
  11. ^ a b "The War of the Ancients" (HTML). Official World of Warcraft Site. Retrieved on 2011-10-27.
  12. ^ N [60-62] Stay a While
  13. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual, pg. 142
  14. ^ The Well of Eternity, 245
  15. ^ Day of the Dragon, pg. 345
  16. ^ a b The Sundering, pg. 346-347
  17. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 139 - 141
  18. ^ N [10-45] An Ancient Secret
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  20. ^ Day of the Dragon, pg. 359 - 360
  21. ^ Day of the Dragon, pg. 53
  22. ^ Beyond the Dark Portal, "8": 107-22.
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  24. ^ Netherwing#Faction description
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  30. ^ H [15-30] The Brood of Onyxia
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  35. ^ World of Warcraft: The Comic, Issue 15: Conflicting Loyalties
  36. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 121
  37. ^ N [60-62] Heir Apparent
  38. ^ A [20-30] Massacre at Gruul's Lair
  39. ^ A [20-30G] Showdown
  40. ^ N [20-30] Whelps of the Wyrmcult
  41. ^ Sintharia#Meeting with Overlord Mor'ghor
  42. ^ Osoria: "The Outlands was a harsh unforgiving place, but we bent the Blade's Edge mountains to our will."
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  46. ^ N [30] Sartharion Must Die!
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  49. ^  [Stood in the Fire]
  50. ^ B [15-30] Draconic Vanguard
  51. ^ A [7-30] Darkblaze, Brood of the World Breaker
  52. ^ A [7-30] Triumphant Return
  53. ^ A [10-30] The Crazed Dragonmaw
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  59. ^ N [30-35] A Fitting End
  60. ^ N [30-35] Blackout
  61. ^ N [30-35] Last of Her Kind
  62. ^ N [30-35] Enter the Dragon Queen
  63. ^ N [30-35] Battle of Life and Death
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  66. ^ Sinestra (tactics)#Adventure Guide
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  68. ^ A [10-30] Hungry Pups
  69. ^ A [10-30] Brood of Seldarria
  70. ^ H [5-30] Easy is Boring
  71. ^ H [5-30] Fade to Black
  72. ^ N [30-35D] Doing it the Hard Way
  73. ^ N [30-35] Myzerian's Head
  74. ^ N [30-35D] Doing it the Hard Way
  75. ^ N Rogue [35] Patricide
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  77. ^ Ask CDev Round 3
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  80. ^ N [10-50] Unscarred Black Scale
  81. ^ Ravenian says: We are the earth-warders, and you take what is not yours, softskin!
  82. ^ Wrathion says: Know that from this day forth, the black dragonflight will honor its ancient charge and stand in defense of our world... along with its champions.
  83. ^ N [60-62] The Courage of One's Convictions
  84. ^ N [60-62] Restoring the Faith
  85. ^ Archivist Edress#Quotes
  86. ^ N [70W] Same as the Old Boss
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  88. ^ Monster Guide, pg. 40
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  92. ^ Dark Factions, pg. 147
  93. ^ Monster Guide, pg. 39
  94. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 96
  95. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 97
  96. ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 33