War of the Thorns

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Battle for Azeroth War of the Thorns
Teldrassil Burning.jpg
Location Ashenvale, Darkshore, Felwood, Teldrassil, Veiled Sea

Tactical Horde victory


Alliance Alliance


Horde Horde

Commanders and leaders

Alliance Alliance


Horde Horde

Casualties and losses

Alliance Alliance

  • Massive

Horde Horde

  • Heavy
Previous Third invasion of the Burning Legion
Next Battle for Lordaeron

“O little last one, listen / To the song my broken heart will ever sing / Of the story of the Tree of the World
And the death of all the dreams / It once cradled in its mighty boughs.”

Tyrande Whisperwind[1]

The War of the Thorns was a major conflict fought between the Alliance and Horde for possession of Northern Kalimdor, which culminated in the Burning of Teldrassil[1] — the destruction of the eponymous World Tree. Most of the fighting occurred in the regions of Darkshore and Ashenvale, in night elven territory. Survivors from Teldrassil were evacuated to both Stormwind City and Azuremyst Isle as refugees,[2] while overall night elven power on Kalimdor was severely reduced.

This event caused the escalation of the conflict between the Horde and Alliance in the form of a battle for Azeroth, and directly led to immediate Alliance retaliation with King Anduin ordering the retaking of Lordaeron.

In-game, the War of the Thorns served as the limited-time pre-expansion event for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, with faction-specific questlines taking place in Ashenvale and Darkshore along with world quests in the latter.


With the emergence of Azerite, Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner feared that the Alliance would use it to build powerful weapons, which they would sooner or later turn upon the Undercity and Silvermoon City, before their gaze fell upon Kalimdor. She thus preemptively struck by launching a campaign to capture the World Tree Teldrassil which the Alliance used as a safe harbor to funnel Azerite from Kalimdor to the Eastern Kingdoms.

By occupying Darnassus, the Horde could control the flow of Azerite and ensure that it could not be used against them. The Alliance would also not dare attack the city for fear of hurting the civilians. Knowing the night elves would resist them at every step of the way, including during occupation, she also planned to kill Malfurion Stormrage. Losing someone in whom they had absolute trust and faith, a living symbol of hope, would assuredly break their spirits.[3]


Moments before the Burning of Teldrassil
Burn it!

Following the war with the Burning Legion, the Alliance and Horde's navies were diminished. With both factions debilitated in their ability to reinforce Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, the Horde came up with a plan to secure Kalimdor and elicit a political crisis in the Alliance that would lead to its downfall. After luring a majority of the night elven forces to Silithus through misinformation, the Horde would seek to hold Darnassus hostage and use the political crisis to sow division in the Alliance. Furthermore, Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner wanted to kill Malfurion Stormrage in order to kill the kaldorei's spirit and end them as a nation.[4]

When Sylvanas Windrunner launched a sneak attack on Ashenvale, the majority of the night elf army was close to Silithus and couldn't get back to defend. It would take time for the Alliance navy to arrive as well. The defense of northern Kalimdor thus relied on Malfurion Stormrage, Captain Delaryn Summermoon and her City Guard forces, and brave champions of the Alliance. Knowing their chances of fending off the Horde army were slim to none, the Alliance have begun to evacuate night elven and Gilnean civilians to Stormwind.[5]

The Horde started by sending Horde rogues to attack night elf patrols and outposts in Ashenvale. Once the main Horde army arrived in Ashenvale, they faced fierce resistance at Falfarren River. The Horde overcame the night elf defenders but were still harried by the night elves' guerrilla warfare. The night elves had lured High Overlord Saurfang into an ambush in Astranaar, but they failed to assassinate him. The Horde then progressed into Darkshore, where Malfurion confronted Sylvanas. He raised an immense, magical wall of wisps that blocked their way. Furthermore, the night elf fleet had returned to aid in the kaldorei's defense. The Horde thus fell back onto Zoram'gar Outpost, with their intention to conquer the World Tree before Stormwind's reinforcements arrive. Malfurion ordered Delaryn to find any defenders she could rally at Lor'danel.[5]

Sylvanas meanwhile ordered Varok Saurfang to scale the mountains of Felwood and attack from the north. After a quick aerial scouting mission, Sylvanas took the champion and a handful of her remaining forces to the wall and used her banshee abilities to open enough of a gap for the group to sneak through. The Horde forces immediately started attacking night elf defenders at the Master's Glaive. Meanwhile, Morka Bruggu led a group of Horde infiltrators and managed to covertly commandeer some of the night elven ships from the kaldorei fleet.[4]

The night elf forces set up a front at Wildbend River and have drawn the battle into a stalemate. The leaders thus fell back to Darnassus and Blackwood Den to prepare. As the last defenders rallied, the Horde warhorns sounded from the north. Saurfang's battalions finally arrived, trapping Lor'danel from both sides. While helping trapped citizens escape and assisting the fight at Lor'danel, Malfurion and Sylvanas locked in one-on-one combat once more.

As Sylvanas was losing the battle, Saurfang snuck up behind Malfurion and incapacitated him with a throw of his axe, gravely wounding him. Sylvanas praised Saurfang's effort, whereas he felt the blow dishonorable, then gave him the order to execute Malfurion. As Tyrande arrived on the scene, she questioned why Saurfang would not kill Malfurion, to which he felt he did not deserve to due to his dishonorable actions. Tyrande then gave Saurfang a choice - attempt to stop her from taking him away and die, or remain there and live - to which Saurfang offered her one of his own: take Malfurion and flee or attempt to stop the Horde's capture of Teldrassil and die. Tyrande chose the former, hearthing both herself and Malfurion back to Stormwind with a hearthstone given to her by Anduin Wrynn, while Saurfang went to join Sylvanas on the beach of Darkshore. News of Malfurion's survival upset Sylvanas and she felt Darnassus' conquering would not be enough of a fatal wound for the Alliance.[4]

Teldrassil burning in Old Soldier

When Sylvanas gave Nathanos and Saurfang the orders to secure the beach and prepare to invade Teldrassil, she noticed a gravely wounded Delaryn Summermoon, who then explained that only innocents remained in Teldrassil and that Sylvanas's war was one of hatred and rage. She attempted to remind Sylvanas of her former life, to which Sylvanas experienced a flashback of her inability to stop the Scourge's invasion of Quel'Thalas. Sylvanas explained that life was pain and that hope fails, telling Delaryn not to grieve, for she would soon join her loved ones. Delaryn explained that she grieved for Sylvanas, for she had made life her enemy, and that was a war she could never win; that she could kill her people, but she could never kill hope. In response to this, Sylvanas turned Delaryn's head to gaze at Teldrassil in her final moments, then gave Nathanos the order to burn Teldrassil, to which he and the rest of the Horde present complied.[6]


After the battle, Darnassus and Teldrassil are no longer available to players. In Teldrassil's place is a rendering of the burning tree, but players are prevented from accessing it by an invisible wall. Zidormi appears just outside Lor'danel and offers to take player characters back in time to before the battle, just as she does in other locations like Theramore, the Blasted Lands, and Silithus. Should players try to Teleport or use a mage portal to reach Darnassus, they will instead land on a small rise on the beach just outside Lor'danel.

Teldrassil's surviving population has moved to Stormwind, Azuremyst Isle,[2] and Mount Hyjal.[7] Meanwhile other surviving night elves ended up joining the Druids of the Flame.[8]

At level 120, the  [Bloodied Sentinel's Glaive] can be found next to the body of Captain Delaryn Summermoon in Mist's Edge, and offers B [50] Bloodied Sentinel's Glaive.

Some time later, the souls of many night elves who died in the Burning were saved from torture in the Maw and brought to Ardenweald, an afterlife for servants of nature.[9]

Detailed account

This is a detailed account of the in-game event and storyline. For the novelization, see Alliance Elegy and Horde A Good War.

Alliance Alliance side

The Horde invasion

Night elven defenders facing orcish invaders.

King Anduin Wrynn received disturbing messages from Alliance operatives stationed in Orgrimmar.[10] Reports indicated that Warchief Sylvanas was mobilizing an army to march on Silithus, the site of the great Wound and a hotbed for Azerite. Given the potential of Azerite to change the face of warfare, it came as no surprise that she sought to lay claim to it.[11] A significant kaldorei fleet immediately set sail for Silithus to deter the Horde's campaign, but new information came to light. The Sentinels have begun to receive reports of their patrols and outposts coming under attack by Horde rogues. One such attack led to the assassination of Commander Anaris Windwood. Delaryn Summermoon managed to capture Rifen, the Horde rogue who perpetrated the assassination and interrogated him. Rifen revealed that the Horde's campaign in Silithus was a ruse and that their true objective is the invasion of Ashenvale and the conquering of Darnassus. Dalaryn, Anaris' successor and now commander of Ashenvale's defense, sent Sentinel Eriadnar to warn Malfurion Stormrage of the Horde invasion while she and Ashenvale's defense force hold off the coming army.[5] Meanwhile, the Horde had diverted at the north fork of the Barrens and had started marching on Ashenvale. The kaldorei fleet was already halfway to Silithus by then, leaving the Darnassian City Guard led by Captain Delaryn Summermoon as the only remaining defenders in the area. Knowing their chances of stopping the Horde army were slim to none, Captain Summermoon hoped that her forces could buy enough time for the Alliance to evacuate the night elf and Gilnean civilians to Stormwind.[5]

Falfarren River

As the main Horde army marched through Ashenvale, they faced their first resistance at Falfarren River. The night elf defenders led by Captain Delaryn Summermoon burned down the connecting bridges of the river, halting the Horde army and harrying them with arrows. Varok Saurfang ordered siege weapons to fire covering fire while the Horde tried to swim across the river. However, night elf magi began to covertly destroy siege weapons on the Horde's side of the river. Meanwhile, the night elf druids traveled through Ashenvale's canopy and were using guerrilla warfare to reinforce hot spots. Sylvanas and her archers went on to snipe all the night elf magi and provided intelligence and range support. Saurfang had his spellcasters enchant his catapults, using the flash of their exploding payloads to reveal hidden enemies. When it was safe to proceed, Varok had Horde magi freeze the river so his army could cross. Malfurion Stormrage arrived just as the Horde army breached the night elves' side of the river. Malfurion ordered a majority of the night elf defenders to fall back, while he and a few defenders covered their retreat from the forests. As the Horde army tried to get into a defensive formation, Malfurion made himself visible in the forest so that he could pick off the clusters of Horde soldiers foolish enough to pursue him. Malfurion and Saurfang exchanged words before Malfurion too fell back.[5] [4]

Delaryn Summermoon's forces gathered in Astranaar to halt the Horde's advance. Knowing that the defenders couldn't last long against the Horde army, the Alliance launched its Stormwind fleet to reinforce Darnassus, recalled the night elf fleet,[5] and sent champions to buy time for the navy to arrive.[12]


A night elven druid fighting an orc warrior.

Captain Summermoon collected nearby night elf corpses and placed them in Astranaar, masking their wounds to make them look as if a battle had taken place in Astranaar, before hiding around the town to ambush the Horde forces. When High Overlord Saurfang arrived and took residence in the Astranaar inn, a night elf rogue named Tavar disguised himself as a Forsaken and tried to lure Saurfang into the open for an ambush. The orcs saw through the deception, however, and killed him. Saurfang went outside the inn to berate his guards about the lax security, almost dropping his guard. However, the orc realized the danger and tried to return to the safety of the inn. Fortunately, Malfurion Stormrage arrived and attacked with nature's fury, consequently allowing Delaryn's forces to leap from the trees and ambush the Horde soldiers in the chaos. The attack nearly succeeded — the Horde soldiers were taken by surprise and Malfurion had summoned an overgrowth to crush the inn that he had pursued Saurfang to; burying Saurfang in the inn's collapsing rubble. Warchief Sylvanas joined the fray, however, and rallied the Horde's forces. The Horde waylaid the night elves and forced Malfurion and the night elves to retreat. Unfortunately, the night elves later discovered Saurfang had survived his encounter with Malfurion.[5]

When the Alliance champions arrived, the village of Astranaar was burning. Bodies littered the ground. They found Captain Summermoon kneeling before the corpse of Captain Alennah Starsong. She explained that they tried to set a trap for the Horde, but it failed, and they could not stop them. Their outposts were taken by surprise, falling one by one, the guards poisoned. Not even the civilians were spared. The loss of life was clearly visible by the abundance of wisps.[12] Despite the urgency of the situation, Summermoon insisted for the bodies of the fallen soldiers to be honored properly, allowing their wisps proper release.[13] The Forsaken Assassins that still skulked within the village were dealt with as well.[14]

In the distance, Delaryn heard something going on. The champions rushed to Darkshore to find Sylvanas Windrunner and her grunts rooted by vines summoned by Malfurion Stormrage. As the grunts broke free and charged the archdruid, he summoned an immense, magical wall of wisps. The orcs were slain as they tried to pass through it. They did not harm the champions, however, who joined Malfurion's side.[15]


Malfurion explained that when the Horde invaded, he did his best to thwart them, but many forces still made passage already. The wall would slow them down, but it would not halt their attack entirely. He then heard the Ancients call to them. Champions were sent to the Twilight Vale to find the druids present and send them to the Ancients' protection.[16]

The ruin wrought by the Horde was also driving the children of the forest mad, chief among being the Blackwood furbolgs. They gave into the madness and became a threat to everyone. If left to their madness, they could strike the night elven from behind while they engaged the Horde, leaving them to fight a battle on two fronts. Though it pained him to ask this, he asked the champions to put them out of their misery before they endangered anyone else.[17]

Captain Delaryn Summermoon then arrived with dire news. Horde forces had gathered at the Zoram'gar Outpost. Malfurion understood that the Banshee Queen sought to capture the World Tree. He tasked Delaryn with traveling to the night elven outposts and gathering every soldier she could find. Meanwhile, word was sent to the night elven fleet to return. Since Sylvanas sought to engage Malfurion, he planned to give her what she wanted.

Twilight Vale

The Horde encroaching on the forest.

After the furbolgs were slain and the Druids of the Claw were dispatched to the Grove of the Ancients, the champions met with Delaryn and encountered goblins and their infernal machine desecrating the grove. The Monstrous Shredder was brought down by the druids and the champion, while Delaryn drove the invaders away.[18] The defenders then gathered around the Ancient of Lore Onu. He explained that the ancients of the forest were all connected to one another and that they could sense a disturbance from deep within their roots. He could feel the rumble of the footsteps in the distance, the thundering clamor of war. With every branch they were breaking, they awakened the ancients. His brethren were about to answer in kind, for nothing should disrupt the balance of nature.

Meanwhile, the champions and Delaryn went to investigate one such disturbance within Blackwood Den, where furbolgs were crying for help.[19] The Horde had set up camp in their den. Having been ousted from their own is what had sent the Blackwood furbolg into a frenzy. The heroes saved some of the furbolg, and sabotaged some of the Horde's terrible war machines, saving dozens of lives.[20]

Returning to Onu, the disturbance had become more severe. He sensed a powerful force unlike anything he had felt before, coming from the earth itself. Delaryn and the champion went to investigate it at Nazj'vel. There, Horde forces had taken the Master's Glaive, and were now bombarding the island for an unknown reason. Nazj'vel was glowing, and while the night elves believed it was Elune's light, as they got closer they realized it was from the many Azerite deposits that had appeared, and which the Horde desired.[21]

It was Azerite that was hurting Onu. The night elves could not let the Horde retrieve, and weaponize, all of the mineral, and set out to collect as much as possible,[22] while killing the Horde forces present.[23] Then, Malfurion's voice was heard. With the Horde pressing further into Darkshore, he called for everyone to rally at the Wildbend River.

Stalemate at the river

There, the night elven armies were clashing with the Horde forces across the river. The former were joined by numerous mighty Ancients, who lifted and threw gigantic boulders on the invading forces.[24] The champions rode onto the ancients, who crossed the bank of the river and smashed into the Horde forces.[25]

But for every foe slain, two more took their place. Despite their efforts, the defenders were too few in number to stand toe to toe. Malfurion, the champions, and Delaryn fell back and regrouped in Darnassus.[26] In order to break the stalemate at the river, Delaryn and the champion called upon all the strength of Darnassus's forces.

They rallied the druids, the priestesses of the Moon, the Sentinels, and many others including dryads and treants. Myara Sunsong, the Captain of the Darnassian Army, sent huntresses and glaive throwers to reinforce the southern border of Darkshore, Sentinels to create a battle line at the Wildbend River and rouse their allies at the Grove of the Ancients, and she took hippogryph archers with herself to form a mobile response unit and regroup in Lor'danel. Astarii Starseeker sent words to the High Priestess as well. With the Darnassian forces rallied, the champion rejoined with Malfurion at Rut'theran Village. The night elven fleet had finally returned.[27]

Threat from the North

The night elven fleet finally arrives from Silithus.

Taken by complete surprise, the night elves realized that a Horde army was approaching from the North. They had scaled the mountains of Felwood. Malfurion also sensed that the wisps were growing disoriented, and the wall was failing. He transformed into a crow and Delaryn jumped on her hippogryph. The enemy was advancing upon Lor'danel.[28] The suddenness of the Horde's attack gave citizens little time to flee. Many were hiding in Lor'danel, waiting for help. Malfurion had the civilians located and sent to safety.[29]

The druid believed that it was only a matter of time before the Horde broke through and attacked from both sides. Sylvanas sought to engage Malfurion, so he decided to give her what she wanted and left Lor'danel, to try to locate the Warchief. In his absence, Commander Summermoon would lead the defense of Lor'danel.[30] She tasked the champion with slaying two of the Horde's strongest warriors who had led a charge to try and capture the night elven fleet, which they would then use to sail them to Darnassus.[31] Despite the kaldorei's best efforts, Morka Bruggu led a group of Horde infiltrators and managed to covertly commandeer some of the night elven ships.[4]


Teldrassil burning.

Despite everything, the Horde was relentless. Lor'danel was overrun. The only solution left for Delaryn was to send the champion to seek her Shan'do and ask for his guidance. The champion found Malfurion southwest of Lor'danel, locked in a fight with the Banshee Queen whom he had rooted. They witnessed Varok Saurfang approaching the archdruid from behind, and tossing his axe at Stormrage. Sylvanas incapacitated the champion and congratulated the orc, before asking him to finish the druid and leaving for the shore. Saurfang knelt on the ground. He had dealt a dishonorable blow, it had not been his place to interfere. He regretted his action.

At that moment, Tyrande Whisperwind arrived. She took Malfurion, but knew that the war was lost, and that Teldrassil would soon fall. She asked the champion to take her hippogryph to Darnassus and make the Horde's occupation as "tolerable" as possible. She would use the hearthstone that King Anduin gave her to leave for Stormwind, to tend her love's wound, and help her people find respite from this madness. The orc let them leave, before joining his Warchief on the beach.[32]

Burning of Teldrassil

On the ravaged shore, Sylvanas ordered the Horde to secure the beach, and prepare to invade the tree. Amidst the corpses, she found a mortally-wounded Captain Delaryn Summermoon. Despite all that had transpired, the spirit of the night elf remained whole. Her people would heal. She told the Banshee Queen that she could never win, for she could not kill hope. Sylvanas calmly turned the commander's head toward the tree, and ordered her troops to set it ablaze.[6]

The champion's hippogryph reached Darnassus as it was already burning. Many of the city's structures had already caught fire. They met with Mia Greymane at the Temple of Elune, who asked them to help evacuate the city before it burned to ash. They doused the flames, rescued the trapped civilians within the buildings, and saved as many lives as possible. Eventually, smoke filled their own lungs, and they passed out.[33] They awakened back at the Temple, with Mia kneeling over them and carrying a night elf child. She asked Astarii to hurry and evacuate but, exhausted, she fainted. Mia and the child were subsequently trapped underneath some collapsing rubble, causing Astarii and a night elf mage to try to dig her and the night elf infant out.

At that moment, her husband Genn emerged from the Stormwind portal and rushed to her. Genn managed to dig her out and told Mia she couldn't stay in Darnassus any longer. Genn urged her to escape to the human capital of Stormwind, but a half-conscious and injured Mia told Genn to take the night elf child and leaver her. Genn refused and carried both the night elf child and Mia, determined not to lose either of them. Genn urged Astarii to escape with them, but Astarii and the other priestesses were determined to stay behind and pray for the comfort of those that could not be evacuated. Genn wished for Astarii's goddess to watch over her one last time before Genn, Mia, the Alliance champion, and the night elf child escaped the burning city together.[5][34]

Ending dialogue

At Stormwind Keep, King Anduin addresses the champion:

Anduin Wrynn says: You have shown courage and heart, champion. On this, one of the Alliance's darkest days.
Anduin Wrynn says: My whole life, I have prayed for peace in this world.
Anduin Wrynn says: But that dream can never be realized so long as Sylvanas Windrunner leads the Horde.
Anduin Wrynn says: She expects this atrocity to crush our spirits. Shatter our unity. But this I vow...
Anduin Wrynn says: The Alliance will endure... and the Banshee Queen's insidious reign will be ended.

Horde Horde side

The Warchief's agenda

The Horde armies leaving Orgrimmar.

Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner organized a meeting with other faction leaders in her chambers in the Undercity, where privacy could be assured. Orgrimmar had indeed become riddled with SI:7 spies.[35] The Banshee Queen explained that an army led by High Overlord Saurfang was advancing towards Silithus to mislead the Alliance. It had reached the Northern Barrens by now. She sent a champion to notify Saurfang that the preparations were complete. The army was to actually march onto the World Tree of Teldrassil.[3]

The massive army was halted at the Gold Road, awaiting the moment they should divert. They were now ready for a coordinated, synchronized attack on key night elven outposts in Ashenvale. The goal was to quickly destroy the kaldorei's defenses and clear a path all the way to Darkshore, and conquer Teldrassil before the reinforcements that Stormwind would surely send arrived. While Saurfang diverted the troops, he sent the champion to Lorash, the operative outside Astranaar, for further instruction.[36]

Falfarren River

As the main Horde army marched through Ashenvale, they faced their first resistance at Falfarren River. The night elf defenders led by Captain Delaryn Summermoon burned down the connecting bridges of the river, halting the Horde army and harrying them with arrows. Varok Saurfang ordered siege weapons to fire covering fire while the Horde tried to swim across the river. However, night elf magi began to covertly destroy siege weapons on the Horde's side of the river. Meanwhile, the night elf druids traveled through Ashenvale's canopy and was using guerrilla warfare to reinforce hot spots. Sylvanas and her archers went on to snipe all the night elf magi and provided intelligence and range support. Saurfang had his spellcasters enchant his catapults, using the flash of their exploding payloads to reveal hidden enemies. When it was safe to proceed, Varok had Horde magi freeze the river so his army could cross. Malfurion Stormrage arrived just as the Horde army breached the night elves' side of the river. Malfurion ordered a majority of the night elf defenders to fall back, while he and a few defenders covered their retreat from the forests. As the Horde army tried to get into a defensive formation, Malfurion made himself visible in the forest so that he could pick off the clusters of Horde soldiers foolish enough to pursue him. Malfurion and Saurfang exchanged words before Malfurion too fell back.[5][4]


Astranaar under Horde control.

In Astranaar, Lorash explained that the kaldorei outposts in Ashenvale were already attacked by hundreds of rogues. On the champion's signal, they would begin the next phase of the war, sowing chaos. But since his colleague had died, he asked the champion for help. By staying out of sight, the town wouldn't even know it was under attack before all of its guards were down. Using poison that kills extremely quickly and silently, the champion signaled to Lorash which targets were safe to attack without being noticed.

Lorash lit a bonfire that burned with purple smoke and rose above the trees to signal the others to begin their assault. The champion and him then infiltrated Ashenvale and started theirs. Many Sentinels were brought down, and he personally took out Captain Alennah Starsong. With the city sacked, they used a smoke bomb and escaped.[37] Lorash then went to check on the other outposts in case his colleagues encountered issues. At that moment, the Horde army, joined by the Warchief herself, had arrived and stood before an already burning Astranaar. The champion met with the Banshee Queen to inform her that Astranaar had been secured.[38]

Saurfang moved his army to Astranaar to act as their new staging ground with Astranaar inn acting as their command post. Saurfang was impressed by the Horde rogues' effectiveness since not a single night elf was alive when they got there. Sylvanas said that she would continue her hunt for the only creature that could stop the Horde's march to victory, Malfurion Stormrage.[39] Sylvanas tracked Malfurion to the northern border of Ashenvale, but she discovered he went back south. Sylvanas' intuition told her Malfurion planned to attack Astranaar. In Astranaar, Saurfang and his guard Morka Bruggu uncovered a night elf provocateur disguised as high ranking Forsaken and dispatched him. When Saurfang went outside to berate his guards about the lax security, he sensed an ambush and tried to return to the safety of the inn. Unfortunately, Malfurion Stormrage arrived and attacked with nature's fury, consequently allowing Captain Delaryn Summermoon's forces to leap from the trees and ambush the Horde soldiers in the chaos. When Malfurion pursued Saurfang to the inn, Saurfang knew he nor his guards would be a match for him. Saurfang told his tacticians to bring their battle plans to the warchief while he dies an honorable death buying them time to escape. Saurfang tried to challenge Malfurion to a mak'gora to keep Malfurion's attention on him, though Malfurion had little interest in an orcish duel and was after Saurfang's life anyways. Malfurion began to summon a massive overgrowth to consume the inn and Saurfang. Saurfang was nearly about to meet his end until Warchief Sylvanas attacked Malfurion and drew his attention away from him. Saurfang was buried in the inn's collapsing rubble while Warchief Sylvanas rallied the Horde forces to route the night elves. Once the Horde secured Astranaar, they rescued Saurfang from the rubble.[4]


The Horde armies stationed at Zoram'gar.

The next order of business, for now, was to establish a foothold at the base of Darkshore, and Commander Grimfang of the Zoram'gar Outpost would be able to accommodate an incoming army.

She sent the champion to him to inform of their arrival and ensure the necessary preparations were made. Innkeeper Duras gathered every resource available so the army would want for nothing, and the weaponsmith Dagrun Ragehammer stood at the ready to repair the soldiers' weapons.

The champion returned to Astranaar, which was now occupied by the Horde's armies.[39] All of Ashenvale was secured. However, the town was also being overrun with wisps. Saurfang had seen this once before when the demon Archimonde was felled by the sting of thousands of them. This could mean only one thing. Malfurion was beckoning the aid of his ancestors. The Warchief had already taken a scouting party ahead to Darkshore to intercept him.


The wisp wall conjured by Malfurion.

The champion found Sylvanas at the border between Ashenvale and Darkshore. Her troops and herself had been rooted by Malfurion, and she had engaged in a ranged duel with the druid. When grunts accompanying her broke free of the vines, Malfurion conjured an immense, magical wall made of wisps. The orcs rushed toward him, and were instantly burned by the wall.[40] As the champion joined Sylvanas, the two were ambushed by Ashenvale huntresses. The forest was still brimming with Stormrage's forces. Fending off the attack, Sylvanas believed the druid would soon return with an army.[41]

The wall had effectively halted the Horde's progress. Moreover, the kaldorei had begun to reinforce Darkshore. The path to Teldrassil was becoming more difficult than anticipated. Sylvanas knew that Malfurion was trying to hold them back until his fleet returned from Silithus. Until then, however, his army was too small, they just needed a way to pass through the wisps. She rode to Zoram'gar and met with Saurfang and Blightcaller, who had arrived with the Horde army.[42]

Into the woods

Night elven civilians hiding from the Horde.

Nathanos believed that dark rangers and a few demolishers could easily overcome the wisp wall. Sylvanas retorted that her scouting party had underestimated the wisps as well, and paid the price for doing so. The wisps could not be destroyed, at least not in numbers enough to matter. But she believed they may be able to be dispersed. Saurfang noted that the wisps had responded to Malfurion's call, and making more of the forest cry for help might just work. Sylvanas decided to have the champion use the explosive reserves and apply pressure with Zarvik Blastwix's bombardiers, directly attacking the forest by destroying trees and killing many wandering wisps. This wouldn't bring the wall down, but it could reveal an opening. A squadron would be ready to strike if they managed to break ground.[43]

Their theory proved right, the wisps were susceptible to distraction, a weakness the Horde would exploit to get past them. Sylvanas ordered Saurfang to take a force into Felwood and seek a path over the mountain into Darkshore, though the siege weapons would be left under her command. They aimed to squeeze Malfurion from both sides. High Overlord Saurfang says: Warchief, there is no safe passage through Felwood. Blightcaller would help Saurfang find a hidden route used by smugglers for his troops.

Master's Glaive

With the forest in distress and the wisps occupied, now was the time to strike. Sylvanas took a force of sturdy soldiers and demolishers and met the champion before the wall. Using her banshee powers, she held open a small, temporary breach allowing her forces to pass through.[44] The Horde pressed on and gathered around the Master's Glaive. They formed lines against the night elves who had amassed an army and were reinforced by siege weaponry. But the Horde war machine would not be stopped, and they charged forward.[45][46]

Twilight Vale

The two sides reach a stalemate at Wildbend River.

There were also brightly glowing owls scattered among the trees, above their heads, but they were not living breathing denizens of the forest, they were kaldorei magic, sentries reporting everything they saw. As the Horde progressed through the Twilight Vale, they took down the owls, along with anything standing in their way, such as the Blackwood furbolg.[47] With the eyes of the forest shut, there remained the ears. The ancients felt every vibration of the Horde's footsteps, reporting to and helping the night elves in the defense of Darkshore. The Horde assaulted the Grove of the Ancients, setting fire to the ancients and fighting the defending druids of the Claw present, until Malfurion finally arrived, who confronted Sylvanas and the Horde, blinding them before leaving again.[48]

Blackwood Den

Lor'danel under siege.

After recuperating from their confrontation, Sylvanas decided that she would move all Horde troops into Darkshore, but she needed to establish a foothold in Blackwood Den first. The furbolgs had been driven into a hysteria, and with their enemies pouring in from the north, the threat the creatures represented was a nuisance that couldn't be afforded. While she brought more forces past the wisp wall, the champion slaughtered the furbolg and raised up banners of the Horde to assert the faction's dominance.[49][50]

Sylvanas returned with more troops from Zoram'gar and had them set up camp in the conquered Den. On her way back, she had spotted something interesting. She took the champion with herself, along with sappers and shredders, and brought them to the Twilight Shore. There, they found Azerite growing around the island of Nazj'vel. However, the Alliance had beaten them to it and night elves had already started mining it. A night elven ship was also moored to the island. Believing that it could only have come from Darnassus, Sylvanas left, stating that she had a "crow" to hunt.[51]

Stalemate at the river

Jux Burstkix‎ oversaw the mining of the Azerite. The mineral would be primordial in the assault against the night elves, and they could not be allowed to gather it.[52] The Horde also opened fire on the elves to prevent them from further progression.[53] The Azerite that the Horde managed to gather was brought to Zarvik Blastwix at the main camp of Blackwood Den, who used it to modify and upgrade the goblin hellions.[54] He then notified the champion that battle was raging at Wildbend River, where the Warchief and her troops were fighting.

He gave them a hellion to ride on and they rained Azerite-powered destruction down upon the night elven forces, which had been reinforced with the full might of the ancients.[55] For every enemy slain, two replaced them on the battlefield, noted Sylvanas. The stalemate was unwise to pursue, and she regrouped at Blackwood Den. The Horde had to stay the course for now. She would continue leading soldiers through the wall while they awaited word from Saurfang. In the meantime, they would keep the kaldorei under pressure.[56]

Saurfang's return

The Horde's final push.

Saurfang and his army eventually managed to make their way from Felwood to Darkshore. At the Den, Sylvanas remarked that the wisps were scattering, one by one the wall came crashing down. Now was the time to strike and take the World Tree. She sent the champion to Lor'danel, where they met with Saurfang.[57] The town was all that stood in the way before the capture of Darnassus and the claiming of Kalimdor. It had mustered significant reinforcements on its shore, however, enough to drive the Horde back. Saurfang ordered a swift strike to break through their lines and slay the two commanders, leading the fleet and the field troops. Without leadership, their force would crumble.[58] Not a single enemy would escape until they secured control over the World Tree. Lor'danel was to be in order by the time the Warchief arrived.[59] He would not slay innocents, however. As long as they did not raise arms against the Horde, they would be spared. They would be captured, questioned and then released.[60] Meanwhile, Morka Bruggu led a group of Horde infiltrators and managed to covertly commandeer some of the night elven ships from the kaldorei fleet.[4]

Lor'danel was successfully taken, but Saurfang felt that it was almost too easy, and sensed something was amiss. There had been no sign of Stormrage. Malfurion would have never let Lor'danel fall without a fight. He believed that the archdruid had gone after Sylvanas. With Saurfang's army having approached from the North, and our reinforcements having arrived from the South, this meant that they were not along any of the roads. Saurfang set out to search the forest for the Warchief, and found her southwest of the town. Corpses of Orgrimmar grunts lay on the ground as Malfurion was fighting Sylvanas. Saurfang approached the archdruid from behind, and tossed his axe at Stormrage.

After congratulating him and asking him to finish the druid, she rode to the shore and joined the army. Saurfang knelt on the ground. He had dealt a dishonorable blow, it had not been his place to interfere. He regretted his action. At that moment, Tyrande Whisperwind arrived. She took Malfurion, and the orc let them leave, before joining the Warchief.[61] Saurfang went to join Sylvanas on the beach of Darkshore in order to inform her of what had transpired and also to plan for the occupation of Teldrassil. News of Malfurion's survival, however, upset Sylvanas and she felt Darnassus' conquering would not be enough of a fatal wound for the Alliance.[4]

Burning of Teldrassil

On the ravaged shore, Sylvanas ordered the Horde to secure the beach, and prepare to invade the tree. Amidst the corpses, she found a mortally-wounded Captain Delaryn Summermoon. Despite all that had transpired, the spirit of the night elf remained whole. Her people would heal. She told the Banshee Queen that she could never win, for she could not kill hope. Sylvanas calmly turned the commander's head toward the tree, and ordered her troops to set it ablaze.[6]

Ending dialogue

Lady Sylvanas Windrunner says: When I sent you on this mission, I did not foresee this outcome.
Lady Sylvanas Windrunner says: Our attack was meant to end a war before it began... To capture an enemy's home and annihilate their leaders in one stroke. To inflict a wound that would bleed the Alliance dry.
Lady Sylvanas Windrunner says: We have only partially succeeded. The Alliance will retaliate. They will come for us. For me. For you.
Lady Sylvanas Windrunner says: But they ARE bleeding. Their anger will prove a weakness, not a strength, in the war to come.
Lady Sylvanas Windrunner says: Rest while you can. Prepare for the battles ahead. I will have need of you.

Areas of battle

With both sides running low on food, Sylvanas and Delaryn sent adventurers to gather as much meat as possible at Long Wash for the troops.[62][63]

The Horde conquest took them to the Grove of the Ancients, where the Ancients have woken up to defend the land. The Horde sent shredders to cut down the trees and their protectors. Both forces tried to deal with each threat.[64][65]

The Ruins of Auberdine were seemingly abandoned by the Twilight's Hammer and became a war zone between the night elves led by Lieutenant Aylissa Silverarrow and the orcs led by Lieutenant Oogra. Both sides tried to push each other away.[66][67]

At the beach side of Mist's Edge, the Horde brought with them ships filled with a large supply of Azerite Powder Kegs for the war effort. The night elves were able to intercept these ships and throw all the kegs in the ocean before attacking the Horde's crew. Despite this, Horde adventurers were sent to recover the kegs while Alliance adventurers were sent to destroy them.[68][69]

Although the Horde had secured the Master's Glaive, the Alliance still sent troops to engage with the Horde troops. The Horde, however, is constantly pushing them back.[70]

As Azerite Furies started to spawn around Darkshore, both sides sent their troops to kill and contain it.[71]

With the Horde slowly advancing through Darkshore, Delaryn sent adventurers to mobilize the Druids of the Claws at the Twilight Vale. To keep the night elves uninformed, the Horde sent its troops to deal with the Sentry Owls in the area. [72][73]

With the wisps dissonant, the spirits of long-forgotten Highborne of Ameth'Aran began to take forces from both sides and turn them into mindless slaves. Malfurion asked Alliance adventurers to put them to rest, free his soldiers and calm the wisps who were lost to a frenzy. Sylvanas, on the other hand, simply wanted the destruction of the wisps.[74][75]

With all the commotion, the goblins found a great spot to dig for oil, the Blazing Strand. Malfurion sent adventurers to put a stop to it, while Sylvanas sent adventurers to repel the night elves and secure the oil.[76][77]

When the Horde found the Ruins of Mathystra, they realized it was full of resources. The night elves attempted to take the lumber from the Horde's clutches while the orcs kept cutting down the trees.[78][79]

With the Shatterspear War Camp being used to attack the night elves from all sides, Delaryn sent adventurers to deal with the Horde threat and free their prisoners. In the meantime, Horde soldiers did their best to hold their ground.[80][81]

On the Twilight Shore & Nazj'vel, Azerite vein began to spawn all around the place. Both sides try to gather as much as possible. Delaryn gathers as much as she can and gives them to her alchemists to store away. Sylvanas adds her stash to the pile.[82]

As the battle progresses at the stalemate of the Wildbend River. Delaryn asked adventures to guide a tree of life to inflict massive damage to the Horde. The Horde retaliates by using Goblin Hellions.[82][83]

Following the Burning of Teldrassil, Lor'danel remained a battlefield. Delaryn sent adventurers to heal her archers.[84] The Horde took out a portion of their forces before nightfall to avoid their advantage.[85]

The Horde forces and night elves also engaged in conflict at the Remtravel's Excavation. The Horde also took Blackwood Camp.


War of the Thorns
The subject of this article or section took place during the War of the Thorns, the Battle for Azeroth pre-launch event.

Conflict emerges in Darkshore as the Horde and Alliance battle for control over Teldrassil in this limited time event! In-game, the War of the Thorns runs from the week of July 24 up until the launch of Battle for Azeroth[86] as part of the Battle for Azeroth intro experience. It takes place in several parts. First, both factions are offered a quest chain to complete. After completing B [110] A Looming Threat, world quests are opened up in Darkshore. Four will be offered each day, or five once one has completed A [110] From the Ashes... or H [110] Killer Queen.


World quests


Each world quest rewards a random piece from a set of nine pieces of class-specific transmoggable loot:

Class Set
Death knight Gravewalker
Demon hunter Felbound
Druid Rootweave
Hunter Wildguard
Mage Spell-Splintered
Monk Serene Disciple
Paladin Sacrosanct
Priest Faithsworn
Rogue Ambuscade
Shaman Earthpyre
Warlock Unshackled
Warrior Bladeplate


Notes and trivia

  • In the aftermath of the war, Elune sought to send the night elven souls to her sister the Winter Queen.[87] However, due to the machine of death being broken, they were instead to the Maw.[88]
  • The civilians killed by Forsaken assassins in A [110] A Disturbance in Ashenvale can be killed by the Horde player in H [110] Everybody Has a Price. Though it's not the objective of the quest, Lorash is happy to partake.
  • Captain Alennah Starsong was killed by Lorash in the eastern part of the town, while the Alliance heroes find her body in the middle of the town.
  • During the Horde questline, Nazj'vel is already occupied by the Alliance by the time the Horde arrives there. During the Alliance questline, Nazj'vel is occupied by the Horde when the Alliance arrives there.
  • The Argus Campaign had diminished the draenei greatly. Even though the draenei were hardly in a position to assist the beleaguered night elves, some brave souls had traveled to do so.[89]
  • High King Anduin Wrynn commanded Archmage Malin to ask mages of Dalaran if they would be willing to help Stormwindian mages to get more kaldorei refugees through portals. He also sent someone to the Netherlight Temple to ask the Conclave priests for help.[90]
  • During the invasion of Ashenvale, after Malfurion engaged the Horde directly, Varok Saurfang believed that despite the element of surprise and outnumbering them by roughly eight-to-one, when the final total casualties were tallied, there would be more Horde soldiers slain than the kaldorei, but had anticipated and accepted this as a price to pay for victory against the Alliance.[91] Eventually, however, due to the destruction of Teldrassil, there were considerably more kaldorei casualties than the Horde.
  • Saurfang believed that Sylvanas would possibly be able to match either Tyrande or Malfurion individually, but together, they were powerful to the point of being "perhaps even unbeatable" on the battlefield, and could therefore conceivably hold off the Horde long enough for reinforcements to arrive,[92] a major reason why they resorted to the Silithus deception to separate them in the first place. Sylvanas is later described by Ferryn as arguably the most powerful member of the Horde, and she was able to fight Malfurion evenly on several occasions, although both Tyrande and Malfurion are able to easily overpower Saurfang unaided.
  • During the beta, the event featured Shandris Feathermoon instead of Myara Sunsong.
  • Many world quest names are references to songs from the band Queen: I Want To Break Free, I Want It All, One Vision, We Will Rock You, Breakthru, Don't Stop Me Now, A Kind of Magic, Staying Power, Under Pressure, Seaside Rendezvous, Killer Queen.
  • Following the Destruction of Theramore, when Jaina Proudmoore approached the Council of Six for help against the Horde, she asked them if they would react in a theoretical situation where the Horde burned Teldrassil.[93]
  • In a story told by Lorewalker Shuchun to Druz and Ziya, Garrosh Hellscream came into possession of the Blank Scroll and used it to create an army of soulless, unkillable orcs that flowed over Kalimdor and caused Teldrassil to topple, burning, into the sea.[94]
  • Sylvanas commented on the night elves' savagery as opponents.[44][70] Grommash Hellscream made a similar observation after his first encounter with the kaldorei.[95]
  • The Horde version of the "Darkshore Drilling" mission mentions night elves "streaming out of Darnassus" and posing a threat to Shatterspear Vale, despite it having been burned with Teldrassil. The mission is either supposed to take place during the War of the Thorns despite being unlocked later or is a mistake since the Alliance version takes place after the War.



Stub.png Please add any available information to this section.


Barrens and Ashenvale




Removed from beta

Removed from game The subject of this section did not make it out of the beta stages.

The following quests were available during the Battle for Azeroth beta but did not make it into the live version of the game:

Patch changes

  • Battle for Azeroth Patch 8.0.1 (2018-07-17): Added.
    Activated 2018-07-24.

See also


  1. ^ a b Battle for Azeroth: Collector’s Edition. Blizzard Entertainment (2018-04-05).
  2. ^ a b Stealth Teldrassil Evacuation
  3. ^ a b H [110] The Warchief Commands
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i A Good War
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Elegy
  6. ^ a b c Warbringers: Sylvanas
  7. ^ Shadows Rising, prologue
  8. ^ World of Warcraft Devs Give a First Look at Guardians of the Dream PTR l WoWCast
  9. ^ N [60] Their New Home
  10. ^ A [110] A Short-Lived Peace
  11. ^ A [110] The Horde Uprising
  12. ^ a b A [110] A Disturbance in Ashenvale
  13. ^ A [110] The Light of Elune
  14. ^ A [110] Knives of the Forsaken
  15. ^ A [110] A Soft Glow
  16. ^ A [110] Hidden Amongst the Leaves
  17. ^ A [110] Mercy for the Mad
  18. ^ A [110] Garden Grove
  19. ^ A [110] Enraged Furbolgs
  20. ^ A [110] Elves in the Machine
  21. ^ A [110] The Wake of Something New
  22. ^ A [110] Azerite Denial
  23. ^ A [110] No Horde Allowed
  24. ^ A [110] Malfurion Returns
  25. ^ A [110] "Rock" The World
  26. ^ A [110] Long Away
  27. ^ A [110] A Looming Threat
  28. ^ A [110] A Threat from the North
  29. ^ A [110] Rescue Effort
  30. ^ A [110] Defending Lor'danel
  31. ^ A [110] Action This Day
  32. ^ A [110] The Guidance of Our Shan'do
  33. ^ A [110] A Flicker of Hope
  34. ^ A [110] From the Ashes...
  35. ^ H [110] The Warchief Awaits
  36. ^ H [110] A Quick Diversion
  37. ^ H [110] Everybody Has a Price
  38. ^ H [110] A Timely Arrival
  39. ^ a b H [110] Zoram'gar Outpost
  40. ^ H [110] On The Prowl
  41. ^ H [110] Into the Woods
  42. ^ H [110] Ripe for the Picking
  43. ^ H [110] A Quick Flyover
  44. ^ a b H [110] An Unstoppable Force
  45. ^ H [110] Clearing Them Out
  46. ^ H [110] A Glaive Misunderstanding
  47. ^ H [110] Blurred Vision
  48. ^ H [110] The Trees Have Ears
  49. ^ H [110] Aggressive Inspiration
  50. ^ H [110] The Blackwood Den
  51. ^ H [110] The Start of Something Good
  52. ^ H [110] Fueling the Horde War Machine
  53. ^ H [110] A Very Clear Message
  54. ^ H [110] A Gift of Azerite
  55. ^ H [110] A Wild Ride
  56. ^ H [110] A Looming Threat
  57. ^ H [110] Saurfang Returns
  58. ^ H [110] Seaside Rendezvous
  59. ^ H [110] Driving Them Out
  60. ^ H [110] No Small Mercy
  61. ^ H [110] Killer Queen
  62. ^ A [110WQ] So We Meat Again
  63. ^ H [110WQ] They Eat Like Orcs
  64. ^ A [110WQ] Arboria
  65. ^ H [110WQ] Don't Stop Me Now
  66. ^ A [110WQ] Blunt the Spikes
  67. ^ H [110WQ] Pruning the Thorns
  68. ^ A [110WQ] Detonate!
  69. ^ H [110WQ] Wicked Kegger
  70. ^ a b H [110WQ] Breakthru
  71. ^ B [110WQ] I Want It All
  72. ^ A [110WQ] One Vision
  73. ^ H [110WQ] It's a Kind of Magic
  74. ^ A [110WQ] Spiritual Aid
  75. ^ H [110WQ] Extinguish the Lights
  76. ^ A [110WQ] Stop the Drilling
  77. ^ H [110WQ] Fuel for the Demolishers
  78. ^ A [110WQ] Our Sacred Forest
  79. ^ H [110WQ] Ours For the Taking
  80. ^ A [110WQ] No Turning Back
  81. ^ H [110WQ] Hang On In There
  82. ^ a b B [110WQ] The Azerite Stuff
  83. ^ H [110WQ] Under Pressure
  84. ^ A [110WQ] Break Free
  85. ^ H [110WQ] Staying Power
  86. ^ Patch 8.0.1
  87. ^ N [60] The Power of Elune
  88. ^ BlizzCon 2019 - World of Warcraft: What's Next
  89. ^ Elegy, pg. 51
  90. ^ Elegy, pg. 37
  91. ^ A Good War pg. 57
  92. ^ A Good War pg. 19
  93. ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, chapter 22
  94. ^ The Blank Scroll, pg. 5
  95. ^ The Spirits of Ashenvale (WC3 Orc)

External links

es:Guerra de las Espinas