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“Magic is the art of circumventing the normal. [...] The stars march in order across the sky, the seasons fall one after the other with lockstepped regularity, and men and women live and die. If that does not happen, it's magic, the first warping of the universe, a few floorboards that are bent out of shape, waiting for industrious hands to pry them up.”

Medivh the last Guardian of Tirisfal[1]
The cosmic forces, realms and denizens of the universe from the perspective of the titans and their servants.

The universe is a realm filled with potent magics (also spelled magiks[2][3][4] and magicks,[5][6] or even called wizardry[7][8][9] and sorcery)[10][11][12] and mighty beings. Since the dawn of time, these forces[13] have influenced the cosmos, setting the stars in motion and the destiny of countless worlds and mortal civilizations.[14] Magic is universal and was described as an ambient field of energy that pervades the world.[15] Of all the arts, magic is one of the most contradictory, guided by laws all its own, laws quite changeable at the worst of times.[16]

Few forces are as potent as magic, which can even bring about the destruction of entire worlds. Magical energies are most apparent beneath the earth as well as in special locations - centers of elemental forces, otherworldly powers, and mystical energies. The nature and uses of the forms of magic are vigorously debated on Azeroth, but the magnitude of what magic can accomplish cannot be doubted.[13] With sufficient magic and desire, nothing is impossible.[17] Given its history as a destructive force, practitioners of magic are often held in awe and suspicion. With such great power comes great responsibility, and magi will generally only teach their art to those who are willing to take up the burdens that magic entails.[18]

The cosmic forces

From the perspective of the brokers in the Shadowlands.

The First Ones are enigmatic godlike beings who shaped the cosmos and the fabric of all realities. They conceived and put in place the six governing cosmic forces of reality, as well as the pantheons that embody them and the realms that they inhabit.[19] According to the broker Al'firim's interpretations of the First Ones' writings, the cosmos began with six forces (or possibly a different number) existing in opposition to each other until they came together (or were brought together) and gave form to a design. Each "architect" gave a portion of themselves, and thus "the pattern was drawn". With a framework in place, all things in the universe came to be, like a fungus growing upon the frame. The six forces were now in balance, and others arose from their intersections—a simple structure growing infinitely more complex.[20] The brokers believe that the First Ones made the endless cycle of Life and Death the central part of their creation.[21]

Name Magic Pantheon Plane Zereth Greater powers Lesser powers
Light Holy Unknown Unnamed plane Unnamed Unknown Naaru
Void Shadow Unknown Unnamed plane Unnamed Void lords Old Gods
Life Nature Pantheon of Life[21] Realms of Life[22] Unnamed Unknown Wild Gods
Death Necromantic Pantheon of Death Shadowlands Zereth Mortis Eternal Ones Undead
Order Arcane Pantheon of Order Unnamed plane Zereth Ordus[23] Titans Keepers
Disorder Fel Unknown Unnamed plane Unnamed Unknown Demons

Light and Shadow

Light and Shadow are the most fundamental forces in existence. Although contradictory by their very nature, they are bound together on a cosmic scale. One cannot exist without the other. Pure Light and Shadow dwell in a realm outside the borders of reality, but shades of their presence are found in the physical universe. Light manifests as holy magic, and the Void as shadow magic.[24]

Life and Death

The forces of Life and Death hold sway over every living thing in the physical universe. The energies of Life, known commonly as nature magic, promote growth and renewal in all things. Death, in the form of necromantic magic, acts as a counterbalance to Life. It is an unavoidable force that breeds despair in mortal hearts and pushes everything toward a state of entropic decay and eventual oblivion.[24]

Order and Disorder

The forces of Order and Disorder (also called Chaos)[25] govern the cosmic systems of the physical universe. Order is most commonly perceived in reality as arcane magic. This type of energy is innately volatile, and wielding it requires intense precision and concentration. Conversely, Disorder is manifested as highly destructive fel magic. This brutal and extremely addictive energy is fueled by drawing life from living beings.[24]

The Elements

The elements of fire, air, earth, and water serve as the basic building blocks of all matter in the physical universe. Shamanic cultures have long sought to live in harmony with, or assert dominion over, the elements. To do so, they called upon the primordial forces of Spirit and Decay. Those who seek to bring balance to the elements rely on Spirit (sometimes referred to as the fifth element by shaman, or chi by pandaren). This life-giving force interconnects and binds all things in existence as one. Decay is the tool of shaman seeking to subjugate and weaponize the elements themselves.[24]

Elements can influence a variety of emotionally positive and negative states.[26]

  • Fire influences passion and fury
  • Air influences cunning and madness
  • Earth influences stability and stubbornness
  • Water influences tranquility and indecisiveness
  • Spirit influences bravery and naiveté
  • Decay influences efficiency and ruthlessness

Different types of magic


A ritual of summoning in the Trading Card Game.

All spells cost a certain amount of mana,[27] a substance and a magical power resource which casters draw upon when they use magic, which is just a measure of a fundamental power—if mana were water, then for instance arcane would be steam pressure.[28] The existence and mixture of various forces and energies form powerful vortices of mana.[29] When they run out of mana, spellcasters can no longer use magic and are left exhausted.[30][31] As magic draws its energy from the physical forces of the caster,[32] the only way to regenerate the body is by consuming food, especially protein.[33] They may also drink mana potions prepared by alchemists.[34][35] The more a living being's mana is consumed or drained, the more they are weakened,[36] and if abused, it can cause fainting or death.[37][38][39] In older times, when magic was less understood and spells required vast amounts of mana to cast, gems were used to store mana for use in complex spells.[40]

Every spellcaster wields the forces of magic differently, and if one is sensitive enough, one can tell the differences from one magic user to another.[7]

In the Shadowlands, anima is the source that is drawn upon by its denizens when using death magic, and is comparable to the mana used in the Great Dark Beyond.[41]

There are many different schools of magic, tapping into various cosmic energies and using different methods to sometimes reach similar goals. Most magic spells however require specific components, physical requirements the caster must meet in order to use them. These requirements might be verbal, with the spellcaster using specific words of power, somatic, with the spellcaster having to make motions, or material, with the spell requiring reagents. Some clothes might even be more adapted than others for the casting of certain spells.[42] As such these spells might have different cast times and can even be interrupted by circumstances. Spellbooks are known to describe spells, their effects, and their components. Medivh personally had Karazhan fitted with a fully equipped pantry of spell components, including a larder of aromatic and thaumaturgic herbs, and a lapidarium of crushed semi-precious stones.[42]

Failing to follow a spell's components, such as changing a hand motion or not using a required incense, would most of the times result in failure, with the energies of the spell dissipating harmlessly. Occasionally the energies may go wild and out of control, but usually the only result of a failed spell is a frustrated spellcaster. Changing the incantation or altering the motions isn't also enough to refit a spell for a new activity. Changing an existing spell requires a deep and precise understanding of how it works, and this activity is more dangerous than simply following a list of components, as a failed spell being very close to the final intended spell would lead to the magics trying to close the gap, to make something happen, though then resulting in unintended results or spectacular and dangerous failure.[42]

Necromancy is the art of "animating unliving flesh" and controlling the dead,[13] which can be empowered by the magic of any cosmic forces.[43]

Magical weapons

Gifted crafters can focus magical energies into potent weapons. These weapons often enhance the abilities of the wielder, whether by honing their spellcraft, or by enhancing their martial abilities. Wielded by heroes and villains alike, many of these weapons have stories as varied, complex, and fascinating as those that claim their power.[13]


Holy magic is the manifestation of the Light, as it cannot exist in its pure state within the physical universe.[24][44] Summoned by emotions,[45] willpower or faith in one's ability to do so,[46] the powers of the Light can be harnessed to heal, cleanse, protect, harm, and even restore life to the dead, while being extra efficient against the undead and demons. The Light is often said to bring about feelings of positive emotion—hope, courage, comfort—coming from the "heart."[47] Most of its practitioners are called priests or paladins, devoted to cleansing the universe of darkness.[13] Learning to wield this healing force[48] takes years of discipline,[49] as it is necessary to learn to abnegate oneself through meditation, in order to become conduits for the Light.[45]


Moonlight is a type of holy magic[50] that can be used by the follower of the moon goddess Elune, notably the night elves or the tauren who revere her as Mu'sha in their mythology.


Shadow magic is the manifestation of the Void, as it cannot exist in its pure state within the physical universe.[51][44][52] A source of terrible power, it is the kind of power that comes at a price,[53] as the very nature of the Void is hostile to what the mortal know as life and sanity,[54] and will do whatever it takes to drive them to madness. Although destructive, it can also be used to harm the mind, imparting feelings such as despair, doubt, and panic—emotions based on survival logic.[47] Twilight magic is presumably Old God magic of the void branch.[55] Most common practitioners of shadow magic are called shadowcasters, shadowmages, or shadow priests.


The energies of Life, commonly known as Nature magic, promote growth and renewal in all things. The elements that carve form into the universe are fluid forces of nature. Druids work with the natural life forces of the world,[56] and harness the vast powers of nature to preserve balance and protect life.[57][58] As druid healing involves life force being drained and transferred,[59] they ask the surrounding nature to lend them their energy in order to cast spells or to aid them in battle.[60]

Solar magic

Solar magic is practiced through the use of the solar energy emitted by the sun. It is associated with the nature magic used by druids, rather than the holy magic used by priests and paladins.[61]

Blood magic

Blood magic is a form of tortured life magic that uses blood as a power source.[62][63] On Azeroth, it is shunned by many as a dark and forgotten art, as in that and many other ways, it shares some distinct characteristics with demonic magic.[64] Someone who practices blood magic is often called a blood mage or blood wizard.[65]


Necromantic magic is the manifestation of Death magic, it was developed by the Primus in the Shadowlands and has many functions through the practice of necromancy.[66] Masters of this tainted field of magic can conjure festering diseases, harness the shadows into bolts of incendiary energy, and reconstruct the flesh of undead creatures, allowing them to function again even after the foul monsters have been destroyed.[67] Its most common practitioners are known as necromancers and others include death knights, necrolytes, necrolords, as well as the nathrezim.


Domination is a brand of powerful runic Death magic whose sole purpose is the utter suppression of another being.[68] Behaving in a matter similar to a language, it alters the victim's thoughts so powerfully that it interferes with their sense of self.[69] It was originally created by the Primus of Maldraxxus for the purpose of imprisoning Zovaal the Jailer within the Maw.[70] Runeblades infused with Domination are known as mourneblades.[71]


Arcane magic is a cold and intellectual[72] magic that warps time, space, and controls the flow of mana.[73] Though extremely volatile, which requires intense precision and concentration, arcane is so similar to an element it might as well be one, for all magical intents and purposes.[74] Arcane has been described as the "base fabric" of the world[75] and can be pulled from ley lines,[76] channels of immense magical power that course through Azeroth itself.[77]

According to Medivh, when a mage creates fire with arcane magic, all they do is concentrate the inherent nature of the fire contained in the surrounding area into one location in order to call it into being.[78]


Chronomancy is the art of weaving time.[79] This discipline falls under the arcanic school of transmutation, and most of its practitioners are called chronomancers.


Fel magic is a destructive form of magic used by all members of the Burning Legion, and often by warlocks and demon hunters among the mortal races. Its use results in the alteration of the individual, or corruption, which manifests as a physical transformation such as a change to an individual's eyes or skin color, or heavy genetic mutations. All demons carry the taint of fel magic within their very blood, allowing them to spread greater evil.[13] Warlocks use life force to power their fel magic.[80]


Shamanism is a deeply spiritual form of elemental magic that involves a connection with both the natural and spirit worlds. Shaman do not normally enslave elementals, but honor them, asking the elements to heed their call. Shaman are not inherently imbued with magic—they harness the powers of the elements through ceremonial totems.[13] Spirit, or Chi as the pandaren call it,[81] is the life force that shaman manipulate.[82] Spirit energy is intrinsically linked to the elements—earth, air, fire, and water. This life-giving force interconnects and binds all things in existence as one.[83] There is a relation to the spiritual magic of shaman and the natural magic of druids, which is why the shaman were able to hear the spirits of Stonetalon Mountains.[84]

Geomancy is a crude form of shamanism.[85]


Technomancy, or techno-sorcery,[86] is a form of magic employed by the ethereals, capable of modifying an item's arcane essence or housing items in a pocket dimension,[87] as well as opening portals.[86]


Runic magic is a magic that employs runes. The vrykul practice a runic magic that even the most experienced wizards find unfamiliar.[88] The runes can access various types of magic, such as fel, void, arcane, and death.[89]


Voodoo is a dark and powerful form of magic, referred to as the "ancient power of the trolls",[90] and practiced by troll shadow hunters, hexxers, and witch doctors. They use mojo in their voodoo.[91] A practitioner of voodoo is sometimes called a voodooist[92] or vodouisant.[93] Hoodoo is also a form of voodoo magic used by trolls.[94]

In the RPG

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

Two categories of magic exist, arcane and divine. Divine magic contains druidism, shamanism, voodoo, and holy light, as well as other religions. Nature is a subcategory within the divine, but a form of it can also be found in arcane as well. Runes are mystically ancient, it is a type of arcane magic, but accessed by more natural means (see Runemasters and Inscribers).


Arcane, the most common form of magic, comes from the Well of Eternity, which itself draws from the Twisting Nether. Arcane magic is very powerful, but if not used carefully can cause corruption and great destruction.[95] Used by mages, wizards, and other sorcerers, such as those of the Kirin Tor, arcane magic is ever present in the atmosphere and accessible to any who are capable of drawing upon its energies. Arcane magics were discovered by the kaldorei and later refined by the high elves of Quel'Thalas and the human nations, and are most commonly practiced by mages.[96][97]


Fel energy is arcane magic at its most corrupt. If arcane magic is an addiction, fel magic is the embodiment of the drug at its purest form.[98]


Necromancers are capable of reviving living creatures from death to do their bidding as undead servants.[99]


Druids derive their power from the earth itself, although they do not require totems to channel energy like shamans. They become agents of nature itself, forming a bond with all beings of nature and pulling their strength directly from that bond.[100]


The practice of divination and elemental combat native to several humanoid races of Azeroth. It is similar to shamanism in that disciples of geomancy wield the powers of the earth and encourage respect of earth's spirits. The main difference between a geomancer and a shaman is the method through which the trust of the elements is gained. A shaman speaks directly with the elemental spirits, whereas a geomancer uses rituals, songs, and sacrifices to appease and propitiate the spirits.[101]

Rune magic

Runic magic was created by the titans. Their creation, the dwarves, quickly mastered the mysteries of the runes taught to them. However, as generations passed, the dwarves forgot their heritage and lost all knowledge of runes and their hereditary powers. Tauren in Kalimdor rediscovered the power of runes. An ancient race as well, the tauren remembered the myths of runecasting and revived interest in this nearly lost art. The dwarves that came to Kalimdor with Jaina Proudmoore's Alliance Expedition learned tauren runecasting techniques. Tauren and dwarves do not share good relations, but they were eager to share knowledge of runes and titan myths.[102]


Voodoo is a strange tribal mix between the power of arcane and divine magic,[103] practiced by witch doctors and shadow hunters. They often combine reagents in a cauldron to create strange brews that most often result in bizarre transformations when consumed. They are widely known for placing hexes to morph victims into various creatures or placing curses.[104][105] The majority of voodoo users are trolls, although other races of the Horde have taken up the craft.[106][107]

Notes and trivia

  • According to Esara Verrinde, who studied many forms of magic from many sources, each believes that their way is the best but she can tell that they are more alike than different.[108]
  • A sensitive is a mortal born with the natural capacity to "sniff out" magic without having to resort to rituals or otherwise supernatural enhancements.[7]
  • The four motifs at the corners of the cosmology chart are identical to the four motifs used in the map of Azeroth after the sundering in World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1.


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 Oracle of Zereth Mortis Saezurah has idle dialogue that states "Mortis. Lumen. Ordus. Rhythm and structure. (...) Vitae. Umbra. Tumult. Improvisation and possibility."It has not been confirmed if these are the names of the First Ones' other realms.

The seventh force?

A few in-game sources imply the presence of a potential seventh force. The broker Al'firim compiled a report on his findings of a force he refers to as the "fractals". Additionally, a Korthian relic, the  [Everliving Statuette], whispers "The seventh covets what the six hold fast. The fulcrum wavers. All will be undone.".

See also


  1. ^ The Last Guardian, pg. 92
  2. ^ Warcraft: Orcs & Humans manual, pg. 17
  3. ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, pg. 29
  4. ^ Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal manual, pg. 90
  5. ^ N Warrior [10-45] The Sword of Kings
  6. ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, chapter 16
  7. ^ a b c Cycle of Hatred, chapter 8
  8. ^ The Well of Eternity, chapter 23
  9. ^ Day of the Dragon, chapter 17
  10. ^ The Well of Eternity, chapter 15
  11. ^ Cycle of Hatred, chapter 7
  12. ^ World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 16
  13. ^ a b c d e f g World of Warcraft: Ultimate Visual Guide, Updated and Expanded, pg. 20-21
  14. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 9
  15. ^ The Last Guardian, chapter 8
  16. ^ Day of the Dragon, chapter 20
  17. ^ The Last Guardian, chapter 10
  18. ^ Gadgetzan Times/A Magical History of Azeroth
  19. ^ World of Warcraft Devs Talk the New Raid and Mythic+ Score Coming to the Chains of Domination Expansion - "the First Ones, the progenitors who created the Shadowlands and other cosmic realms."
  20. ^  [Expedition Report A37J - Part 1]
  21. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 56
  22. ^  [On the Nature of the Dream]
  23. ^  [Edicts of the Prime Designate, Volume 742]
  24. ^ a b c d e World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 10
  25. ^ Jeremy Feasel on Twitter: "@koldun1029 There's nature magic, like druids use, and light magic, like priests/pallies use. Blood was tortured life. Fel is Chaos."
  26. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 11
  27. ^
  28. ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter (2014-04-27) - "Only as similar as, say, water and steam pressure."
  29. ^  [Gravity Spiral]
  30. ^  [Aluneth] (when low on mana): You lack the mana to continue, child... / Your frail frame cannot maintain this pace.
  31. ^ Of Blood and Honor, chapter 2
  32. ^ Cycle of Hatred, pg. 39
  33. ^ Cycle of Hatred, chapter 20
  34. ^ N Alchemy [60-70] Mana Markets
  35. ^ B [50] Arathi Donations: Coastal Mana Potion
  36. ^ N [10-45] Their Dying Breaths
  37. ^ The Last Guardian, chapter 4
  38. ^ N [10-45] The Consumed
  39. ^ N [10-45] On the Brink
  40. ^ N Mage [10-45] Alodi's Gems
  41. ^ Blizzard Entertainment Blizzard Entertainment 2019-11-01. BlizzCon 2019 - World of Warcraft: What's Next. Retrieved on 2019-11-02.
  42. ^ a b c The Last Guardian, chapter 6
  43. ^ N [60] House of Plagues
  44. ^ a b N Priest [45] Safekeeping
  45. ^ a b World of Warcraft: The Comic, Issue 22: Whispers
  46. ^ Ask CDev - Round 1
  47. ^ a b Ask CDev Answers - Round 3
  48. ^ Beyond the Dark Portal, pg. 109
  49. ^ World of Warcraft: The Comic, Issue 21: Secrets
  50. ^ Ask CDev#Ask CDev Answers - Round 2
  51. ^  [Ur's Treatise on Shadow Magic]
  52. ^ World of Warcraft: The Magazine Volume 2 Issue 1
  53. ^ N [35-40] Disrupt the Rituals
  54. ^ A Thousand Years of War, Part Three – Shadow & Light, pg. 36
  55. ^ Jeremy Feasel on Twitter: "Old god magic, void I think?"
  56. ^ The Sundering, pg. 360: " Druids worked with the natural life forces of the world and who better represented that than Alexstrasza?"
  57. ^
  58. ^ Legion Class Preview Series: Druid
  59. ^ The Demon Soul, pg. 461 - 463
  60. ^ The Well of Eternity, chapter 10 & 20
  61. ^ Don Adams on Twitter: "No, they use solar magic. More comparable to the solar magic used by druids."
  62. ^ H [35R] Life Blood
  63. ^ Jeremy Feasel on Twitter: "There's nature magic, like druids use, and light magic, like priests/pallies use. Blood was tortured life. Fel is Chaos."
  64. ^ Bloodmage Lynnore: Blood magic is shunned by many as a dark and forgotten art. In that and many other ways, it shares some distinct characteristics with demonic magic.
  65. ^ A [15-30] Kasim Sharim
  66. ^ Blizzard Entertainment Blizzard Entertainment. Shadowlands - Home. Retrieved on 2019-11-02.
  67. ^ The Schools of Arcane Magic - Necromancy
  68. ^ Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 120
  69. ^ Primus dialogue in Zereth Mortis
  70. ^ Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 116, "[...] the Primus [...] was recently confirmed to be the devisor of the language of Domination - the very force used to bind the Jailer within the Maw"
  71. ^ N [60] The Highlord's Vision: Highlord Bolvar Fordragon says: A weapon... forged in the fires of Torghast. A mourneblade is born.
  72. ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, chapter 8
  73. ^ Legion Class Preview Series: Mage
  74. ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, chapter 25
  75. ^ A Mage [10] Mage-tastic Gizmonitor
  76. ^ War Crimes, pg. 359 on e-book
  77. ^ World of Warcraft: Paragons, pg. 584 on e-book
  78. ^ The Last Guardian, chapter 3
  79. ^ Weaver Belmaril: The Weavers are arcanists who specialize in chronomancy; the art of weaving time.
  80. ^ The Comic Volume 4 - Hard Choices: "We will use the injured gryphon's life force to power our fel magic."
  81. ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter (2014-02-21) - ""Chi" is the Pandaren word for "Spirit," same energy that helps shaman heal, etc."
  82. ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter: ""Chi" is just the Pandaren term for the life force that Shaman manipulate. Same stuff. :)
  83. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 13
  84. ^ H [23] Shredding Machines
  85. ^ The Old Wizard's Almanac: The Shamanic Races
  86. ^ a b  [Ethereal Portal]
  87. ^ Thaumaturge Rafir: Our ethereal technomancy has the ability to modify an item's arcane essence in ways previously unimaginable. We can also house items in a pocket dimension...
  88. ^ The Old Wizard's Almanac: Non-Magical Creatures
  89. ^ N [45] Dabbling in the Demonic
  90. ^ H [10-50] In Every Dark Corner
  91. ^ Dungeon Journal entry for Drakkari Colossus
  92. ^ Voodooist Timan
  93. ^  [Vodouisant's Vigilant Embrace]
  94. ^ N Warlock [60R] Hoodoo Hex
  95. ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 248-249
  96. ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 150-151
  97. ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 59
  98. ^ Magic & Mayhem, pg. 24
  99. ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 60
  100. ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 154
  101. ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 79
  102. ^ Magic & Mayhem, pg. 34
  103. ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. 117
  104. ^ Magic & Mayhem, pg. 55-57
  105. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 66-68
  106. ^ More Magic and Mayhem, pg. 8
  107. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 67
  108. ^ Esara Verrinde#Gossip