Troll Wars

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Not to be confused with Zandalari Troll Wars.
Troll Wars
Troll Wars magi.jpg
Date 2,800 BDP[1][2][3][4]
Location Continent of Lordaeron
Provocation High elf encroachment on Amani lands
End The battle at Alterac Fortress

Decisive human-high elven victory


Empire of Arathor

Kingdom of Quel'Thalas


Amani Empire

Zandalari Empire (as advisors)
Commanders and leaders
  • IconSmall ForestTroll Male.gif Jintha †
  • Casualties and losses
    • Heavy for the elves
    • "Countless" for the humans[6]
  • Massive
  • Previous War of the Satyr
    Next War against the Drust

    The Troll Wars were a series of conflicts between the forest trolls of the Amani Empire and an alliance of the humans of Arathor and high elves of Quel'Thalas, ending approximately 2,800 years BDP.[1][2][3][4] The conflict began when the Amani, hungry for revenge after having been driven from their lands by the high elves millennia prior, launched an all-out assault on Quel'Thalas. Facing certain defeat, the elves turned to Arathor and agreed to teach a select number of humans arcane magic in exchange for their aid. Together the two nations thoroughly defeated the Amani army at the foot of the Alterac Mountains[7] and shattered their empire.[8][9][10]

    The Troll Wars were the longest and bloodiest war humanity had seen up to that point, but through it they won a strong friendship with the elves and were introduced to the arcane.[6] For Quel'Thalas and Arathor, the war signaled the beginning of a glorious new era, while for the trolls it marked a dark turning point in history from which they would never fully recover.[11]


    Around 6,800 BDP, the exiled Highborne who would become the high elves arrived to the northernmost parts of Lordaeron, where they encountered the forest trolls of the Amani Empire. The trolls already harbored a hatred of elves from the days of the Kaldorei Empire, and skirmishes between the Amani and Highborne fostered a mutual blood feud between the two races.[12][13][14][15] The elves used their arcane powers (including the Arcanum enchantments, developed from magic stolen from the troll loa Zanza)[16] to drive out the Amani and founded the kingdom of Quel'Thalas, centered around the Sunwell and their new capital of Silvermoon. However, they soon learned that they'd built their kingdom atop Amani ruins that the trolls still considered sacred. The Amani, who outnumbered the elves by more than ten to one, immediately began attacking elven settlements en masse. Under Dath'Remar Sunstrider's leadership, the elves held off the assault and erected the magical barrier Ban'dinoriel to frighten away the superstitious trolls, who eventually retreated back to their capital of Zul'Aman and resigned themselves to attacking elves that strayed outside the barrier. For the next four thousand years, Quel'Thalas thrived in peace.[12][13][14][15]

    The Amani spent the millennia plotting revenge in Zul'Aman, but suffered from infighting and a lack of a strong leader. In 2,800 BDP, their fortunes changed when they received aid from the Zandalari trolls. The Zandalari, who saw themselves as protectors of all trolls across Azeroth, wanted to revitalize the Amani and reassert troll dominance in the Eastern Kingdoms. A handful of Zandalari emissaries traveled to Zul'Aman and helped the Amani prepare for war by appointing the warrior Jintha as their ruler and enlisting the aid of the loa demigods.[4]

    Meanwhile, the Amani's southern neighbors, the human tribes, continued to war with each other even as Amani incursions into human territories became more aggressive over the span of a few decades. The Arathi tribe realized that something was changing among the Amani and that humanity would stand little chance in a true war against the trolls if they remained divided. The Arathi's leader, Thoradin, declared himself king and, over the course of six years, united the other human tribes into the empire of Arathor before establishing the capital of Strom in the Arathi Highlands.[7][17]

    Siege of Quel'Thalas

    Map of Lordaeron during the Troll Wars.
    King Anasterian Sunstrider of Quel'Thalas, as he appeared millennia later.

    After they received aid from the Zandalari, small Amani warbands began attacking Quel'Thalas' borders while hiding their true numbers in order to test the high elves' strength. After several successful skirmishes, they launched an all-out campaign to wipe out the elves. Tens of thousands of trolls, accompanied and magically empowered by their loa, emerged from the forests and laid waste Quel'Thalas' outer reaches. The elves were hopelessly outnumbered and quickly lost ground while their casualties climbed.[4][13][14][18] The Zandalari were confident that the trolls' ultimate victory was only a matter of time.[4] To help defend Quel'Thalas, the elves founded the order of rangers, the greatest of whom was Talanas Windrunner, the first ranger-general of Silvermoon.[19] Over the course of months, rumors of the war trickled down to Arathor, but Thoradin and his generals agreed that they would not risk their own kind by sending aid to the reclusive elves and instead kept most of their forces in Strom.[7][17]

    In desperation, the high elf king Anasterian Sunstrider sent ambassadors to Strom to ask for aid, in the hopes that there were humans who could become useful in combat if given magical training.[18] The elven ambassadors told Thoradin that the troll armies were vast and would move to attack Arathor once they had destroyed Quel'Thalas. Thoradin and his advisors concluded that they did not have enough forces for an open fight with the Amani and that they would need magic to defeat the trolls. After some further negotiations, Thoradin and Anasterian reached an agreement, and elven magi traveled to Strom to teach exactly one hundred humans the ways of magic in exchange for the humans' military aid.[7][11][13][18] Meanwhile, Thoradin sent his generals to establish Alterac Fortress at the base of the Alterac Mountains as a staging point for their future offensive, along with several other forts in the Eastweald.[11]

    Battle of Alterac Fortress

    King Thoradin of Arathor, as his ghost appeared millennia later.

    Once the elves had finished tutoring the human magi, many months later, Arathor began its offensive. Over twenty thousand human soldiers gathered at Alterac Fortress and then marched toward Quel'Thalas under Thoradin's command. The magi stayed behind, hidden in the fortress. Thoradin's generals Ignaeus and Lordain acted as the Arathi vanguard, riding days ahead of the rest of the host and clearing out Amani scouts and raiders. After weeks of marching, the Arathi host smashed into the Amani's southern flank on the outskirts of Quel'Thalas. In coordination, the high elves launched a counterattack on the trolls' front lines from the north. Jintha considered the humans to only be a nuisance and turned his attention on them, intending to quickly eradicate them and then refocus on exterminating the elves. Thoradin's army began a slow retreat back to Alterac. Weeks of brutal fighting ensued as the Amani chased the humans toward the mountains, while the elves marched out of Quel'Thalas to harry the Amani's rear flank.[11]

    At one point during the retreat, the Amani began gaining on the humans too fast and threatened to flank and overwhelm them. General Lordain and five hundred of his warriors volunteered to stay behind and hold off the trolls in a narrow valley, sacrificing their lives in order to allow the rest of the Arathi to continue south.[20] The humans eventually reached Alterac Fortress and prepared for the Amani's attack, which came on a foggy morning shortly after. The ensuing battle lasted for many days. Even though the Arathi were outnumbered, neither side gave ground. The high elves soon caught up and smashed into the Amani's rearguard.[7][11][21]

    When the humans and elves were confident that they had worn down the Amani ranks, they unleashed their secret weapon. The one hundred human magi emerged from the fortress and, alongside the elven sorcerers, did something unprecedented. Instead of attacking individually, they pooled their power and unleashed a single devastating spell, creating a massive column of fire which tore down from the sky and engulfed the Amani army. The magical flames prevented the trolls from regenerating their wounds and burned loa and troll alike from the inside out. Jintha was one of the first to be killed. Without their leader, the surviving trolls broke ranks and fled north. The human and elven armies ran them down and killed everyone they could find. The Troll Wars thus ended with the humans and elves triumphant.[7][11][21]


    The disastrous battle at Alterac shocked the Zandalari emissaries, who returned to Zandalar in disbelief and shame. To them, the defeat represented a dark turning point in troll history.[11] The Amani never fully recovered from their defeat, and they would never again rise as one nation.[7][13][14][18][22] The Amani Empire, which had previously lorded over most of northern Lordaeron, remained in existence but was reduced to small remnants in eastern Quel'Thalas and the southern Hinterlands.[23] Several forest troll tribes—the Mossflayers, Revantusks (nearly wiped out by the war), Vilebranch, and Witherbark—split off from the empire after the war, opting to return to their ancestral lands a safe distance away from Quel'Thalas. The most powerful, the Amani tribe, remained entrenched in Zul'Aman.[8] For the next 2,800 years, the forest trolls remained scattered and without the numbers to reclaim their former lands.[10]

    For Quel'Thalas and Arathor, the Troll Wars marked the beginning of a prosperous new era. For months after the war's end, celebrations filled the streets of Strom and Silvermoon.[11] In gratitude, the high elves made a pledge of undying loyalty and friendship to Arathor and to Thoradin's bloodline.[7][11][13][18][24] Humans and high elves went on to nurture peaceful relations for over two thousand years.[7][18] With the absence of trolls in the northlands, the elves focused on rebuilding Quel'Thalas.[7] Every year, they honored the anniversary of the final battle of the Troll Wars with the Remembrance celebration.[25][26] The losses they sustained in the war are reflected in the song "Lament of the Highborne", originally an ancient night elven song whose lyrics were revised after the war.[25][27]

    In Arathor, the original One Hundred spread knowledge of the arcane among the humans. The proliferation of magic allowed Arathor to expand across Lordaeron—including former Amani territories in the Eastweald—and establish new cities like Dalaran, which over the centuries grew into independent city-states.[20][28] The Church of the Holy Light can trace its origins to the Troll Wars. One of the soldiers who'd been saved by General Lordain's sacrifice during the retreat to Alterac was his sister, Mereldar. After the war, she dedicated herself to caring for humanity's wounded veterans and began receiving visions of the Light from the naaru in the Great Dark Beyond, teaching her to use holy magic. She and others who'd received the visions formed a religious movement based on the Light, which grew to become the dominant human religion and was centuries later codified by Lordaeron's leaders into the Church of the Holy Light.[29][30]

    During the Second War, millennia later, the Alliance's supreme commander Anduin Lothar, the last descendant of King Thoradin, reminded the high elves of the oath they had sworn his ancestor in order to secure their aid against the Horde.[13][24][31][32] During the same conflict, the Amani warlord Zul'jin reunited the forest troll tribes and allied with the Horde in a (ultimately failed) bid to restore the Amani Empire and take revenge on the elves and humans for the events of the Troll Wars.[10]


    Arathor and Quel'Thalas
    Amani Empire
    • Tens of thousands of Amani fighters[4]
    • Allied loa demigods[4]

    Weapons of the war

    Strom'kar, the weapon of King Thoradin.

    Several named high elf and human weapons notably saw use during the Troll Wars.


    See also


    1. ^ a b Timeline (from official site, 2004)
    2. ^ a b Timeline (from official site, 2007)
    3. ^ a b Timeline (Ultimate Visual Guide)
    4. ^ a b c d e f g World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 129
    5. ^ a b Blood of the Highborne
    6. ^ a b c N Warrior [10-45] The Sword of Kings - Thoradin dialogue
    7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j  [Arathor and the Troll Wars]
    8. ^ a b Troll Compendium: Forest Troll Tribes
    9. ^ Tides of Darkness, chapter 3
    10. ^ a b c Tides of Darkness, chapter 15
    11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 130 - 131
    12. ^ a b  [The Founding of Quel'Thalas]
    13. ^ a b c d e f g The Warcraft Encyclopedia: High Elves
    14. ^ a b c d The Troll Compendium: Early Troll Civilization - Defeat of the Amani Empire
    15. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 120 - 121
    16. ^ Zanza the Restless dialogue
    17. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 126 - 127
    18. ^ a b c d e f The Warcraft Encyclopedia: Anasterian Sunstrider
    19. ^ a b Tales of the Hunt: Thas'dorah, Legacy of the Windrunners
    20. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 133 - 134
    21. ^ a b c d Saga of the Valarjar: Strom'kar, the Warbreaker
    22. ^ The Burning Crusade Bestiary: Forest Trolls
    23. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 108
    24. ^ a b Tides of Darkness, chapter 7
    25. ^ a b Sylvanas, chapter 2, pg. 27 (ebook)
    26. ^ a b Sylvanas, chapter 4, pg. 49 (ebook)
    27. ^ Interview with Blizzard Entertainment Audio Director & World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Lead Composer Russell Brower. Music 4 Games (2007-04-20). Archived from the original on 2007-08-26.
    28. ^  [The Guardians of Tirisfal]
    29. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 126
    30. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 142
    31. ^  [The Alliance of Lordaeron]
    32. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 156 - 157
    33. ^ Examiner Andoren Dawnrise
    34. ^ Archive of the Tirisgarde: Felo'melorn
    35. ^ H [37] Sigil of Strom
    36. ^ H [10-30] Sigil of Strom
    37. ^ Day of the Dragon, pg. 253: "Rumors had long persisted, even before the days of the Troll Wars, that [the trolls] saw anything other than themselves as fair game for food."
    38. ^ Day of the Dragon, pg. 1: "There had been the trolls, before the forming of the Alliance of Lordaeron, and when at last humanity had dealt with that foul menace, the first wave of orcs had descended upon the lands, appearing out of a horrific rip in the very fabric of the universe."
    39. ^ Micky Neilson on Twitter (2018-10-28).​ “At the time of the writing, it was meant for Zul’jin to be that old as far as I remember.”
    40. ^ Micky Neilson on Twitter (2018-10-28).​ “Chapter one was Troll Wars, if memory serves.”
    41. ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia: Alleria Windrunner