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Warcraft III Reforged - Undead Icon.png
Crest of the Scourge
Main leader None

IconSmall NewLichKing.gifIconSmall BolvarUndead.gif Lich King Bolvar
IconSmall LichKing.gifIconSmall ArthasDK.gif Lich King Arthas †
IconSmall LichKing.gifIconSmall Ner'zhul.gif Lich King Ner'zhul †
IconSmall Nathrezim2.gif Tichondrius

Secondary leaders None
  Formerly See below

IconSmall Skeleton.gifIconSmall SkeletalMage.gifIconSmall SkeletalWarrior.gifIconSmall BoneGiant.gif Skeleton
IconSmall NorthrendGhoul.gifIconSmall Ghoul.gif Ghoul
IconSmall Lich Male.gifIconSmall Lich Female.gif Lich
IconSmall Zombie.gif Zombie
IconSmall Wight.gif Wight
IconSmall Vargul.gif Vargul
IconSmall Geist.gif Geist
IconSmall BoneGolem.gif Bone golem
IconSmall Gargoyle.gif Gargoyle
IconSmall Abomination.gif Abomination
IconSmall PlagueEruptor.gif Plague eruptor
IconSmall FleshTitan.gif Flesh titan
IconSmall FleshGiant.gifIconSmall Cyborg.gif Flesh giant
IconSmall Shade.gif Shade
IconSmall Wraith.gif Wraith
IconSmall Soul.gif Ghost
IconSmall Banshee.gif Banshee
IconSmall UndeadElf Male.gifIconSmall UndeadElf Female.gifSan'laynSan'layn Darkfallen
IconSmall CryptFiend.gifIconSmall CryptLord.gif Undead nerubian
IconSmall ScourgeTroll.gif Scourge troll
IconSmall ScourgeGnome.gif Scourge gnome
IconSmall UndeadGnoll.gif Undead Gnoll
IconSmall UndeadQuilboar Male.gifIconSmall UndeadQuilboar Female.gif Undead Quilboar
AllianceHorde Races of former members from Alliance and Horde
VrykulVrykul Vrykul
Frost vrykulFrost vrykul Frost vrykul
IconSmall Worgen.gif Worgen
IconSmall SkeletalHorse.gif Skeletal horse
IconSmall Deathcharger.gif Deathcharger
IconSmall DeathKnightGryphon.gif Scourge Gryphon
Undead dragonUndead dragonUndead dragon Undead dragon

  Formerly IconSmall Val'kyr.gif Val'kyr
Capital Icecrown Citadel
Other major settlements Naxxramas, Azjol-Nerub, Voltarus, Utgarde Keep, Shadowfang Tower, Stratholme, Drak'Tharon Keep, Scourgeholme, Temple City of En'kilah, Scholomance, Razorfen Downs
  Formerly Andorhal, Ruins of Lordaeron
Theater of operations Azeroth
Language(s) Common, Language of death, Various languages
Sub-group(s) Organizations
Affiliation Independent
  Formerly Burning Legion
Status Active

The Scourge (sometimes called the Undead Scourge[1][2] or Scourge Army[3][4]) is one of three major undead factions existing in the world of Azeroth (the other two being the Forsaken and the Knights of the Ebon Blade). Until recently, it was a major player for control of the world. Created initially as the precursor to an invasion by the Burning Legion, the Scourge broke free from their demonic masters and — under the iron rule of the dread Lich King — have built up their power base on the arctic continent of Northrend. Their influence spreads throughout Northrend, as well as the Plaguelands in northern Lordaeron and southern Quel'Thalas, and even Kalimdor to a small degree. Consisting of thousands of walking corpses, disembodied spirits, beasts of the north, and damned mortal men,[5][6] the Scourge is a terrifying and insidious enemy which, before its downfall, was perhaps the most dangerous threat to the world of Azeroth.

Following the end of the Scourgewar, the Scourge became relatively quiet, controlled by the new Lich King Bolvar Fordragon with the Helm of Domination. However, after the Fourth War, the helm was shattered by Sylvanas Windrunner to destroy the Veil between Azeroth and the Shadowlands. Since that moment, the Scourge became leaderless, and is now an aimless mass of undead rather than an organized force aimed at the hearts of all living things.[7]



The Burning Legion had experimented with the undead for at least ten thousand years, with the first hint of the Scourge's creation being an experiment by the nathrezim to raise undead night elves in the ruins of Suramar during the War of the Ancients.[8]

The Scourge was (and still is) a vast army of the undead serving the Lich King — the being formerly known as the orc shaman Ner'zhul. Under the control of the Burning Legion, the Scourge's mission was to spread terror and destruction across the world in anticipation of the Legion's inevitable invasion. A mission that was almost undone before it even began when the nerubians attacked and began the War of the Spider, however, the conflict ultimately ended with the Lich King's first major triumph (while the nerubians were immune to the plague, their corpses could still be reanimated). The Lich King was impressed by his enemy, however, and adopted nerubian architecture for his own, as a testament to the spider lords' tenacity and age.[9]

The Lich King, now uncontested in the ice realm of Northrend where he ruled from the Frozen Throne, unleashed the terrible Plague of Undeath southward into human lands. As the plague encroached on the southlands, countless humans fell prey to Ner'zhul's mental control and life-draining sickness every day. With the help of Kel'Thuzad and the Cult of the Damned the plague was spread. Many of Lordaeron's northern villages were contaminated almost immediately. Just as in Northrend, the citizens who contracted the plague died and arose as the Lich King's willing slaves. The cultists under Kel'Thuzad were eager to die and be raised again in their dark lord's service. They exulted in the prospect of immortality through undeath. As the plague spread, more and more feral zombies arose in the northlands. Kel'Thuzad looked upon the Lich King's growing army and named it the Scourge, for soon it would march upon the gates of Lordaeron and scour humanity from the face of the world.[10]

Reign of Chaos

A Battle between the Scourge and the Alliance of Lordaeron forces during the Third War.

Though Ner'zhul and his undead Scourge were bound to the will of the Burning Legion, the Lich King constantly strove to free himself and gain vengeance upon the demons for dismembering his body and damning him so completely. To this end, he sought a champion to carry out his will and decided that Prince Arthas Menethil would be the perfect choice. During the Scourging of Lordaeron, Arthas became increasingly enraged at the devastation the undead caused and sought to end their threat by any means necessary, including culling a city. This would lead the young prince to Northrend, the roof of the world. There, the Scourge engaged in combat with the 1st Legion and Dwarven Expedition, which would eventually team up and proceed to Mal'Ganis' citadel. Fearing of being overwhelmed, Arthas would obtain the runeblade Frostmourne and kill the nathrezim, who he had thought was in command of the Scourge. It was there that the whispers of the Lich King guided Arthas into becoming Ner'zhul's champion and the greatest of his death knights. Arthas returned to his soldiers and killed them, raising them as Scourge.

In the days since Prince Arthas took the fleet to Northrend, the Silver Hand was fighting the spread of the plague.[11] However, the undead soon mysteriously pulled back from the Eastweald and vanished from sight. The citizenry didn't know the cause, but suspected that their prince succeeded in his quest to destroy the Scourge in Northrend. The truth was that the Lich King ordered the Scourge to retreat in order to prepare for Arthas' homecoming. Arthas, now the champion of the Scourge, returned home, and brought a mighty Scourge army with him, consisting of death knights, necromancers, abominations, crypt fiends, gargoyles, and frost wyrms. The prince ordered the army to remain hidden for the time being, and only a handful of death knights accompanied him to Capital City where he killed his own father and destroyed the capital, along with hundreds of citizens. At the same time, the Scourge emerged from hiding across Lordaeron and attacked the living.[12] When the Scourge attacked Tirisfal, the Agamand family fortified their mills. However, Devlin betrayed his people and made a deal with the Scourge.[13] The ranger Nathanos Marris held his ground on Marris Stead in defense of Lordaeron. The farm and all on it were waylaid by a gigantic wave of Scourge, with Nathanos perishing to Ramstein and subsequently being rased as a Scourge himself.[14]

When Alexandros Mograine returned from Ironforge with the mighty Ashbringer in hands, the Highlord was reported to be paring down the Scourge's numbers.[11] Neighboring human and dwarven nations converged on Lordaeron to vanquish the Scourge. However, the Scourge was numerous and defeated any Alliance resistance. Ultimately, the Scourge took Lordaeron,[15] ravaging many towns and farms across Eastweald, including Darrowshire in the Battle of Darrowshire. The undead also continued to spread the Plague of Undeath, corrupting the land. The Scourge attempted to invade Gilneas, however, King Genn Greymane turned to Archmage Arugal who summoned feral worgen from the Emerald Dream to repel the undead attacking Greymane Wall.[16]

Tichondrius sent Arthas on a mission, rallying the Cult of the Damned to his banner and invading Andorhal where Arthas ended the life of Uther the Lightbringer. The death knight and his army continued to invade the ancient elven kingdom of Quel'Thalas, defiling the Sunwell and using it to resurrect the necromancer Kel'Thuzad into a lich. With Kel'Thuzad once more among them, the Scourge moved forward to destroy the magi-city of Dalaran and claim the Book of Medivh, the result of which was the summoning of the demon lord Archimonde into the world, as well as Dalaran's destruction. It was at this point that Archimonde ordered that the Scourge be commanded by the dreadlords; however, Ner'zhul was planning a different move.

Shortly before the Battle of Mount Hyjal, Ner'zhul engineered the downfall of the Legion by having his lieutenant, Arthas Menethil, alert the demon hunter Illidan Stormrage to the presence of the Legion in Felwood. Illidan's attack on the demons there brought about the death of Tichondrius and the destruction of the Skull of Gul'dan, which greatly weakened the Legion and made it possible for the Alliance, Horde, and night elf forces to stop Archimonde during the Battle of Mount Hyjal. It was at this point that Ner'zhul was finally capable of making his bid for freedom, effectively cutting all ties to the remaining demons as well as the remaining demon lord, Kil'jaeden. Such a move inspired Kil'jaeden to incredible heights of anger, and it was now the demon's turn to lust after vengeance. But, thanks to the Legion's defeat, Kil'jaeden was stripped of his capacity to simply bring about swift destruction, and was forced to use more subtle methods to dispose of his rebellious creation.

In Felwood, the Scourge decimated the area with attacks of infernals and other demonic magics, with the slimes supposedly creeping up through the earth during the attacks.[17]

The Frozen Throne

The Scourge about to defend the Frozen Throne.
Arthas and Ner'zhul become one.
Main article: Ascension of the Lich King

Shortly after the Battle of Mount Hyjal, Kil'jaeden contacted Illidan Stormrage with an offer too tempting for the demon hunter to refuse: Slay the Lich King and be granted the awesome power of a demon lord. Gathering his once-Highborne allies, the naga, Illidan traveled to the Tomb of Sargeras and began weaving a massive spell targeting the Frozen Throne using the Eye of Sargeras. However, the spell was interrupted at the eleventh hour by Illidan's brother Malfurion Stormrage, Maiev Shadowsong, and Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider. Though the spell was not completed, enough potent fel energy had been siphoned to cause a fracture in the Lich King's icy prison. This caused Ner'zhul's powers to weaken, especially his control of his undead. It was during this time that a large band of undead, led by Sylvanas Windrunner, regained their free will and left the Scourge. After warring over the control of the Plaguelands and defeating the remaining nathrezim, she named her followers as the Forsaken. Desperate, Ner'zhul contacted Arthas, the greatest of his death knights, by telepathy and commanded him to return to Icecrown Citadel at once.

However, this matter was complicated by Kil'jaeden once again. Growing impatient with Illidan's failures, the demon lord instructed him, with his allies the Naga and newly named blood elves, to travel to Northrend and put an end to the Lich King personally. Arthas's undead forces battled Illidan's army at the base of the glacier, the aftermath of which left Illidan wounded and his troops broken. Arthas, victorious, proceeded into the Lich King's throne chamber where he used the runeblade Frostmourne to shatter the Frozen Throne and free the essence of Ner'zhul. The spirit of the orcish shaman then bonded with Arthas and they became one of the most powerful beings the world had ever known.


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The survivors of the Knights of the Silver Hand in northern Lordaeron continued to strike at Scourge, including Stratholme.[18] Due to the machinations of Balnazzar and Kel'Thuzad, the Silver Hand splintered after the death of Alexandros Mograine who had been lured to Stratholme's gates where he fought against waves of the undead, but ultimately was betrayed by his son, Renault Mograine. This heralded the birth of the Scarlet Crusade and Argent Dawn, which later led to further battles, including an attack on Hearthglen where High General Abbendis died, attack on Naxxramas led by Darion Mograine to free his father Alexandros, and an attack on Light's Hope Chapel where Darion sacrificed himself. The Scourge would manage to recover several bodies of the fallen Argent Dawn members, including Darion and his weapon, the Ashbringer.[19][20] Naxxramas served as the war factory for the Scourge.[21]

Lord Raymond George and his Argent Dawn fought against the Scourge. Their necromancers raised the Dawn's fallen soldiers and created twisted golems to slay more soldiers.[22]

Two years after the end of the Third War, the Scourge were edging closer to Hillsbrad Foothills according to Kalecgos. Anveena Teague's farm and the human-controlled Tarren Mill were attacked by the Scourge led by the traitor high elf Dar'Khan Drathir who was looking for the essence of the Sunwell. They were eventually defeated by Kalec, Tyrygosa, Anveena, Jorad Mace, and Harkyn Grymstone.[23] At some point in the past, the Scourge had invaded Barony Mordis in the Alterac Mountains, killing Baron Valimar Mordis, and continued to operate there until Kalec, Anveena, and his group arrived there. They were led by the ghoul Ichor who had the Orb of Ner'zhul that they used to raise undead beasts. The baron had the orb stolen, and he wanted to use it to create his own army from remains dug out by a group of dwarves. When their frost wyrm attacked, Ichor captured Jorad and Tyrigosa. Soon, however, the prisoners and Kalec's group fought against the undead, while Trag Highmountain struggled with his former comrade, destroying the orb and causing the deaths of Ichor and Mordis.[24] Dar'Khan managed to capture Anveena and brought her to Quel'Thalas. The Farstriders continued to fight against the undead and noted that the Scourge numbers were increasing in the area. As they learned, Dar'Khan's return was the cause.[25] In the meantime, the orb of Ner'zhul had reanimated Trag, who sought revenge against the Lich King. When the two clashed, the Lich King revealed that he wanted to make Trag his champion and a Scourge commander.[26]

At some point, the Scourge led by Kirkessen the Zealous tried to invade Light's Hope Chapel once again in the Siege of the Sanguine, but failed. Diodor the Damned led a series of attacks against the Scarlet Monastery, two of which were successful while the final third one marked the Scourge's defeat.[27]

Around year 24 on Hallow's End, the Scarlet Crusade attacked the Scourge. The battle was joined by the mad Sir Thomas who killed not only the Scourge force, but also his fellow crusaders.[11]

At some point, the paladin Lord Thorval scouted an area for Scourge presence. While he was away from his village, the Scarlet Crusade burned the villagers, Thorval's family among them. He and his scouting party discovered this but were ordered to continue to the nearest remaining waypost. Not long after nightfall, they heard the ominous cackling of the undead echoing from the trees, and a wave of Scourge overtook them. Thorval was killing them, but for each of the fallen, two more crawled forth from the hills. They were caught in the same tide of Scourge they had been hunting, only now they were broken and unprepared. Thorval's allies were succumbing to wounds and exhaustion. Thinking of his deceased family filled Thorval with hatred. Suddenly, he came to a realization that death was the only real end to any mortal tale, wielding power to protect led inalterably to failure, and that success met only those who used it for a different end. As such, Thorval swore allegiance to the Lich King. The lord of the Scourge purged him of his hateful human sensations that had tormented him, and he was reborn as a death knight.[28]

WoW-novel-logo-16x62.png This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.

Two years after his previous defeat, Dar'Khan re-emerged in Quel'Thalas with a band of undead and lured Lady Liadrin into a trap, seeking her new Blood Knights killed and reanimated into powerful Scourge warriors. The ploy failed, and Dar'Khan and his minions were defeated once more.[29]

World of Warcraft

WoW Icon update.png This section concerns content related to the original World of Warcraft.

The Scourge was primarily concentrated in the Plaguelands with a large concentration in Andorhal and Scholomance. Their primary fortification and "capital" in Lordaeron was the ruined city of Stratholme, under the rule of Baron Rivendare. The Scourge controlled the majority of the city, but the humans of the Scarlet Crusade held a small section. The Scourge has also been seen in Tirisfal Glades and Silverpine Forest holding Fenris Isle.

The Scourge is also reported to have a presence as far away as the Barrens in Kalimdor; The lich Amnennar the Coldbringer and his forces participated in the Scourge's assault on Mount Hyjal during the Third War. Afterward, the Lich King instructed his servant to remain in Kalimdor and expand the Scourge's influence, and so Amnennar began plans to create a base from which to strike at Orgrimmar and Theramore. To that end, Amnennar has set his sights on recruiting the recently displaced and desperate quilboar of Razorfen Downs, promising them power over death so they can repel invaders in their lands.[30]

The necromancer-lich Kel'Thuzad, the majordomo of the Lich King, once controlled the Scourge in Lordaeron from his citadel of Naxxramas, floating over Stratholme and Plaguewood in the Eastern Plaguelands.

The Lich King and Kel'Thuzad later sent necropolises to invade various areas across Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, including Azshara, the Blasted Lands, the Burning Steppes, the Tanaris Desert, the Eastern Plaguelands, Winterspring, and capital cities. The Scourge were establishing small staging points in the places under attack, receiving communications and other assistance from the necropolises that flew overhead.[31]

After defending the lands, heroes of the Alliance and Horde stormed Naxxrammas, forcing Kel'Thuzad to retreat along with his floating fortress to Northrend.

The Burning Crusade

Bc icon.gif This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.

The Scourge appeared many times in the blood elven lands of Quel'Thalas, mostly on the tainted land known as the Dead Scar. The high elf traitor Dar'Khan Drathir, slain during the Third War, ruled the Scourge in Quel'Thalas from the fortress of Deatholme until he was eventually slain by blood elf and Forsaken forces. A few members of the Scourge were seen fighting the Burning Legion on Quel'Danas.

For years, Andorhal remained in the hands of the Scourge. At some point, Maddox and his group tried to retake it with the help of the Argent Dawn, but the effort failed, and the Scourge overwhelmed the soldiers.[32]

Just prior to the war against the Lich King, a large Scourge army was amassing somewhere in Lordaeron, and Korialstrasz suspected that they were headed for Dalaran, so the red dragon decimated them.[33]

Wrath of the Lich King

The awaken Lich King and its undead armies in Icecrown.
Bolvar crowned the Jailor of the Damned.

Wrath-Logo-Small.png This section concerns content related to Wrath of the Lich King.

After the merging of Arthas and Ner'zhul, the Lich King entered a period of dormancy as he slept and dreamed atop the Frozen Throne. In the meantime, his minions rebuilt Icecrown Citadel as he made his plans for the conquest of all of Azeroth. Finally, after several years, the Lich King awoke and unleashed his Scourge on the unsuspecting world, attacking Orgrimmar, Stormwind City, and Theramore. The Lich King personally also led his minions into the Battle for Light's Hope Chapel.

The forces of both the Alliance and Horde then arrived in Northrend to confront the Scourge on its home soil, until at last they were prepared for a final assault on Icecrown. After facing a gauntlet of the Scourge's most powerful leaders, the greatest champions were able to reach the Frozen Throne to confront the Lich King himself. In the epic battle that ensued, Tirion Fordring used the sword Ashbringer to shatter Frostmourne, releasing the spirits within that then aided the champions as they sent Arthas to his demise. This did not mean the end of the Scourge, however, as the spirits of both Uther the Lightbringer and King Terenas Menethil II had warned that without anyone to control it, the Scourge would be free to destroy the world. As Fordring contemplated placing the crown upon his head (thinking there was no one else who could accept such a burden) the disfigured Bolvar Fordragon appeared and stated that it was his fate to be the Jailer of the Damned. In addition, he said that the world must be told that both he and the Lich King were dead and never know the truth about what had really happened if it was to live free from the tyranny of fear. Fordring then reluctantly crowned Fordragon as the new Lich King, and moments later ice imprisoned the Lich King once more.


Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.

By the time of the Cataclysm, the Scourge is little more than a shell of its former power in Lordaeron. The Lich King is dead, the Scourge command structure all but wiped out, and the remaining legions of undead held in check by Bolvar's sacrifice.

Becoming the new Lich King has been a difficult transition for Bolvar and he needs a bit of time to reign in the Scourge. Though the Scourge in Northrend are asleep, the Scourge and Cult of the Damned operating in the Plaguelands are autonomous.[34] There are still sizable Scourge forces in the Plaguelands of Lordaeron who continue to serve their now-dead master. The island fortress of Caer Darrow, home of the Scholomance, is the major Scourge holdout west of the Thondroril River, and their forces can also be found in Andorhal.

Some former servants of the Scourge have found their way into the ranks of the Forsaken. The Val'kyr, the winged harbingers of the Lich King, were brought into Sylvanas' fold after the Lich King's demise; the Banshee Queen used their necromantic powers to solve the problem of her people's limited numbers by raising their slain mortal enemies as Forsaken.

After the Shattering, both the Alliance and the Forsaken started making major efforts to expel the Scourge from Andorhal. The ruined city became a warzone between the Alliance under the command of Thassarian, and the Forsaken under the command of Koltira Deathweaver. Araj the Summoner led what remains of the Lich King's forces in Andorhal, their power diminished by the death of their lord. This major conflict in this war effort came to be known as the Battle for Andorhal. The combined forces relentlessly slaughtered these Scourge and ultimately destroyed Araj.

Ix'lar the Underlord was an independent crypt lord in the Eastern Plaguelands that believed the Scourge would rise again under his rule.


Legion This section concerns content related to Legion.

Following the return of the Burning Legion in the Broken Isles, the Lich King Bolvar has entered into a pact with the Knights of the Ebon Blade, where the death knights of Acherus will once again act in the Lich King's name if the Scourge remains confined to Northrend. As part of this agreement, the Lich King has offered assistance to the Ebon Blade to obtain powerful artifacts to use against the Legion. Acherus briefly relocates to Icecrown Citadel, where a champion of the Ebon Blade obtains the shards of Frostmourne to forge into potent new weapons, while directing other champions to obtain similar weapons. Once the artifacts are found, the Lich King grants his blessing to the champions, whose orders are to be obeyed as if they were his own.

It is revealed by Amal'thazad that the Burning Legion continues to try to recreate the masterpiece that was the Scourge, their nathrezim apparently only being able to make "puppets of bone".[35]

Battle for Azeroth

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

During the Fourth War, Scourge activity increased dramatically in Stratholme.[36] According to Mathias Shaw's report after the war, the Hillsbrad Foothills was rife with several enemies, including the Scourge.[37]

We Ride Forth

WoW-novel-logo-16x62.png This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.

Believing that Sylvanas Windrunner would come for the Helm of Domination, the Lich King Bolvar employed a daring gambit. He deceived the Four Horsemen into thinking that he had fallen under the dark powers of the Lich King by bringing and hiding the forces of the Scourge around Icecrown Citadel, so that when Sylvanas inevitably confronted him, the horsemen would arrive soon after and finish off the winner, before choosing who would be the new Lich King.[38]


Shadowlands This section concerns content related to Shadowlands.

After the defeat of the Lich King and the destruction of the Helm of Domination at Sylvanas Windrunner's hands, as foreshadowed by King Terenas years earlier, the now-masterless Scourge marauded all across Azeroth, emboldened by the message of the Jailer brought by the Mawsworn kyrian Herald Dalora.[39] Off the heels of yet another brutal war, the forces of Azeroth mounted a counterattack and assaulted the source at Icecrown Citadel.[40] During this conflict, Darion Mograine and Thoras Trollbane were forced to regain control of Acherus: The Ebon Hold,[38] while the Knights of the Ebon Blade and the Argent Crusade stepped in to lead the offensive against the Scourge.[41]

During the course of the war against the Jailer in the Shadowlands, the Scourge also invaded Lakeshire in the Redridge Mountains.[42]

Though the Jailer was slain by the war's end, the Scourge remained a threat as the mightiest of the Scourge vied for supremacy, like vicious warlords in the wake of their king's death. One such warlord was the San'layn Vorath, who commanded his Scourge forces from within Deatholme against the Sin'dorei of Quel'Thalas before he was slain. Vorath's attack on Quel'Thalas had unsettled Lor'themar who suspected that things were even worse in Northrend.[43]

WoW-novel-logo-16x62.png This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.

Following the war against the Jailer, the brothers Bronzebeard visited the Northrend after years and notably reported the activities of the Scourge.

In Icecrown, the Icecrown Glacier is still held by the undead.[44] The Fleshwerks remained under Scourge control; the undead still making more monsters of their own, though without driving purpose and at a much slower rate.[45]


Prior to Arthas' defeat, he was at the top of the organization as the Lich King, who sent orders from his ice fortress in Northrend. His direct underlings were liches, undead mages, and necromancers with incredible power to spread plague and command undead armies. It is unknown how many liches there were, but Arthas's right-hand lich was Kel'Thuzad, who reigned in Lordaeron and had his hands full fighting the Scarlet Crusade and the Forsaken, the undead who broke free from the control of the Lich King. Kel'Thuzad contained the fight against the Horde and Alliance in Northrend when Naxxramas moved to the Dragonblight prior to his final defeat (or his presumed defeat, as his phylactery was nowhere to be seen after his death). The banshees under his command often led scouting troops to discover new areas to infiltrate, while other important Scourge members included necromancers, responsible for raising and commanding the dead, and the Cult of the Damned, a bizarre group of mortals so fascinated by the undead that they follow them, worship them, even emulate them, hoping to one day be damned as the undead are. They don’t see the foulness and evil, but rather power and eternal life.

A Scourgestone is an item given to all Scourge upon "birth" or creation. It provides certain benefits to the holder, but more importantly it provides Scourge leaders insight into the location and movement of their units.[46] By "birth", The Ebon Watcher is referring to necromancers and other dark magic wielders who are born into the ranks of the Scourge alive and gradually become undead, never actually dying themselves. It's important to clarify however that beings that transition in this way are also physically dead, their bodies bearing the mark of decay.

Most of the undead reported to a region's leadership of necromancers or liches, who in turn reported to Kel'Thuzad. He reported pertinent information to Arthas. The rogue undead, the Forsaken, were wild cards: the Lich King lost much of his power over the undead before merging with Arthas Menethil. This allowed one of the more powerful banshees, Sylvanas Windrunner, to escape his hold. She freed many more undead creatures, and currently leads the Forsaken from her tunnel complex underneath the former capital city of Lordaeron. While they are not part of the Scourge and do not fall into the Scourge organization, they work along roughly the same lines — kill or otherwise eliminate those that oppose them and dominate the undead. He had many plans for Azeroth, so he couldn't focus entirely on Sylvanas and devote much of his time to 'reclaiming' the Forsaken. A thing to note about the Scourge was that the further from a lich or a necromancer the weaker undead got, the more disoriented they were. They lost the command of the Lich King, but they didn't necessarily become free. Once the will of the necromancer or other controlling force left them, they had no memory of their former selves, and they shuffled around as mindless husks, searching for someone to lead them.

Arthas led the Scourge in Northrend from the Frozen Throne, completely dominating Icecrown. The Scourge's secondary base was the continent of Lordaeron, in the city of Stratholme, Arthas's first conquest. Now it lies in burning ruin. There are few remaining mortals there, except for those of the Cult of the Damned and the Scarlet Crusade. Lordaeron's northern and eastern areas are practically abysmal with the Scourge. Their foul stench permeates the air. Yet the Scourge has reached all areas of the world, dripping down through Khaz Modan and into Azeroth, and even west to Razorfen Downs Kalimdor. Arthas wanted his finger on everything happening in the world, and he had the forces to do it.

With Arthas' defeat and Fordragon's ascendancy as the new Lich King, the Cult of the Damned chose to become independent of the Bolvar-controlled Scourge, while during the third invasion of the Burning Legion, the Knights of the Ebon Blade come to an agreement with the new Lich King by acting voluntarily as his agents if the Scourge remains contained in Northrend. It is still unknown what the new Scourge command structure was during Bolvar's reign.

Following the destruction of the Helm of Domination at the hands of Sylvanas Windrunner after the Fourth War, the Scourge marauded masterless all across Azeroth, emboldened by the Cult of the Damned and the Jailer's Mawsworn. Though Zovaal the Jailer would be ultimately slain, the mightiest Scourge would seize control and vie for supremacy, like vicious warlords in the wake of their king's death.

Notable former servants

Former command structure

Prominent members of the Scourge. From left to right: Blood-Queen Lana'thel, the Lich King, Professor Putricide, and Sindragosa.
A stylized and symmetrical banner seen around Icecrown.

After the Fall of the Lich King

With most of Arthas' commanders dead, and Bolvar Fordragon having donned the Helm of Domination only to contain the Scourge, it is unclear what command structure, if any, Bolvar employed during his reign. Most of his dealings with the Ebon Blade and the Four Horsemen were via an agreement to be allies, rather than a ruler and his subjects; Bolvar offered to aid the Ebon Blade during the third invasion of the Burning Legion, and in exchange they agreed to act as his agents as long as the Scourge remained confined to Northrend.

Scourge outposts run by the Cult of the Damned continued to pose a threat, as members of the cult generally chose to serve the Scourge during the previous kings' reigns, rather than being forced into it.

After Sylvanas Windrunner defeated the Lich King Bolvar Fordragon and destroyed the Helm of Domination, the lesser undead of the Scourge went feral and began to rampage throughout Azeroth. Additionally, the Cult of the Damned made a resurgence under the leadership of Herald Dalora and began once more to spread the Plague of Undeath.


The Lich King and his army of living dead.

In Warcraft III

WC3RoC-logo.png This section concerns content related to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos or its expansion The Frozen Throne.

Undead Scourge was the undead faction led by Mal'Ganis and Arthas. Their team color was green. It appeared as an enemy faction in and Ravages of the Plague and The Cult of the Damned. Their units consisted of regular undead units with the addition of sketelons.

In the RPG

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

There was suspicion that an agent of the Scourge may have influenced Zalazane in his necromantic endeavors.[48][49] The followers of Zalazane even eventually managed to create greater undead such as abominations.[50]

Kel'Thuzad called Linnena Hallow to be by his side as he sowed the undead plague through Stratholme, and she was instrumental in raising the undead to strengthen the Scourge's army.[51]

Monstrous Scourge

Some creatures of the Scourge are not technically undead, but instead are monstrous constructions created by the science and magical experimentation of the acolytes and necromancers following Ner'zhul. These are constructed creatures fashioned by the perverse experimentation of the Lich King's followers and do not occur in any natural fashion.

Monstrous members of the Scourge are not particularly intelligent, having been created from the leftover pieces of enemies and friends alike. They are, however, very loyal and almost fanatically devoted to whatever task is appointed to them. These creatures are not truly individuals, having little will of their own other than that given to them on creation or through the current descriptions given in their orders.[52]


The members of the Scourge are easy to spot, smell, and identify. And it doesn't take much to join. All it takes is to either love the Scourge or be undead and under the Lich King's spell, and you're in. One does not need to do much to be in this organization. Some of the first members were mortals who had fallen in the undead plague. People sickened from the plague and died, only to rise as zombies. This city-razing technique proved to be not as efficient as the Lich King desired, apparently, because he started telling his necromancers to desecrate graveyards and raise up even more members. Only two things seem to separate a Scourge servitor from the Lich King's will: whatever faltering in the Lich King's power allowed the Forsaken to free themselves from his grasp, and destruction of their bodies. Scourge creatures are bidden to do the Lich King's will, and they do this with a blind fervor. The Cult of the Damned is an enigma. No one knows why they do what they do. Whatever the reason, they willfully follow the Scourge, dressing in dark robes, doing their bidding, while helping to spread the plague into more and more cities.[53]

Items and objects


Icon for the "Forsaken" tabard.



  1. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
  2. ^ War of the Ancients Trilogy
  3. ^ H [6] A New Plague
  4. ^ H [12] A Recipe For Death
  5. ^ Warcraft III - Undead. Retrieved on 2020-02-09.
  6. ^ H [2] The Mindless Ones
  7. ^ Exploring Azeroth: Northrend, pg. 128
  8. ^ The Demon Soul, chapter 14
  9. ^ a b War of the Spider
  10. ^  [Kel'Thuzad and the Forming of the Scourge]
  11. ^ a b c A Cleansing Fire
  12. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 54
  13. ^  [Thurman's Letter]
  14. ^ H [60D] Ramstein
  15. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 54 - 55
  16. ^ Curse of the Worgen
  17. ^ H [52] A Sample of Slime...
  18. ^ Death is Contagious
  19. ^ Naxxramas
  20. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 129
  21. ^ On Naxxramas
  22. ^ N [15-30D] Aberrations of Bone
  23. ^ Dragon Hunt
  24. ^ Shadows of Ice
  25. ^ Ghostlands
  26. ^ Fate
  27. ^ Compendium of Fallen Heroes
  28. ^ The Memoirs of Lord Thorval
  29. ^ Blood of the Highborne
  30. ^ Amnennar the Coldbringer: Dungeon Journal
  31. ^ Argent Messenger
  32. ^ Warcraft: Legends Volume 1, The Journey
  33. ^ Night of the Dragon, chapter 2
  34. ^ BlizzCon 2011 Lore Q&A
  35. ^ N Death knight [45WQ] Life's a Lich
  36. ^ N [50] Tiny Terrors of Stratholme
  37. ^ World of Warcraft: Exploring Azeroth: The Eastern Kingdoms, pg. 98
  38. ^ a b We Ride Forth
  39. ^ N [50] Only Shadows Remain
  40. ^ Blizzard Entertainment Blizzard Entertainment 2019-11-01. World of Warcraft: What’s Next Panel Recap. Retrieved on 2019-11-02.
  41. ^ B [50] Return of the Crusade
  42. ^ N [60] Lakeshire's Last Stand
  43. ^ H [60] Victory for the Sin'dorei
  44. ^ Exploring Azeroth: Northrend, pg. 139
  45. ^ Exploring Azeroth: Northrend, pg. 135
  46. ^ N [25-30] The Scourgestone
  47. ^ Report from the Frontlines: Western Northrend
  48. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 34
  49. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 35
  50. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 36
  51. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 190
  52. ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 132 - 133
  53. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 188
  54. ^ N [60D] Menethil's Gift
  55. ^ Exploring Azeroth: Northrend, pg. 142
  56. ^ Judgehype - Interview de Steve Danuser sur l'histoire de Shadowlands

External links

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