Sargeras leading the Burning Legion in battle.
|Main leaders||Sargeras (Imprisoned)|
|Secondary leaders||Archimonde †|
|Other leaders||see more below|
|Former leaders and allies||see the betrayers below|
|Population||Effectively (and often mentioned to be) infinite: estimated to number in the millions, but able to re-form endlessly|
Alliance and the Horde
|Main capitals||Antorus, the Burning Throne|
|Base of operations||Argus, Twisting Nether|
|Theater of operations||All across the Great Dark Beyond, notably Azeroth, Outland, and alternate Draenor|
|Main factions||Shadow Council / alternate Shadow Council, Dreadlord Insurgents, Magtheridon's forces, Sunfury|
|Other membership||Felsworn, Sargerei, Rakeeshi, Talgathi, Hederine, Risen, Sethekk, Veiled Hand|
|Status||Unknown (possibly disbanded, with objectives disrupted)|
“In every world, in every future, the Burning Legion strode, invincible, unstoppable, dooming the universe to eternal darkness in its wake. Behind it all, he saw the looming demonic figures of its leaders: Archimonde—who was believed dead by so many—Kil'jaeden, and above all others, Sargeras the fallen titan, once sworn to guard the universe, now bent on destroying it.”
The Burning Legion (simply the Legion, occasionally referred to as the Legion Forces, the Burning Shadow, or the Great Burning Shadow, and the infinite army) is a vast, innumerable army of demons and corrupted races who seek to destroy all life. Sargeras created it with the purpose of destroying all world-souls in the universe in order to prevent the void lords from corrupting them, which would lead to the birth of a dark titan, a being of unspeakable evil that would utterly annihilate and consume the universe.
The Legion is responsible for the annihilation of countless species and some entire planets across the Great Dark Beyond, and it transcends all universes destroying their possible worlds in the grand Crusade. It has thrice invaded Azeroth and was only beaten back at a terrible cost. Much of Azeroth's history — including the First, Second, and Third War — was due to the Legion's influence. It can be said that the Legion is Azeroth's nemesis, since it caused the Great Sundering of Kalimdor, corrupted the orcs and sent them to invade Azeroth, created the Lich King, and was the source of most of Azeroth's scars. Finally, it should be noted that Azeroth is the only known planet that the Legion has ever failed to conquer.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Genesis
- 1.2 The first invasion
- 1.3 The hidden threat
- 1.4 Sargeras' return
- 1.5 The second invasion
- 1.6 Aftermath of the Third War
- 1.7 Attempted invasion
- 1.8 The royal coup
- 1.9 Cataclysm
- 1.10 Traveler
- 1.11 Mists of Pandaria
- 1.12 Warlords of Draenor
- 1.13 The third invasion
- 1.14 Shadowlands
- 2 Notable members
- 3 Non-sapient species
- 4 Organization
- 5 Notes and trivia
- 6 Speculation
- 7 Gallery
- 8 References
When the godlike titans of the Pantheon carried out their mission to bring order to the worlds of the Great Dark Beyond, they soon encountered a deadly threat: the chaotic demons of the Twisting Nether. To combat this foe, the Pantheon sent their greatest champion, the noble Sargeras. Though he won victory after victory over the unorganized and incompetent demons, the constant sight of entire civilizations being reduced to ash and their inhabitants warping into horrid aberrations began to fill Sargeras with a great sense of hopelessness, but he nonetheless continued his work.
When it was discovered that the demons Sargeras had defeated simply returned later to torment the physical universe once more in new bodies, the Pantheon sent the titan Aggramar to aid Sargeras. Together, the two were able to more effectively combat the demonic threat, simultaneously allowing Sargeras to more closely study the nature of the Twisting Nether. By learning how to manipulate Nether energies, the titan champion crafted a prison world known as Mardum to contain the demons he had defeated and prevented them from reforming after death. Soon, Sargeras and Aggramar brought peace to the cosmos and decided to split up to more effectively fight their foe. It was during this time that Sargeras came across a world smothered in Void energies and infested by horrors known as the Old Gods. By ruthlessly interrogating a conclave of demonic nathrezim who had come to dwell among the aberrations, Sargeras learned the full plans of the malevolent void lords. By hurling the Old Gods out through the universe, the void lords hoped to corrupt slumbering titan world-souls and transform them into unspeakably dark creatures that would be able to consume all matter and energy in the universe, bringing all of creation under the void lords' will. This horrified Sargeras so much that he instantly killed the nathrezim before cleaving the infested planet in two with his blade.
When he returned to the Pantheon to tell of his discoveries, Sargeras was harshly chastised by his fellow titans. They argued that they would have been able to save the world-soul had Sargeras not acted so rashly. In response, the champion tried to argue that existence itself was flawed and that it had to be purged completely to prevent any chance of the void lords' plans coming to fruition (in his mind, even a lifeless universe was better than one dominated by the Void, for he argued that if life had once taken root in the Great Dark on its own, perhaps it would do so again), but once he realized that the Pantheon would never see things the way he did, Sargeras stormed off into isolation.
While the titans carried on their work, Sargeras meditated in a distant corner of the Great Dark. Fear and doubt led him to the final conclusion that to save the universe, it had to first be purged in fire. Sargeras knew that to accomplish this, he would need an army, and so he returned to the only place where he knew he'd find one: Mardum. The fallen titan tore the prison world asunder, unleashing countless demons and an explosion of fel energy so great that his very form became warped and twisted. The former defender empowered the demons he had unleashed, granting them increased stature or intelligence, and then gave them a simple choice: follow his commands, or be permanently destroyed. It was not a difficult choice.
When the newly-formed Burning Legion set upon its first planet, Sargeras himself killed the constellar charged with watching over it. Aggramar was the first to learn of the watcher's demise and confronted Sargeras in a duel that ended with both of the titans' blades being broken. Heavily wounded, Aggramar returned to the Pantheon to inform them of Sargeras' betrayal and transformation. Girded for war, the Pantheon met the Legion near a world called Nihilam. Though both Aman'Thul and Aggramar tried to plead with Sargeras, the former by telling him of a promising world-soul called Azeroth and the latter by recounting tales of their glorious battles, the fallen titan was set in his ways. With a single stroke of his shattered blade, Sargeras nearly cleaved Aggramar in half and then launched an apocalyptic battle against the Pantheon, a fight which ended when the corrupted champion unleashed an enormous fel storm that consumed the Pantheon's bodies (though, unbeknownst to the Legion, the titan Norgannon managed to save the titans' souls from destruction with a final spell). Sargeras declared his Legion victorious and set out to find Azeroth before the void lords did.
The battle at Nihilam had shown Sargeras that though his demon servants were ruthless and bloodthirsty, they lacked discipline and strategic thinking. Thus, he decided to recruit the highly intelligent eredar of Argus to his cause. The eredar were ruled by a wise and powerful triumvirate, consisting of Archimonde, Kil'jaeden and Velen. Though Sargeras managed to convince the former two to serve him, transforming most of Argus' inhabitants into demonic beings, Velen and his followers, known forever after as draenei or "exiled ones", escaped under the guidance of the divine naaru. Nevertheless, the Legion's ranks continued to swell with new races, such as the doomguard and shivarra, and in the coming ages countless worlds were erased from existence by the Legion.
The first invasion
- Main article: War of the Ancients
Many thousands of years ago (10,000 years before the First War) the Burning Legion became attracted to the world of Azeroth due to the continued experiments on the Well of Eternity by the Highborne elves. The fallen titan hoped to use the sorcerers and their great magic to expedite the Legion's journey to Azeroth. Without a suitable gateway, he knew that traveling to the world would take ages. Thus, much as he did on Argus, Sargeras reached out to the Highborne and capitalized on their hubris. Lord Xavius was the first of the Highborne to hear Sargeras's call. The power-hungry Xavius quickly brought Sargeras to Queen Azshara's attention. The fallen titan promised to grand the night elf queen and her servitors unfathomable power, thereby allowing them to remake Kalimdor into a paradise. Sargeras requested only that Azshara and her followers summon his agents into the world of Azeroth so that they could give the Highborne this power.
Enthralled by Sargeras's might, Azshara and her Highborne used the Well of Eternity's energies to bring the Legion minions into Azeroth. Waves of demonic warriors flooded out from the queen's palace, murdering every night elf in their path save for their Highborne allies. Led by likes of Mannoroth the Destructor, Hakkar the Houndmaster, and Archimonde the Defiler, the Legion stormed across the Kaldorei Empire in a tide of death and destruction. Blazing infernals tore through the skies, shattering night elf cities, while thousands of bloodthirsty doomguard and ravenous felhounds reduced Kalimdor's tranquil woods to smothering green embers. War, the likes of which no mortal empire had ever witnessed, had come to Azeroth.
A night elf resistance force was formed by a noble named Kur'talos Ravencrest to stand against the Legion's furious onslaught. Among these brave defenders were Malfurion Stormrage, his sorcerous twin, Illidan, and the beautiful priestess whom both brothers loved dearly, Tyrande Whisperwind. Though the resistance initially suffered many defeats against the Legion, the night elves did make gains. Malfurion himself delivered one of the most decisive blows against the Legion and its Highborne allies. From the depths of the Emerald Dream, he unleashed his druidic magics upon Xavius, striking him down.
Despite this setback and the bravery with which the resistance fought, more and more demons spilled into Azeroth through the Highborne's portals. The Legion also bolstered its numbers with a new breed of demons, born from denizens of Azeroth itself. The first of these abominations was Xavius. Sargeras had warped the defeated Highborne's body into a twisted demonic visage of jagged horns and cloven hooves. This new form became known as a satyr, and it would mark Xavius as an eternal servant of the Legion. At Sargeras's bidding, he set out to curse of the many his fellow Highborne, transforming them into new satyrs as well.
As the Legion's numbers swelled and the War of the Ancients progressed, Malfurion realized that the night elves could not prevail alone. He convinced Tyrande and Illidan to accompany him to the tranquil Moonglade near Mount Hyjal, where they beseeched Cenarius for aid. The great demigod agreed to rally the mighty Wild Gods against the Legion, but they were unpredictable beings, unaccustomed to fight as one. Thus spurring them into action would take time, a luxury that night elves did not have.
While Cenarius gathered the Wild Gods, Malfurion called on the mighty Dragon Aspects to defend Azeroth. Led by Alexstrasza the Life-Binder, the dragons convened at their ancient meeting ground of Wyrmrest Temple to discuss how to hold back the Legion's invasion. It was during one of these gatherings that Neltharion the Earth-Warder proposed a solution. He convinced his fellow Aspects to sacrifice a portion of their power and infuse it into the Dragon Soul, a singular artifact of his design. The weapon, he claimed, would focus their powers and scour the Legion from the face of Azeroth.
Amid a furious battle between the Legion and the night elf resistance, the five dragonflights made their final assault against the demons. Working in unison with his comrades Neltharion unleashed the full might of the empowered Dragon Soul and utterly decimated the Legion. Unbeknownst to the other Aspects however Neltharion had fallen prey to the whispers of the Old Gods and thus the dragons and night elves were unprepared when Neltharion turned the weapon against them soon after. The betrayal shattered the united of the dragonflights, nearly killing all of the blue dragonflight and robbing Azeroth of one its greatest defenders when it needed it most. Neltharion himself would be transformed by the powers of the now christened Demon Soul and take the name Deathwing.
Deathwing's betrayal struck a terrible blow to the night elves' morale and, worse, Illidan had mysteriously gone missing. Unbeknownst to the resistance, Illidan had decided to strike out on his own, incensed by remaining in his brother's shadow and that Malfurion had claimed the heart of Tyrande Whisperwind, who both brothers desired. When Illidan confessed his love, Tyrande rejected him, convincing him that she intended to take Malfurion as her mate. In the wake of this bitter rejection, dark thoughts plagued Illidan. Unbeknownst to the sorcerer, the satyr Xavius was subtly twisting his mind and fanning the flames of his despair. With mounting discontent, Illidan left the resistance and joined the Legion and against all odds, secured an audience with Sargeras himself. Blessed by Sargeras with exceptional powers, Illidan would venture and steal the Dragon Soul from Deathwing, delivering it to the Highborne, who planned to use it to open a massive gateway for the Legion within the heart of the Well of Eternity.
Around this time, the Highborne of Suramar, who had watched as their city was used by the cunning nathrezim as an experiment in the creation of an undead army, responded to an attempt by the Legion to create a second portal in the depths of the Temple of Elune. Using the Pillars of Creation, the court of the Grand Magistrix Elisande sealed the tomb, and proceeded to create a massive barrier surrounding the still intact sections of the city, sealing themselves off from the conflict.
The Legion delivered many crushing defeats to the night elf resistance, but the resistance refused to give up as it rallied around Jarod Shadowsong and secured new allies such as earthen, tauren, furbolgs, Highborne dissidents led by Dath'Remar Sunstrider, and at long last the Wild Gods and their forces which emerged to combat the Legion. With their allies in arms, the resistance launched a desperate assault against Zin-Azshari itself. The resistance stormed the broken capital and clashed with the Legion's seemingly numberless ranks. The cost was horrific. Thousands upon thousands of demons fell, but so, too, did many of Azeroth's mighty defenders. The Legion's bloodletting warriors even overwhelmed a number of the Wild Gods. One by one, these primordial creatures succumbed to the poisoned black blades and fel powers wielded by the demons. With each death, the forest atop Hyjal shivered, and the winds howled in sorrow.
As the titanic battle raged around Azshara's capital city, Malfurion and Tyrande journeyed to the Well of Eternity's shores with a small, elite force. They hoped to reclaim the Dragon Soul and prevent the Legion from using its power. Malfurion and his allies were joined by Illidan, who claimed his allegiance to the Legion had been a ruse to learn of their ways. Although suspicious, Malfurion accepted Illidan's aid, for he had discovered that the Well of Eternity had become a colossal portal - a direct gateway for Sargeras himself to enter Azeroth, as Azshara waited in anticipation for his arrival. As the impossibly huge shadow of the dark titan drew ever closer to the Well's raging surface, the delusional queen had gathered the most powerful of her Highborne followers, linking their magics together in one focused spell to be able to create a gateway large enough for Sargeras to enter.
Realizing that no standing army, no matter how vast, could withstand the terrible might of Sargeras, Malfurion knew the only hope for victory would be to destroy the Well of Eternity itself. Stealing the Dragon Soul, Malfurion drew upon its power to disrupt the Highborne's carefully crafted spellwork and shattered the connection between the Legion and Azeroth. With their connection broken, Sargeras and most of the Legion's ranks were ripped back into the Twisting Nether by the energies of the collapsing Well of Eternity.
The resultant catastrophic explosion shattered the earth and blotted out the skies. This Great Sundering would change the geography of Azeroth forever, and Legion remnants stuck on the planet would eventually rally around Xalan the Feared and strike against the fledgling new night elf government, but would ultimately be defeated in the War of the Satyr.
In the following millennia, in the growing human societies of Azeroth, there were legends among the populace of the First Days, where demons roamed free and great heroes arose to drive them out. Knowing the real truth, the Kirin Tor of Dalaran forbade demonology - any attempt to summon demons were to be found and stopped at once, often by force. As such demons had a limited public impact on the people of the Seven Kingdoms, mostly existing through rumors and folk legends. Most situations involving demon worship ended up taken care of by local authorities, with individuals such as venal farmhands and greedy merchants committing sacrifices and other foul acts in the name of some old demon whose name they couldn't even properly pronounce after hearing their whispers in their sleep. Real ceremonies involving demon summoning and fel spells did happen, but they were secretly neutralized by the efforts of the Kirin Tor and the Council of Tirisfal.
Within the icy lands of Northrend, Legion agents emerged and began hunting errant blue dragons, feeding on their potent arcane energies. The Guardian Aegwynn discovered and sought the aid of the dragons to combat the threat. Led by Alexstrasza the Life-Binder, several of the dragonflights agreed to fight at the Guardian's side. Together, they staged on ambush near the gigantic skeletal remains of Galakrond. The demons fell into Aegwynn's trap. As a blizzard tore over the terrain, the Guardian and her winged allies overwhelmed the Legion's minions. Yet neither Aegwynn nor the dragons expected what came next.
The skies of Northrend churned and darkened. A monstrous demonic form emerged upon the battlefield: Sargeras, ruler of the Burning Legion. This was only an avatar of the demon lord, a tiny portion of Sargeras's vast cosmic power. Yet he nonetheless radiated great strength and fury. He unleashed his terrible might on Aegwynn, intending to destroy the Guardian who had thwarted his agents for so long. Aegwynn did not hesitate to fight back. She summoned her powers and brought them to bear against Sargeras. The battle that followed was the most difficult Aegwynn had ever fought. In the shadow of Galakrond's gargantuan remains, Sargeras and the Guardian called down the fury of the heavens. Their attacks tore the darkened skies asunder and scarred the icy crusts of Northrend. A storm of magic engulfed the region and held even the mighty dragons at bay. With a final relentless flurry of spellwork, Aegwynn defeated her foe. Though drained from the effort, she was victorious.
Or so it seemed, for when Aegwynn struck Sargeras down, he had transferred his spirit into her weakened body. There, a silver of Sargeras's undying malevolence would remain, lurking within the depths of her soul. Unaware of the dark presence hidden deep within her, Aegwynn gathered the Avatar and sealed it away in the hopes that his remains would lie undisturbed until the end of time.
The second invasion
- Main article: second invasion
For years, since their defeat at the hands of Malfurion Stormrage, the Legion had watched and waited for the moment to be right for a second attempt to conquer Azeroth. Kil'jaeden was given orders to plan the second invasion of Azeroth and was unwilling to take any chances on the Legion's success. He decided that a new force would be necessary in order to weaken the defenses of Azeroth before the Legion's main invasion force arrived.
The doom of Draenor
For millennia, Kil'jaeden's scouts searched the Nether for the draenei, finding and destroying the worlds they had settled on, but they always managed to escape. Then, one day, Kil'jaeden's favored servant, Talgath, stumbled upon a world that showed signs of the draenei's magic. Though they initially assumed it was just another one of the planets the draenei briefly stopped upon, further investigations quickly discovered that the draenei had actually settled there, even going so far as to give it an eredun name: Draenor, meaning "Exiles' Refuge". There also resided a race of shamanistic beings called orcs. Intrigued by their potential, Kil'jaeden realized that they were exactly what he was looking for and thus sought an agent of the orcish race to follow his will. Though Kil'jaeden found many suitable candidates, none held as much potential as Gul'dan.
Gul'dan was born crippled, weak and deformed, which made him a target for constant mockery and abuse ever since his childhood. He knew that he was meant for more than his clan would ever allow of him, and he hated them for it. He used the hate and bitterness he felt as a way to keep going. One day, the other clan members grew so tired of the runt's refusal to accept his place in the clan that they beat him repeatedly in an attempt to rid themselves of him once and for all. As the chieftain was about to beat him again, the elderly shaman of the clan stopped him, saying that he had tried and failed to help Gul'dan find his place in the clan. Laying a hand on Gul'dan's shoulder, the elder said, not unkindly, that there was nothing more he could do for him, but that he had always believed there was greatness within him. He then advised the runt to seek out the Throne of the Elements, for perhaps there he would find his destiny. At first Gul'dan eventually followed the advice, only to be rejected by the furies who sensed the darkness and fury within his heart. It was at his lowest that Kil'jaeden spoke to Gul'dan, promising power and godhood in exchange for Gul'dan helping the Burning Legion turn the orcs as a weapon to destroy the draenei.
Gul'dan quickly agreed, for he only held disdain for his people. Kil'jaeden instructed his new servant in the ways of fel magic. The demon lord knew that these energies would physically change the orc or even draw the draenei's attention, so he took steps to hide Gul'dan new abilities. Kil'jaeden taught the orc how to mask his powers, and he ordered him to use fel magic only when absolutely necessary. Gul'dan took to the volatile power faster than expected, reveling in the destructive might at his fingertips.
Knowing that Gul'dan couldn't serve as the figure they needed to forged the orc clans into an army, Kil'jaeden ordered Gul'dan to ally with someone who could inspire or lead the orc race. After destroying his former clan (in order to ensure that no one knew his past) Gul'dan would join the Shadowmoon clan, which was under the rule of Ner'zhul. In time, Gul'dan would earn Ner'zhul's trust and became the elder's shamanic apprentice. Under the guise of the orcs' sacred ancestors, Kil'jaeden tricked the shamans of each clan—including their most respected leader, the elder shaman Ner'zhul—into thinking that the draenei were plotting against the orcs. Soon, the clans began to launch successful skirmishes and raids against the draenei, believing it to be their ancestors' will that they be exterminated. However, plans faltered when Ner'zhul traveled to Oshu'gun, was shown the truth about his new patron, and attempted to undo his actions. Kil'jaeden, however, was already aware of Ner'zhul's actions and stripped the elderly shaman of his power, and Gul'dan taught his warlock magics to other orcs, creating the Shadow Council to secretly rule over them. Eventually, as the Elemental Spirits refused to grant their powers to the shaman, these demonic powers would overtake the orcs.
After proving the orcs' ability to fight the draenei, Mannoroth's blood was given to the orcs to drink, and they degraded into a horrible bloodlust. As both a test of his new minions and as a revenge to his wayward brethren, Kil'jaeden ordered Gul'dan to finish the slaughter of the draenei in one climactic battle at Shattrath City. The attack was a brutal massacre, with much of Shattrath being destroyed. To all appearances, Kil'jaeden's pawns had finally triumphed over the draenei. Kil'jaeden was relatively pleased with the Horde's destruction of the draenei, as was Sargeras who viewed the Horde as the perfect army to weaken Azeroth and thus ordered Kil'jaeden to cut all communication with them. Sargeras wanted the orcs to be so desperate that they would anything to survive, even if that meant journeying to another world.
The orcs attempted to invade Azeroth twice through the Dark Portal. However, the natives of the planet formed together into an alliance led by the humans, fought back with unexpected determination, and casualties were high on both sides. At the end of the Second War, the Alliance of Lordaeron had defeated the orcs and their homeworld of Draenor was destroyed by Ner'zhul's attempt to escape into another dimension. The remaining orcs were rounded up and placed in various internment camps by the Alliance.
After the defeat of the orcs, Kil'jaeden determined to create a new force, one that would succeed where the orcs had failed. To this end, he captured Ner'zhul and remade him as the Lich King. Trapping his essence in the Frozen Throne, a large block of ice, Kil'jaeden hurled the Lich King to Azeroth, where he crashed on the frozen continent of Northrend. The Lich King's new mission was to prepare Azeroth for subjugation through the release of a Plague of Undeath. Thus, the Scourge was born.
Where the orcs had failed the Scourge succeeded impressively. Within months the Eastern Kingdoms were in disarray. Each soldier or townsfolk who fell to the Scourge was reborn as an undead minion of the Lich King. Finally, the time for the Legion's return was nigh.
Servants of the Scourge were able to summon Archimonde himself to lead the assault... with him came the demons of the Legion. The second invasion had truly begun. The forces of the Legion swept across the Eastern Kingdoms and soon reached the shores of Kalimdor, home of their old enemy, the night elves.
The Legion chose as its main goal the consumption of the World Tree on Mount Hyjal, which granted immortality to the night elves, and to seize the Well of Eternity to form a powerful gateway for the Legion. At the final hour, an alliance of humans, orcs, and night elves fought desperately to hold back Archimonde and the legion while Malfurion Stormrage performed a desperate druidic ritual upon the World Tree itself. Finally, Malfurion gave the signal that he was ready and the Legion was allowed to reach their goal...the World Tree stood exposed to Archimonde. As the demon embraced the tree and began to feed upon its magics, Malfurion's spell took hold. The World Tree released all of its energy into Archimonde at once, destroying both the World Tree and the demon. The ensuing explosion destroyed the tree and laid waste to Hyjal Summit. The Legion had been defeated once again but at the cost of the night elves' immortality.
With Archimonde finally defeated, Kil'jaeden assumed complete control of the Legion.
Aftermath of the Third War
An army of humans, dwarves and blood elves arose, the Alliance resistance under the leadership of Lord Garithos and Kael'thas Sunstrider. The Alliance resistance fought back against the Scourge and the Burning Legion. They managed to retake Dalaran and fought against the undead in Silverpine Forest and Alterac Mountains.
The Majority Satyr groups are still loyal to the Burning Legion and have stayed on Kalimdor waiting for the return of their dark masters. The remains of the Legion itself can be found in the region of Felwood where demons of all varieties can be found, including a few corrupted species such as furbolgs. The Legion also has many still loyal orcish warlocks of the Burning Blade clan hiding in Durotar and even Orgrimmar itself.
Although the Alliance resistance suffered a great loss with the blood elves, they continued fighting against the Scourge. However, they were not a serious threat to the Burning Legion. Rather, the dreadlords Balnazzar, Detheroc, and Varimathras who were in charge of the Scourge were impatient for orders from Archimonde and ensured that the Scourge was ready for action, ignorant of the death of their leader. Soon after, Arthas returned to Lordaeron's Capital City. He told the undead leaders that the city was now his and that he wouldn't require the dreadlords' services to watch over it. When Balnazzar retorted that the Scourge belonged to the Legion, Arthas replied that their masters had been defeated and that the Burning Legion was "undone." He then tried to slaughter the dreadlords but they managed to escape and warn Arthas of their inevitable retribution. Later, the dreadlords found out that the Lich King was weakening, and together with Sylvanas Windrunner planned to overthrow Arthas.
Luckily for the Scourge, Arthas escaped the Capital City and Sylvanas's assassination attempt was thwarted by Kel'thuzad. Soon after Varimathras invited Sylvanas to join the dreadlord's new order, Sylvanas however had no intention of losing her freedom again denied the offer and knew it was only a moment of time before she would be attacked. Using her sister banshees Sylvanas possessed Blackthorn, Mug'thol, Snarlmane, and possibly the Murloc Puddle Lord to bloster her forces and not only did she destroy the attacking undead, she even "turned" Varimathras to her side. Soon after the future forsaken killed Detheroc and acquired an ally in the freed Garithos.
The banshee and her forces laid siege to Balnazzar's base, which he had fortified within the city ruins. Balnazzar then found himself attacked from both sides by Sylvanas and Garithos. Though he was armed with demons and had made many threats, Balnazzar's forces were defeated.
Sylvanas, Varimathras, and Garithos approached Balnazzar. Sylvanas ordered Varimathras to kill his brother as a testament of his loyalty to her. Varimathras was reluctant. Killing another nathrezim was forbidden but Sylvanas was adamant. Balnazzar was sure that Varimathras would never take that final step. He was wrong. Varimathras then killed Garithos on Sylvanas' orders.
With all their enemies dead, Sylvanas made a proclamation to Varimathras. They would rule the Plaguelands as the Forsaken, and would stake out their own destiny, where none would get in their way.
Although Balnazzar succumbed to Sylvanas's forces, he had not been destroyed. He used the last of his power to flee into the Plaguelands. Later, Balnazzar killed and possessed Saidan Dathrohan's body and began using the Scarlet Crusade.
- Main article: Magtheridon's Forces
Magtheridon still ruled Outland after the Legion's defeat, but, with the help of the escaped blood elves, Illidan Stormrage stormed his citadel and claimed Outland for his own. Although the pit lord was chained and his forces are now part of Illidan's forces, there are still numerous Legion strongholds over the planet and the Cabal, cultists of the Shadow Council, are trying to provide an advantage to their demon masters. The draenei are resisting the Legion, even a group led by Akama had to join Illidan to defeat Magtheridon.
The Burning Legion in the Blasted Lands were under the command of Lord Kazzak. Thanks to the efforts of Razelikh the Defiler the Burning Legion bolstered its ranks with Grol the Destroyer and his Dreadmaul ogres, Lady Sevine, and Archmage Allistarj. This sect of the Legion also includes Ilifar, the only known death knight who sided with the Legion.
This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.
Through the Dark Portal
After Illidan's failure to destroy the Frozen Throne, Kil'jaeden sent forces to Outland to destroy him. However, Illidan's forces proved to be equally as powerful and the Legion has so far been unable to gain revenge. Kil'jaeden thus decided to trick the people of Azeroth into getting rid of Illidan in his stead. Led by Highlord Kruul, the Legion opened the Dark Portal again and sent troops into Azeroth. The Argent Dawn managed to hold the area surrounding the portal until reinforcements from the Alliance and Horde arrived. After that, the Azerothian resistance pressed on and managed to drive the demons back into Outland where they fought at The Stair of Destiny. Kil'jaeden's plan worked, and the Alliance and Horde would eventually kill Illidan for him.
The Alliance and Horde got to the middle of Hellfire Peninsula, where the Horde established Thrallmar and the initial Expeditionary Force of the Alliance reinforced Honor Hold. However, a Pit Commander and more Legion forces blocked the reinforcements of both factions, and they stood together to fight in The Stair of Destiny for a long time. Lieutenant General Orion sent an Horde adventurer for reinforcements of Thrallmar; after the notice General Krakork sent out what forces he could. The Legion stationed dreadlords in Felspark Ravine, but the Alliance and Horde defeated them, their imps and infernals. The Alliance and Horde finally managed to destroy the portals, defeating the Legion's forces by ground and by air. Although the Burning Legion continued to produce fel reavers in Forge Camp: Mageddon, the Alliance and Horde detected this and sent adventurers that defeated this force and destroyed the fel reavers. After the defeat of the fel reavers they aimed at Thrallmar with fel cannons, but both Alliance and Horde destroyed the cannons. The final Legion's base, commanded by Warbringer Arix'Amal, still housed warp-portals from which they were drawing reinforcements, but the Alliance located the base and both Alliance and Horde sent adventurers which destroyed the portals and defeated the Legion in Hellfire Peninsula.
Activities in Outland
Doom Lord Kazzak was the commander of the Burning Legion in Outland; he resided in the Throne of Kil'jaeden. Although the Burning Legion in Hellfire Peninsula was defeated, there was a presence through all other zones of Outland with the exception of Zangarmarsh.
In Blade's Edge Mountains the Legion had accomplished several things:
- They sent imps, fire elementals and basilisks to defile Skald, causing the destruction of the living places for many ancients and the death of most of them.
- In the Bladed Gulch, they used Fel Corrupters to corrupt the creatures of the land. Those creatures became Felsworn and the Cenarion Expedition fought against them.
- At Forge Camp: Anger, the Fel Corrupters used Felsworn Gas Masks to communicate with their masters. The leader of these Fel Corrupters was called Doomcryer. The Cenarion Expedition sent adventurers that deceived the masters and caused the killing of many mo'args and even the leader Doomcryer.
- The Legion also controlled Death's Door, one of the portals that connected to the Twisting Nether that was closed by Illidan, and two warp-gates. Evergrove Druids and some adventurers managed to destroy the warp-gates and defeat Baelmon the Hound-Master, who had kept the portal functioning.
In Netherstorm the main activities were of the blood elves allied with the Legion, the Sunfury, with mainly the forces outside of Tempest Keep and other groups inside of it. The demons in the zone were led by the eredar Socrethar and did several things:
- A group of demons took control of the Arklon Ruins to make an excavation, and they were led by the shivarra Ekkorash the Inquisitor. Ekkorash possessed , but removed the staff's crystalline headpiece not realizing that it worked in concert with the rest of the staff. The dreadlord Pentatharon came into the possession of the , however it wasn't anything special and the Burning Legion continued searching for something in particular.
- Culuthas, a dreadlord, took Spirit's Song and betrayed the Legion. He killed the demons of Farahlon and summoned Hounds and Eyes of Culuthas to aid him. A projection of Socrethar threatened Culuthas to give him the crystal or die, but the Consortium killed the dreadlord and obtained the crystal.
- A group of mo'args and gan'args began activities in the Scrap Field, so the goblins of Area 52 feared that it was a problem for them. For that reason, they sent adventurers to deal with them.
- Demons at the north of Netherstorm were aiding the Sunfury blood elves at Manaforge Ara and had some bases. The Aldor and Scryers fought the Legion's presence in Manaforge Ara; the alliance between the blood elves and the Burning Legion was discovered by the Aldor and Scryers.
- The demons of Manaforge Ara were killed by the Aldor.
- Kaylaan, a draenei Aldor, joined the Legion when he heard of the alliance between the Sunfury and the Burning Legion.
- At Forge Base: Oblivion the Legion was led by Forgemaster Morug and had in their possession the . However, Morug was killed by adventurers in order to fight Socrethar.
- At Forge Base: Gehenna the Legion was led by Silroth and had in their possession the . However, Silroth was killed by adventurers in order to fight Socrethar.
- High Priestess Ishanah led the Aldor to fight against Socrethar, but Kaylaan the Lost was in their way. While fighting Kaylaan, Socrethar killed Ishanah; but Kaylaan, seeing his mentor dying, proceeded to resurrect her. Socrethar then killed Kaylann.
- Finally, the Aldor and Scryers attacked Socrethar; thanks to the eredar was weakened and was killed in the battle.
Fury of The Sunwell
Kil'jaeden was not finished yet, however, for he had found a new pawn to manipulate in Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider. After his defeat at Tempest Keep, and still blinded by his lust for power, Kael became an all too willing participant in the Burning Legion's next attempt to invade and conquer Azeroth. Kil'jaeden restored Kael'thas' health and power through demonic means and empowered many of his followers will fel energy. Kael'thas sent his new Felblood elves to Silvermoon City, where they captured M'uru from Kael's own people and took him to the Sunwell. Kael'thas also discovered that the energies of the Sunwell still existed, in the form of the human girl Anveena, and she was imprisoned and taken to the Sunwell, with Kael hoping to use her energies to reignite the Sunwell, to both bring his new master Kil'jaeden into Azeroth, and to supply himself with a new font of limitless power. However, with the intervention of the blue dragonflight and mortal adventurers of Azeroth, Kael'thas was killed once and for all in the Magister's Terrace, and Kil'jaeden's plans to enter Azeroth were foiled. Anveena sacrificed herself to weaken Kil'jaeden so that the mortal heroes battling him could finally defeat him and send him back through the Sunwell. After the battle at the Sunwell, Velen used what was left of M'uru's "body" to reignite the Sunwell, saving the blood elves from their addiction to demonic power and allowing them to continue to use the powers of the Light.
The royal coup
In the wake of the Battle of Angrathar the Wrathgate, it was revealed that Varimathras plotted his way into controlling a substantial part of the Forsaken faction, using them and his chief underling, Grand Apothecary Putress, to launch a surprise assault upon the combatants at the Wrathgate. This ambush resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Alliance and Horde soldiers, including famed Alliance hero Bolvar Fordragon. At the same time, Burning Legion forces under the command of Varimathras successfully took control of the Undercity and nearly killed The Dark Lady herself.
He was eventually faced and defeated by Thrall, Sylvanas, and adventurers during Battle for the Undercity, after which he was not seen again. During the battle, Varimathras made reference to "years of planning" (attempting to undermine Sylvanas) and the voice of an unseen "Master" was heard berating Varimathras for his failure to prevent the Horde party from reaching the throne room, after which point Varimathras entered the fray himself — where he was defeated.
While the Burning Legion was tactically successful in rekindling Alliance-Horde tensions, it ultimately failed in its strategic goal of re-summoning yet another Legion invasion. It remains unknown who the unseen "Master" was, but is presumably Sargeras.
By the time of the Cataclysm, the Burning Legion's command structure was mostly wiped out, with only a few survivors and their masters' whereabouts unknown. The Burning Legion may have still been a devastating threat to the universe, however, though it had a weaker hold on Azeroth. With the devastation caused by the Cataclysm, the Twilight's Hammer Cult were able to successfully take Darkwhisper Gorge from the Burning Legion. Despite this defeat the Legion was able to keep their holdouts in Felwood, Desolace and the Blasted Lands. Despite Balnazzar's defeat and the collapse of the Scarlet Crusade in Stratholme, the legion was able to keep a hold on the city through Balnazzar's new Risen army, which consisted of Scarlet Crusaders who were in a state of undeath. The Scarlets at Tyr's Hand had also fallen to this fate, securing the town for the Legion.
However, the denizens of Azeroth did not allow the Legion to keep these areas in peace. In Desolace, the Cenarion Circle aided Khan Leh'Prah of the Kolkar clan in his quest to unite the centaur (Kolkar, Magram and Gelkis) and successfully launched an assault on Shok'Thokar. In Felwood, the Emerald Circle and Cenarion Circle launched their own assaults on the Legion holdouts in the area. In the Blasted Lands, both the Horde and the Alliance secured the Dark Portal and sent adventurers into the Tainted Forest to end the Legion's hold on the region. Meanwhile, the Argent Crusade sent adventurers into both Tyr's Hand and Stratholme and claimed them for the Crusade.
While the legion tried to hold on to its bastions of power on Azeroth, they were able to launch an assault to reclaim Darkwhisper Gorge from the Twilight's Hammer that allowed them to reacquire the Gates of Sothann.
For over 20 years, the nathrezim Highlord Xaraax plotted to destroy Azeroth with the Darkstorm, a dark force that could unmake the world, destroying every living soul. An unknown naaru shielded the world, the Darkstorm unable to come. The naaru was protected by the Order of the Seven Suns led by Greydon Thorne, with his brother, Silverlaine. Xaraax eventually managed to convince Silverlaine to join him. When Silverlaine returned to the order, he destroyed the naaru, the impact also destroying the Diamond Blade, its shards blasting across Azeroth. Due to the fact that the shards were infused with the naaru's essence, the Darkstorm couldn't come to Azeroth. Turning once more to Silverlaine, now known as Malus, Xaraax commanded him to find all the shards and bring the weapon so he could finally kill the naaru.
Malus led his Hidden to search for Greydon, who was on the same mission. Eventually, the mission passed on his son Aramar and then on Makasa Flintwill who managed to find all the parts and reforge the battle. Intending to rescue the Thornes from Xaraax's citadel, Makasa gathered an army of murlocs, gnolls, yetis, and other individuals to assault the citadel which contained a host of demons and arakkoa. Fighting their way through the enemy lines, Xaraax took hold of the Diamond Blade when Makasa and her allies made it to the top of the demonic stronghold. When the nathrezim began corrupting it, Malus, who had been deemed unuseful, took the Highlord's former fel sword and impaled him on it and tossed him to the Darkstorm. The fel corrupted Malus, and the threat of the Darkstorm remained, forcing Makasa's friends and former Hidden to continue fighting against the citadel's demons and Malus. Ultimately, the Light and nature magic, and the great number of Thorne's friends bested Malus, and Makasa ended his life. With his death, the Darkstorm evaporated, and the majority of demons was defeated by the Azerothian force while other fled from the citadel.
Mists of Pandaria
Wrathion suggested that the Horde and Alliance would have to unite to fight a greater foe that will come from beyond Azeroth. The image that he displayed while saying this shows Azeroth under bombardment by balls of green and yellow fire. This threat was confirmed to be the Burning Legion during the Chi-Ji portion of .
Warlords of Draenor
- The sky will rain fire...the oceans will be filled with blood.... DRAENOR WILL BURN!
As Kairozdormu opened a gateway to an alternate dimension at the time of corruption of the orcs on its version of Draenor, intending on rallying them before they were swayed, Kil'jaeden took notice of it and went directly to Gul'dan in order to corrupt the orcs into the Legion's service, not bothering with using Ner'zhul as a public figure like in the main timeline. However, due to Garrosh's interference with the timeline, Grommash and the orcs didn't accept Gul'dan's offer. Insulted by Grommash, Mannoroth attacked him, but the orcs were prepared for him, and they fired their cannons at Mannoroth. Before he could regain his poise, Grommash lunged at him and buried Gorehowl deep into his skull, effectively killing Mannoroth. Gul'dan, and the Shadow Council, were captured by Grommash's Iron Horde and used to power the Dark Portal to take them to Prime Azeroth. Under Khadgar's leadership, the Alliance and the Horde successfully repelled the invasion, destroyed the Dark Portal, and freed Gul'dan and his lackeys.
With Kil'jaeden's failure to corrupt the orcs, Archimonde took full control of the Legion's operations on the alternate Draenor. As a result, the demons were less behind-the-scenes and more direct in corrupting the residents.
Exarch Othaar was one of those that had been lured by the demons to help in Draenor's destruction. Believing that Velen was leading their people to their doom, and promised by the Legion with great power, he swore fealty to them and transformed into the man'ari eredar, Socrethar, adopting a leadership role within the Sargerei. He later led the Legion's attack on Shattrath and succeeded in taking over the draenei capital. Later on, with the help of the Alliance and Horde, Socrethar was killed and Shattrath was liberated.
Gul'dan, on the other hand, had been looking for ways to empower himself and the Legion. He sent Teron'gor to Auchindoun gather all the draenei's souls to be used to empower the demons, and sent Cho'gall to Oshu'gun to subjugate the naaru, K'ure. Both of them betrayed Gul'dan and used the respective energies they were sent to gather to empower themselves. Thanks to adventurers employed by Khadgar, both were stopped and killed before they could wreak havoc.
Gul'dan later traveled to the Spires of Arak to find a frustrated and brooding Iskar. Gul'dan offered him a cure for the Curse of Sethe, and power beyond reckoning. Frustrated over his failure to fully restore Terokk, the Curse of Sethe, and his ever-growing thirst for vengeance, Iskar gladly accepted Gul'dan's offer and became the first of the fel arakkoa. He later persuaded more cursed arakkoa to accept Gul'dan's offer and they swore fealty to the Legion. The Sethekk cult also joined Iskar's arakkoa.
Later on, the Iron Horde went into disarray due to their losses to the Alliance and Horde, causing many of the clans to leave Grommash. Gul'dan appeared to Grommash and taunted him for his constant defeats against the Alliance and Horde, and again offered him the Blood of Mannoroth. Grommash refused and attacked Gul'dan, but was easily repelled with Gul'dan's magic. Kilrogg, on the other hand, gladly accepted his offer and became a fel orc. The rest of the Iron Horde followed suit, and Gul'dan effectively took control of them, turning Tanaan Jungle into the Legion's base of operations.
Not deterred by this, the Horde and Alliance respectively established the bases of Vol'mar and Lion's Watch and quickly took to battle against the Legion and their allies. Adventurers would ultimately storm Hellfire Citadel itself in a final effort to stop them, wiping out the enemy leadership including Mannoroth and Archimonde. With Archimonde's death Draenor was declared free, though Gul'dan escaped by being sent through the Dark Portal by the Defiler in his last moments.
The third invasion
- Main article: Third invasion of the Burning Legion
The third invasion began when the Tomb of Sargeras was reopened by Gul'dan, and the demons of the Burning Legion poured into Azeroth from the Felstorm, a horrific nexus of magic. Their full, terrifying might was fixed on summoning Sargeras to Azeroth—and they had already located the key to his return. This was the largest demonic invasion of Azeroth in the world's history.
The Broken Shore was the source of this invasion, where the armies of Azeroth defeated the initial thrust of the invasion. The Battle for the Broken Shore, however, culminated in the Legion overrunning Azeroth's defenders and forcing them to withdraw. Many of the greatest heroes in Azeroth, such as Tirion Fordring, Vol'jin, and Varian Wrynn, fell in battle before the Legion or were mortally wounded. Some escaped, others went missing or were captured, but many more died upon the Broken Shore.
In addition to directly attacking the planet, the Legion used more subtle means to try and subvert the defenders through their nathrezim agents. The newly-crowned Anduin Wrynn captured an assassin, in disguise as a Stormwindian soldier, that then tried to convince the king that he was weak and that his kingdom needed to align with them. Another appeared to the desperate Khadgar inside Karazhan in the guise of his old master, Medivh. In search of knowledge Medivh may have kept that could help, Khadgar was tempted by the demon to accept the power that "Medivh" had supposedly stored away in a tome to empower another Guardian of Tirisfal, something the former apprentice admittedly desired that could make the Legion fear him. Khadgar recognized it was a trap to corrupt him and destroyed the tome. Both agents were destroyed and sent back to the Twisting Nether.
Discovering that the Pillars of Creation can be used to seal the Legion's gateway into Azeroth and to preventing another invasion, adventurers were quick to seek them out. However, this task was far from easy as agents of the Legion such as God-King Skovald and Elisande, as well as other forces led by Dargrul, Xavius, and Queen Azshara, sought the Pillars for their own. Furthermore, in order to acquire the Eye of Aman'thul, the class orders and the Nightfallen worked together to strike at the Grand Magistrix and her nightborne, who had sided with the Legion, believing its victory to be inevitable.
Ultimately, the Pillars of Creation were acquired by Azeroth's heroes, who then moved to assault the Broken Shore and, after securing the foothold of Deliverance Point, the Armies of Legionfall quickly set about engaging the Legion throughout the zone, securing further gains against Kil'jaeden's forces. The mortals' primary goal remained the Tomb of Sargeras, the focal point of the Burning Legion's invasion, where they sought to sever the Legion's link to the Twisting Nether.
After securing the Cathedral of Eternal Night, the lower parts of the Tomb of Sargeras were breached by Azeroth's defenders and they defeated the dark horrors within including the fallen Avatar of Sargeras. Upon the Avatar's defeat, Velen and Illidan Stormrage led the charge against Kil'jaeden, who was ultimately killed inside the Twisting Nether.
Upon Kil'jaeden's death, his command ship began to crash toward Argus. Illidan used the Sargerite Keystone to open a rift between Argus and Azeroth, allowing Khadgar to teleport them safely to Azsuna. Facing the imminent threat of the Legion's full might appearing in the skies above the world, the Armies of Legionfall, the Horde, and the Alliance gathered within the Exodar where they boarded the new ship Vindicaar in order to take the fight to Argus itself, joining with the Army of the Light. The assault on Argus ended with Sargeras himself imprisoned, and with the Legion's leadership having already been killed, the Legion has effectively become a nonentity and their Burning Crusade brought to an end.
The nathrezim are revealed to have seemingly discarded the Legion or whatever remains of it, with Mal'Ganis going as far as to declare that the Legion was a pawn used by them for their true master: Sire Denathrius.
|Sargeras||Titan||Creator and leader of the Burning Legion. Formerly the champion of the Pantheon. Imprisoned at the Seat of the Pantheon.||Imprisoned|
|Kil'jaeden||Man'ari||Acting leader and Supreme Commander of the Burning Legion in Sargeras' absence. Killed aboard his ship in the Twisting Nether, making his death permanent.||Deceased-Defeatable|
|Archimonde||Man'ari||Legion Field Commander on Azeroth who led the armies of the Burning Legion. He was defeated during the Battle of Mount Hyjal, and then again on alternative Draenor where he was permanently destroyed inside the Nether.||Deceased-Defeatable|
|Mannoroth||Annihilan||The General of the Burning Legion and King of the Pit Lords. He was the corrupter of the orcs and was later killed by Grommash Hellscream, and then again on alternate Draenor by alternate Grommash, his skeletal remains were reanimated and he was killed yet again in Hellfire Citadel.||Alive-Defeatable|
|Tichondrius||Nathrezim||Leader of the Nathrezim and its Chief Infiltration Specialist. He was slain by Illidan Stormrage, and then again during the Legion's third invasion in Suramar.||Alive-Defeatable|
|Anetheron||Nathrezim||Second Lord of the Nathrezim. Took command of the Scourge after the death of Tichondrius. He was slain at the Battle of Mount Hyjal. Anetheron returned with Archimonde to alternate Draenor and was defeated in Hellfire Citadel.||Alive-Defeatable|
|Azgalor||Annihilan||High ranking pit lord. He was slain at the Battle of Mount Hyjal. Azgalor returned with Archimonde to alternate Draenor and was defeated in Hellfire Citadel.||Alive-Defeatable|
|Kaz'rogal||Doomguard||Lieutenant of Archimonde. He was slain at the Battle of Mount Hyjal. Kaz'rogal returned with Archimonde to alternate Draenor and was defeated in Hellfire Citadel.||Alive-Defeatable|
|Mephistroth||Nathrezim||Third Lord of the Nathrezim. He remained hidden during the second invasion but was defeated by the Council of the Black Harvest.||Alive-Defeatable|
|Kazzak the Supreme||Doomguard||Lord of the Doomguards, Right Hand of Kil'jaeden and most trusted lieutenant of Archimonde. He was responsible for the reopening of the Dark Portal. He reappeared on alternate Draenor with the new title of Supreme Lord and is defeated again at the Throne of Kil'jaeden.||Alive-Defeatable|
|Detheroc||Nathrezim||One of the three dreadlords tasked with ruling the Scourge in Lordaeron during the second invasion. Was defeated and killed by Sylvanas Windrunner, but returned during the third invasion to sabotage the unified Horde-Alliance front against the Legion. His plot was stopped by the Uncrowned and he was killed once again.||Alive-Defeatable|
|Lord Jaraxxus||Eredar||A man'ari eredar defeated in the Crusaders' Coliseum. Reappears in Legion during the third invasion of Azeroth.||Alive-Defeatable|
|Fel Lord Zakuun||Fel Lord||A lieutenant of Archimonde tasked with breaking the will of Grommash Hellscream. Defeated in Hellfire Citadel.||Alive-Defeatable|
|Magtheridon||Annihilan||The former Lord of Outland, who conquered the ruins of the orcish homeworld following its destruction. His reign was ended by the arrival of Illidan Stormrage, who took Magtheridon's throne at the Black Temple for himself.||Alive-Defeatable|
|Rakeesh||Eredar||High-ranking eredar commander in the demonic Burning Legion and overlord of the Rakeeshi. Rakeesh was originally the son of Prophet Velen, but was kidnapped by the demon lord Kil'jaeden in a revenge scheme ages ago and broken by the Demonic Inquisition to serve the Legion.||Deceased-Defeatable|
|Balnazzar||Nathrezim||One of the three dreadlords tasked with ruling the Scourge in Lordaeron during the second invasion. He was defeated by the combined forces of Sylvanas, Varimathras, and Lord Garithos. He returned and possessed the corpse of Saidan Dathrohan in order to manipulate the Scarlet Crusade from within. After his defeat, he resurrected dead Crusaders to serve him as the Risen. He returned during the third invasion for the last time, leading an assault on the Netherlight Temple. Since the temple is located in the Twisting Nether, Balnazzar's death is permanent.||Deceased-Defeatable|
|Gul'dan||Orc||The founder and master of the Shadow Council and the creator of death knights. Gul'dan played a major role in corrupting the Orcs and binding them to the Legion's service. He was killed by maddened demons during his journey to the Tomb of Sargeras in pursuit of power.||Deceased|
|Alternate Gul'dan||Orc||The founder and master of the Shadow Council and former leader of the Iron Horde of alternate Draenor. Deposed by Grommash but still facilitated the Legion's entry into Draenor. Played a major role in the third invasion but was killed atop the Nighthold in Suramar by Illidan Stormrage.||Deceased-Defeatable|
|Highlord Kruul||Doomguard||The Burning Legion Field Commander on Azeroth, in the place of Kazzak the Supreme. Initially defeated by the Illidari in Outland, he returned during the third invasion where he was killed in the Twisting Nether, making his death permanent.||Deceased-Defeatable|
|Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider||Blood Elf / Felblood Elf||Former king of the blood elves and servant of Illidan Stormrage. After his defeat at Tempest Keep, he was saved by a servant of Kil'jaeden. He pledged to use the Sunwell's energies to bring Kil'jaeden into Azeroth but failed. He was killed at Magister's Terrace.||Deceased|
|Talgath||Eredar||A high ranking agent of the Burning Legion tasked with scouring the Nether for living Draenei. Killed by Velen on Eredath.||Deceased-Defeatable|
|Varimathras||Nathrezim||One of three dreadlords tasked with ruling the Scourge in Lordaeron during the second invasion. He betrayed his brothers, Balnazzar and Detheroc, and joined Sylvanas, to save his own life, but secretly maintained Legion loyalties. He led a coup against Sylvanas but failed and returned to the Twisting Nether. He languishes in Antorus, being punished for his past failures.||Deceased-Defeatable|
|Socrethar||Eredar||A former member of the draenei Council of Exarchs of alternate Draenor, he and the Sargerei turned traitors and joined Gul'dan's forces.||Alive-Defeatable|
|Shadow-Lord Iskar||Arakkoa||Former leader of the Arakkoa Outcasts on Alternate Draenor. Took control of the Sethekk after joining the Legion. Died in Hellfire Citadel.||Deceased|
|God-King Skovald||Vrykul||King of the vrykul on the Broken Isles and ruler of the lands of Stormheim. Allied with the Legion following their return to Azeroth. Killed in the Halls of Valor.||Deceased|
|Brood Queen Tyranna||Aranasi||Ruler of the demonic world of Mardum. Sargeras entrusted her with the . Killed by the Illidari, and her corpse currently hangs from the ceiling of the Fel Hammer.||Deceased|
|Jagganoth||Annihilan||The former Overlord of Dreadscar Rift. His reign was ended by the arrival of the newest member of the Council of the Black Harvest.||Deceased-Defeatable|
|Fel'dan||Fel Orc||Former leader of the Shadow Council in Felwood.||Deceased|
|Grand Apothecary Putress||Forsaken Undead||Former chief apothecary of the Forsaken's Royal Apothecary Society. Betrayed Sylvanas along with Varimathras during his coup. He was killed during the Battle for the Undercity.||Deceased|
|Elisande||Nightborne||The Grand Magistrix of Suramar was coerced into to allying herself with the Legion during their Third Invasion. Upon her death, her echo expressed regret at joining forces with the Legion.||Deceased-Defeatable|
The majority of the Legion ruling hierarchy has been either defeated on Azeroth or permanently destroyed in the Twisting Nether.
|Queen Azshara||Queen of the Naga||The Queen of the kaldorei and believed herself "betrothed" to Sargeras. After the Sundering, she and her Highborne were transformed into naga by the Old God N'Zoth, whom she began serving.||Alive|
|Xavius||Nightmare Lord||Formerly Azshara's counselor and advisor, he sided with the Legion when Azshara summoned them into Azeroth during the first invasion. Since then, he has severed ties with the Legion and defected to the service of N'zoth, who granted him powers over the Emerald Nightmare in return.||Deceased-Killable|
|The Lich King||Lord of the Scourge||As Ner'zhul, he was created by Kil'jaeden to unleash the plague of undeath upon Azeroth's defenders. His history with the Burning Legion has left him spiteful and vengeful, and, as Arthas, he betrayed Kil'jaeden by killing his dreadlord jailers and separated the Scourge from the Legion.||Defunct|
|Illidan Stormrage||The Betrayer||Lord of Outland and master of the Illidari. Made a pact with Kil'jaeden to destroy the Lich King, but after his failure, he departed to Outland and severed ties with the Legion.||Alive|
|Mal'Ganis||Nathrezim||Chosen to head up the plot to manipulate Prince Arthas Menethil and lure him to Northrend. He was betrayed by the Lich King when he instructed Arthas, through Frostmourne, to kill Mal'ganis. Vengeful, he returned under the guise of Admiral Barean Westwind to lead the Scarlet Onslaught against the Lich King. Appeared briefly on the Broken Shore but didn't participate in the third invasion. In the aftermath of the Legion's defeat, he was amongst the nathrezim that invaded Revendreth to rescue Denathrius, where he outright declared that the Legion was a pawn, was briefly imprisoned by the the Court of the Harvesters, and then defeated within the Sepulcher of the First Ones.||Alive-Defeatable|
The Burning Legion races consist mainly of demons, but other non-demonic species serve them as well.
- Fel beast
- Fel wolf
- Warp Stalker
- Fel reavers
- Fel cannons
- Infernal machines
- Legion ships
Races of other organizations
- This list includes the organizations that serve the Burning Legion.
- For more background information on this organization, see The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Burning Legion.
Sargeras is the leader of the Burning Legion. If missing, Kil'jaeden runs things in his stead. Eredar serve as the Legion's overlords and strategists. Pit lords serve as generals and ground commanders. Nathrezim are a step below pit lords. Doomguard are four steps below nathrezim, serving as marines, captains, military leaders, and so on. Terrorguards are close in rank and role to doomguard. Felguard serve as rank and file soldiers. The most powerful Burning Legion soldiers often carry an emblem of their rank and status within the demon army.
The number of demons in the Twisting Nethers is virtually infinite. Though estimed in the millions they are able to reform in the Twisting Nether again and again. However not all demons are part of the Buring Legion. During the War of the Ancients, Sargeras gathered at least one million demons. Wendy Breezy estimated them to number in the millions.
Organizations who serve the Legion
- Shadow Council and the cults who serve them †
- Alternate Shadow Council
- Dreadlord Insurgents †
Demons generally come from hundreds of worlds, but only some are known:
- Argus - homeworld of the eredar and central headquarters of the Burning Legion
- Nathreza - homeworld of the nathrezim and repository of arcana and forbidden knowledge
- Niskara - prison world
- Rancora - home of many skittering demons
- Xoroth - home to the infernal dreadsteeds
The Legion also previously held but lost many locations, such as:
- Fortresses on Azeroth and Outland, such as the Black Temple
- The prison world of Mardum
- The portal world of Jagganoth's Lair
- The abandoned ship of Shadowgore Citadel
Demonic buildings range from commandeered local structures to mobile constructions rising from summoned meteors. These buildings are militaristic in nature, powered by soul engines and defended by spires of woe.
Notes and trivia
- During their third invasion, the Burning Legion had their nathrezim raise skeletons in an attempt to recreate the Scourge to some extent.
- The fact that some of the Legion's satyr come from Xoroth and that the demons include alternate Shadow Council agents in their ranks indicates that the Burning Legion used corrupted troops from Azeroth and Draenor in their effort for cosmic conquest.
- When demons of the Legion fall out of favor, their spirits are imprisoned within orbs and distributed to their mages and warlocks.
- According to Illidan, intimidation is the weapon of the Burning Legion rather than intelligence.
- Being captured by the Legion would end in intolerable torture, or worse. When captured, it is easier to say "Xar il romath da tidesbi" to insult Sargeras in order to be executed immediately.
- According to Chris Metzen, Sargeras and his Burning Legion are based on the demon Surtur and his fiery legions from Muspelheim from Marvel Comics, specifically Walter Simonson's run on The Mighty Thor.
- The Burning Legion (that is, "demons") was originally considered to be a playable race for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, however, the idea was scrapped because Blizzard felt that universal race mechanics such as mining gold and advancing the tech tree (gradually upgrading your units) did not fit well with the overwhelming threat the demons represented. As a result, other races are used when the Burning Legion assaults the player as a race in the campaigns, such as when Archimonde makes his assault on Nordrassil from an Undead (Scourge) base.
- A map "mutation" called "Burning Legion" exists in the multiplayer of StarCraft II.
- Before Warcraft III was released, the Burning Legion was originally envisioned as a roaming army of mana addicts, forever cursed to consume magic in order to survive. Their lust for arcane power made them search for worlds to drain the magic of, but also to eradicate all life within them. There were even references to the eredar themselves having accidentally spread magic loose through the universe after destroying their home dimension. The Last Guardian said that the Burning Legion sought to invade any world where magic was mastered and grown to keep these energies for themselves alone, but without mentioning addiction. Expanding on the Sargeras and the Betrayal passage, The Warcraft Encyclopedia later said that many fell under the sway of Sargeras through magical addiction, but also that the Legion's mission was to destroy the universe and remake it without the underlying defect preventing true order, thus separating their goal from the concept of feeding their magical hunger. Magic itself went through a similar change - arcane magic was originally described as corrupting and attracting demons, but gradually changed over time with the addition of the concept of fel magic being an opposite cosmic energy to it. Demons still feed on arcane magic, but arcane magic itself isn't the reason demons appear and thrive anymore.
- In Hearthstone, the Legion card back was rewarded for achieving Rank 20 in Ranked Season 30, which took place during September 2016. The flavor text reads: "The Burning Legion attempted to invade Azeroth three times in the last 10,000 years. Fourth time's the charm?"
With Sargeras imprisoned, Kil'jaeden and Archimonde dead, and some of the nathrezim returning to the Shadowlands, it is likely the surviving lords of the Legion will battle among themselves for supremacy to become Sargeras's successor. Other demon lords may even defect from the Legion and craft their own organizations.
The Burning Legion in Warcraft III.
The skull seen on the spire of woe seems to be another major Legion symbol
Texture of a dais incorporating new and old skull iconography, notably used on the front of the Tomb of Sargeras
- Warcraft III
- ^ a b c The Warcraft Encyclopedia: Burning Legion
- ^ a b Sean Copeland on Twitter (2014-02-07)
- ^ a b c Blizzard Entertainment Inc. 2007-04-19. Crisis at the Portal (English). News From Outland: Crisis at Da Portal. Retrieved on 2009-06-20. “How long do you think this assault will last? Given that the Legion is estimated to number in the millions! - Wendy Breezy”
- ^ a b c Jeremy Feasel on Twitter
- ^ Azzakel Dungeon Journal
- ^ World of Warcraft: Illidan, pg. 129
- ^ "Legacy of the Damned: King Arthas", Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment. Sylvanas Windrunner: "The Legion was defeated months ago. How could they not know?".
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual#Archimonde
- ^ Thrall's Vision (WC3 demo)
- ^ Ravencrest's Legacy (quest)#Notes
- ^ "Exodus of the Horde: Chasing Visions", Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. Blizzard Entertainment. Medivh: "Human? I left my humanity behind long ago. I am something ... different now. Know that I have seen the future and beheld the great burning shadow that is coming to consume this world. You sense it as well, don't you?".
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual, pg. 80
- ^ Afrasiabi on Twitter (2015-05-06)
- ^ World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 9: This time he saw not just one universe but a near infinity of them, a complex fractal structure, where new worlds were born each minute from the decisions made a heartbeat before. Everywhere the Burning Legion marched, destroying world after world.
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 22 - 25
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 48 - 54
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 98
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 99 - 100
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 100
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 101
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 102 - 103
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 103 - 104
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 104
- ^ The Last Guardian, chapter 7
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 148 - 150
- ^ Rise of the Horde pg. 82
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 68
- ^ Rise of the Horde, chapter 7
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 99
- ^ Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness
- ^ Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 138
- ^ a b "Curse of the Blood Elves: Misconceptions", Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment.
- ^ a b "Legacy of the Damned: King Arthas", Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment.
- ^ "Terror of the Tides: Shards of the Alliance", Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment.
- ^ a b c d "Legacy of the Damned: A New Power in Lordaeron", Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment.
- ^ "Legacy of the Damned: A Kingdom Divided", Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment.
- ^ "Legacy of the Damned: Sylvanas' Farewell", Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment.
- ^ "Legacy of the Damned: The Dark Lady", Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment.
- ^ "Legacy of the Damned: Dreadlord's Fall", Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment.
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 103
- ^ Death is Contagious
- ^ "Curse of the Blood Elves: Lord of Outland", Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment.
- ^ http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/news/rss-01-2007.xml
- ^ a b
- ^ a b
- ^ a b
- ^ a b
- ^ a b
- ^ a b
- ^ "Curse of the Blood Elves: Gates of the Abyss", Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment.
- ^ a b c d
- ^ a b c
- ^ Conversation between Socrethar and Culuthas.
- ^ a b
- ^ a b
- ^ a b
- ^ Traveler: The Shining Blade
- ^ Warlords of Draenor intro experience Draenor counterattack
- ^ BlizzCon 2015 Opening Ceremony
- ^ Legion: Home, Blizzard Entertainment. Retrieved on 2015-08-21
- ^ 2015-08-08, GamesCom 2015 World of Warcraft: Legion Story and Setting Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2015-08-21
- ^ has Stormwind soldiers and Tirion Fordring captive
- ^ Harbingers
- ^ Grand Magistrix Elisande (tactics)#Quotes
- ^ Kil'jaeden (Tomb of Sargeras tactics)
- ^ BlizzCon 2015 - Interview with Dave Kosak. "And the idea was if you played in Mythic and defeated Archimonde, you actually defeated him in the Nether and that he'd be dead dead for good. That was the idea that we played with. We tried to explain that and I don't know if... that certainly doesn't come across in-game because it's not necessarily explained in-game."
- ^ Demonic Inquisition#Quotes
- ^ a b Exodar Holographic Emitter
- ^ Sean Copeland on Twitter (2014-08-05)
- ^ Sean Copeland on Twitter (2014-08-05)
- ^ Sean Copeland on Twitter (2014-08-27)
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual, 77
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual, 48
- ^ The Last Guardian, chapter 8
- ^ Fel Structures on Jimmy Lo's ArtStation
- ^ Forward Commander To'arch#Quotes
- ^ The Comic Volume 1, pg. 3 - 4 — Chasing Thunder: A foreword by Chris Metzen
- ^ Author: Warcraft 3 almost had six playable races
- ^ Bill Roper "disannounces" the demons around E3 2001
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment. Warcraft III official site (English) (HTML). Description. Archived from the original on 2000-08-31. Retrieved on 2000-12-23.
- ^ Neoseeker - Warcraft III Hands On Preview
- ^ The Last Guardian, chapter 8
- ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Burning Legion