- For his Warcraft III statistics, see Cenarius (Warcraft III). For information on how to defeat Cenarius in Emerald Nightmare, see Cenarius (tactics).
Lord of the Forest,|
Demigod of the Groves,
Lord of the Groves,
Ancient of nature
|Race(s)||Wild God (Ancient) (Humanoid)|
|Class||Demigod, Keeper of the Grove, Druid|
|Affiliation(s)||Forests of Kalimdor, Cenarion Circle and Guardians of Hyjal|
|Occupation||Lord of the Forest, Supreme Druid, Defender of the Emerald Dream|
Elune (mother), Malorne (father), Ysera (adoptive mother), Winter Queen (aunt), Remulos, Zaetar, Ordanus (sons), Celebras (grandson), Cavindra (granddaughter), numerous other half-stag descendants|
|Student(s)||Malfurion Stormrage (thero'shan), Xarantaur|
“Who dares defile this ancient land? Who dares the wrath of Cenarius and the night elves?”
- — Cenarius confronting Grommash Hellscream
Cenarius (pronounced sənɑ:riəs, like "sin-AH-ree-uhs"), Lord of the Forest and patron of many druids, is one of the most powerful and influential demigods of Azeroth. Worshipped by the night elves since their early history, the Son of Malorne taught the elves to be druids and embrace nature, as opposed to the arcane-inclined Highborne and the religiously-inclined Sisterhood of Elune. He served as a commander of the forces of Kalimdor in the War of the Ancients after the death of his father. He continued serving as a teacher and protector of the elves and their forests for 10,000 years until he was killed by the demonically corrupted orcs led by Grom Hellscream.
Several years later, he was brought back into the world with the awakened Ysera through the Gates of Sothann to aid in defending Hyjal from Ragnaros and the resurgent Twilight's Hammer. He now serves as a leader of the Cenarion Circle.
Birth and children
As the son of Elune, goddess of the moon, and the demigod Malorne, Cenarius inherited a deep connection to the world of Azeroth and its creatures. The tauren have a myth that purportedly relates the story of Cenarius's conception. Elune birthed Cenarius, but gave him up to Malorne because Cenarius was more a creature of the mortal world and could not be with her. When Cenarius's birth sent a ripple through the Emerald Dream, Ysera took an immediate interest in him. Guiding him into the Dream, she taught him much of its secrets and became a foster mother of sorts to him. In fact, the affectionate understanding that she and Cenarius shared has led many of Azeroth's elder races to mistake the pair for mother and son. Malorne knew that he could not properly care for his son, but Ysera took Cenarius as her own. Cenarius grew to love the lush forests of Ysera's verdant realm. He could often be found treading its infinite dreamways, either watching over Azeroth and its creatures, or simply hoping for all that they might yet become.
The demigod grew into a powerful and cunning being, the union of the heavens and the earth. He has many powers over nature, which he inherited from his father Malorne. He fathered many children. His daughters are known as the fey dryads and his sons as the wise Keepers of the Grove, or simply "keepers", including Keeper Remulos, Ordanus, and Zaetar. According to one night elf legend, the centaur were Cenarius's bastard children, but they were actually descended from Cenarius's son Zaetar and Princess Theradras, making Cenarius their grandfather. According to Brann Bronzebeard, the magnataur are also descended from Cenarius. Cenarius claims kinship with the night elves as well, but has never said in what way.
At some point during the height of the mogu empire, an intelligent bovine race known as the yaungol dwelled with Cenarius on the plains of central Kalimdor. Eventually, the yaungol grew weary of having to share their hunting grounds with the trolls and migrated south, despite Cenarius's wishes. In the south, the yaungol were enslaved by the mogu until they joined several other slave races in overthrowing their oppressors. After the revolution, many yaungol migrated back north, and one group, known thereafter as the tauren, reunited with Cenarius and rediscovered their lost traditions. Those who studied with Cenarius learned the druidic magic of the natural world. Xarantaur was presumably taught by Cenarius during this time.
The night elves
When the night elves first developed around the Well of Eternity, their curiosity led them to meet and befriend a number of powerful entities, including Cenarius, who claimed kinship with the night elves, though he never explained in what way. The demigod became fond of the night elves, and he spent a great deal of time teaching them about the natural world in Val'sharah, his home and the birthplace of night elven druidism. Under his guidance, the night elves developed a strong empathy for the living forests of ancient Kalimdor and reveled in the harmonious balance of nature. Some night elves became so transformed by the teachings of the demigod that they never left his realm, choosing to remain by Cenarius' side as his defenders. These few would cease to be elves and became woodland guardians physically altered forever. Over time, however, the night elves were increasingly drawn to the cosmic energies of the Well. Furthermore, the rapid growth of the night elf civilization led inevitably to the creation of new buildings and roads. Large tracts of forest vanished. Tranquil woodlands turned into sprawling cities, and great trees were warped and twisted into shapes that would better serve as night elf dwellings. The night elves were losing touch with nature.
The number of night elves pursuing their studies with the demigod dwindled, and Cenarius was grieved to realize that all his work had been for naught. Reluctantly he departed night elf lands. He resolved that he would respect their choice, however much he disagreed with it. From that point forward, Cenarius retreated into the wilds of the world and avoided most sentient races until they came to doubt his very existence.
The first druid
Millennia later, Malfurion Stormrage came across several legends that referenced the mysterious Cenarius. Malfurion had always had great reverence for the natural world, although the night elves as a race had long since abandoned any interest in such matters. He shared these legends with his twin brother, Illidan Stormrage, and their mutual friend, Tyrande Whisperwind. The three night elves decided that it would be an exciting adventure to search for Cenarius, though in truth they no more believed in the demigod than the rest of their people did. It wasn't long before scattered plants and animals of Azeroth brought tidings of these three night elves to Cenarius. Surprised and intrigued, Cenarius located the night elves and looked into their hearts. He saw great promise in Malfurion, a promise that made up Cenarius's mind.
The laughing trio was shocked into silence when Cenarius stepped out of a shadowed thicket. He introduced himself and offered to teach them the druidic arts. They accepted eagerly and began to train in Val'sharah. Malfurion proved a quick and talented student, but his brother was clumsy and quickly grew impatient. For her part, Tyrande was already a novice in the Sisterhood of Elune and so had dedicated herself to the goddess above all others. Cenarius knew that Malfurion alone would go on to become a druid. Under the tutelage of wise Cenarius, Malfurion would become the first mortal druid on Azeroth.
Invasion of the Burning Legion
Malfurion made significant progress in his studies before he was assailed by a disturbing vision. He watched helplessly as the Highborne inside the palace abused the Well of Eternity's magics. The vision gave him the strong conviction that Queen Azshara and her high-ranking spellcasters would cause a catastrophe unless someone intervened. Malfurion brought his concerns to Cenarius, at the time dwelling in the sacred Moonglade, who was greatly worried. Even so, the night elves realized what was happening too late. Demons poured out of the royal palace and began to slaughter everything in their path. The War of the Ancients had begun. As the crisis unfolded, Cenarius taught Malfurion all he could and then sought out the other demigods of Azeroth. They were unaccustomed to the idea of working together; as a result, it took no little persuasion from Cenarius before they finally agreed on a course of action. They rode to the battlefront and found that the war was well underway. Quickly Cenarius assessed the situation and then led the other demigods to the leader of the night elf army, Captain Jarod Shadowsong. The astonished captain readily accepted the demigods' offer of assistance, and the tide of battle seemed to shift.
During a battle in Azshara, Cenarius granted his blessing to Huln Highmountain so that his people would forever have his favor. This transformed Huln and his people's horns into the Horns of Eche'ro: their moose-like antlers.
Malorne's death and the Great Sundering
Reacting to the new and powerful threat, the vast demonic army refocused its attacks on the demigods, who were soon overwhelmed. Cenarius was badly wounded and completely surrounded by the time Malorne charged up and drove back his son's attackers with a few sweeps of his massive antlers. The night elves scrambled into action, pulling the unconscious Cenarius to safety. Malorne easily held the demons off for a time. Then Archimonde came forth and engaged the giant stag in single combat, ultimately snapping Malorne's neck. Malfurion was furious and grieved; he called roots out of the ground to attack the demon lord. As the plants tightened their stranglehold on the demon's massive form, Archimonde was forced to teleport away in order to escape.
Ysera was sad to learn of Malorne's death, and her dragonflight carefully helped Cenarius enter the Emerald Dream, where the green dragons ministered to his injuries. Despite his sorrow and the lingering effects of his wounds, Cenarius emerged from the Dream not long after the Great Sundering, for he could feel the land cry out for healing. To his horror, he discovered that Illidan Stormrage had created a second Well of Eternity. Jarod Shadowsong left Illidan's punishment to Malfurion, who felt it would be the height of folly to leave Illidan free to continue his reckless pursuit of power. Thus, with Cenarius's help, Malfurion sealed Illidan within a vast underground barrow prison, there to remain chained and powerless until the end of time.
Curse of the Worgen
When Malfurion discovered the lupine Pack Form, the blind rage of Goldrinn overwhelmed him and he attacked Cenarius. Cenarius sealed Malfurion away underneath Daral'nir within the Emerald Dream where his rage was calmed. Malfurion then banned all druids from using the Pack Form.
Later, when Ralaar Fangfire and the Druids of the Scythe became the first worgen, Malfurion asked Cenarius for advice on how to handle the fallen druids. Cenarius responded that Malfurion was a shan'do himself now, and couldn't always ask Cenarius for answers. With Cenarius's blessing, Malfurion and a number of other druids met in Moonglade and established the Cenarion Circle to face Alpha Prime.
Seclusion of the night elves
Tyrande Whisperwind, now high priestess of Elune, implemented sweeping changes throughout night elf society. She organized a new all-female army, the Sentinels, and decreed that it would be directed by the Sisterhood of Elune. Nobility and sorcery were now considered the relics of a decadent and shameful past. Nevertheless, a group of Highborne under Dath'Remar Sunstrider refused to give up practicing arcane magic. After discussing the matter at length, Tyrande and Malfurion made the difficult decision to exile their defiant kin. In the wake of the group's departure, the remaining night elves deliberately withdrew from the rest of the world. A veil of mist descended upon their entire continent, shrouding its presence from passing sailors.
Meanwhile, Cenarius remained nearby in the Moonglade of Mount Hyjal. His male offspring, the keepers of the grove, kept close watch on the night elves and regularly helped the Sentinels maintain peace in the land. Even Cenarius's shy female descendants, the dryads, appeared in the open with increasing frequency. Cenarius taught the night elves the ways of the forest, and druidism became widespread among the males. Following the druids' entrance into the Emerald Dream Cenarius helped Tyrande and the Sentinels during the Long Vigil. He and his children, the Keepers of the Grove and their dryad sisters, helped to patrol the woodlands from the Moonglade.
The invasion of Kalimdor
Time passed, and a new race arrived on Azeroth: the orcs, who originated on the planet Draenor. Under the deception of demons, the orcs had changed from a shamanic society into the bloodthirsty Horde. They waged war upon the humans of the Eastern Kingdoms and killed countless other creatures during the First and Second Wars. Cenarius and the night elves did not emerge from their seclusion to intervene, for they knew nothing of any events that occurred outside Kalimdor. The Second War ended badly for the orcs, and the Horde was shattered. Just before the Third War, a new orc warchief emerged: Thrall, who reformed the Horde and led his people across the sea to establish their own homeland on Kalimdor.
Cenarius' in Warcraft III: Reforged.
Death by the hands of the orcs
The orcs, who had fled the Eastern Kingdoms after Thrall had received a vision, landed on Kalimdor. Thrall, who had encountered Grommash Hellscream battle a group of humans, ordered the orc chieftain and his clan to gather wood for the construction of an outpost. Grom reluctantly complied and headed deeper into Ashenvale to begin cutting swathes of forest and killing the local night elves who attempted to protect the land.
Despite no longer having warlocks in their ranks, the orcs still carried within them the unmistakable mark of the Burning Legion upon their very souls. Cenarius, as a being so attuned to nature that he can sense the slightest corruption, assumed that the orcs in Ashenvale were scouts of the Legion. Cenarius became certain that the orcs had returned to their warlike ways. He led a group of night elves and treants against a large group of the orcish intruders.
Grom and the Warsong clan were overpowered by the demigod's powers, their weapons having little to no effect against him. When all hope seemed lost, several trolls sensed a mystical fountain nearby which would give them the power necessary to do so. After dispatching the local inhabitants along the way, Grom and his clan drank from the fountain, despite what Thrall had taught them. The fountain had been previously tainted by Mannoroth and led to the reestablishment of their connection to the potent fel magics that first bound them to the Legion.
Overcome with supernatural hate and rage, Grom and his warriors retaliated against Cenarius and his allies. The strength of the demon blood mixed in the fountain allowed Grom and his orcs to fight Cenarius on equal footing, and they eventually killed the demigod after an intense battle. Mannoroth appeared before Hellscream and his troops moments later and enslaved them, since by drinking his blood they had made themselves susceptible to his control once again. The night elves and many other creatures, including Ysera, mourned Cenarius's tragic death. The death of Cenarius at the hands of the orcs, demon-tainted or not, enraged the night elves, cementing their view of the savage, green-skinned (although red-skinned at that moment) creatures as their enemies. When Malfurion considered the possibility of allying with Jaina's and Thrall's forces, observing that they fought against the undead as well, Tyrande vehemently rejected the idea and cited the fact Cenarius had been killed by them as proof that they were the enemy.
Spirit within the Emerald Dream and the Shadowlands
Cenarius's spirit returned to the Emerald Dream after his defeat, and within it, he was able to sense the events of the Battle of Mount Hyjal. Cenarius saw the orcs defend Nordrassil hand-in-hand with the night elves and humans, and developed a growing respect for them. Cenarius saw that, despite their fel taint, they were allies against the Legion and defenders of the land (noting Garrosh’s father’s victory over his former enslaver in particular), so when both he and the Horde returned to Hyjal to defend the World Tree once again, Cenarius saw the orcs and their allies in a new light.
A clue to Cenarius's activities came from a conversation his son Remulos had with the spirit of Malfurion Stormrage when players completed a particular quest. It explained that Cenarius was helping Malfurion fight against the Nightmare that was disrupting the Emerald Dream, causing the corruption of The Four Dragons among other things.
During the war against Deathwing and his allies on Mount Hyjal, Cenarius was summoned from the Emerald Dream through a portal at the Gates of Sothann to fight the forces of the returned Firelord, Ragnaros. He assists in defeating Ragnaros along with an adventurer, Malfurion, and Hamuul.
Assault on the Molten Front
Cenarius appears at the Sanctuary of Malorne if the adventurer has completed the entire Hyjal storyline, otherwise he will not appear. Along with Hamuul Runetotem and Malfurion Stormrage, he helps defeat Ragnaros in the Firelands on heroic difficulty.
Cenarius lies unwaking at the Grove of Cenarius in Val'sharah, afflicted by the Emerald Nightmare. The Tears of Elune can save him, but they are stolen from the nearby temple by Xavius before they can be used. As Cenarius becomes corrupted by the Emerald Nightmare, an enraged Malfurion pursues Xavius into the depths of the forest.
Cenarius is a boss in the Emerald Nightmare raid, where he believes he is defending the forests from the Nightmare's incursion and does not wish to fail his father, Malorne. With Malfurion aiding in the battle, they are able to get through to Cenarius and, while he is defeated, he is only unconscious and not killed. As Malfurion focuses all his power into cleansing his teacher, the adventurers journey to the Rift of Aln to confront Xavius. After Xavius is defeated, the purified Cenarius is found within the Emerald Dream alongside the spirits of those deceased that the Nightmare had corrupted, welcoming the adventurers into the Emerald Dream and thanking them for cleansing the Nightmare.
- Keeper of the grove
|Location||Level range||Health range|
|??||1,286,726 - 1,513,051|
|Sanctuary of Malorne||??||1,164,900|
|Azshara (Huln's War)||99 - 108||12,910,500|
|Grove of Cenarius||??||5,169,376|
Standing tall above many at well over ten feet of height, the Lord of the Forest resembles in appearance a cross between a vigorous night elf and a magnificent stag. Cenarius' upper body is broad and muscular, by the dark skin tinted in the emerald hues of the wilds and arms that end in gnarled talons of aged wood, whilst his lower half vaunts four nimble hooves that move with the swiftness of the wind. From his head flows a thick moss-green mane, crowned by a pair of giant, glorious antlers that shade over his eyes of pure gold and his stern, yet fatherly visage. From it grows a long, rich beard, endowed by living leaves and twigs.
However, Cenarius' appearance differs in a number of artworks and models: In the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game he is shown as having no beard, with black hair, green eyes, tattoos on his chest and antlers that vary between those of an elk and some that vaguely resemble those of a stag.  This appearance is largely consistent with his depictions in the Curse of the Worgen comics and World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, even down to the changing shapes of his antlers between images in the same source material. The latter also portrays Cenarius with pale blue eyes and a black beard during the events of the Third War. In his World of Warcraft models, he was originally shown as having golden eyes and no beard in Cataclysm, while in Legion he was updated to have one, though he has also gained new markings on his face, cyan eyes and a horse tail.
In the RPG
Cenarius's home was originally the Barrow Dens in the north-eastern corner of the Moonglade. The giant creature's body resembles a cross between the lower portion of an elk and the upper torso of male night elf. Standing perfectly motionless on four heavily muscled legs, the creature exudes an air of serene confidence. Its body glows with a soothing green light that strangely contrasts with the stern look on its face.
Cenarius's children are literally the offspring of the demigod Cenarius. Centaurs are his bastard children, while dryads are his daughters and keepers of the grove are his sons. They share the culture of the night elves, although most live apart from the kaldorei as wardens of nature. Cenarius's bastard children have upper bodies closer to a humanoid and lower bodies more like a horse, while Cenarius' favored children are similar except they have an upper torso more similar to night elves and a lower body more like a deer or stag.
War of the Ancients
- "You have done what few others could do, and in doing so, you almost lost yourself forever."
- "The night elves grow more arrogant. They take what does not belong to them and trespass where they are not wanted. It is their assumption that everything falls under their domination. Although they did not quite intrude upon my realm, I chose to make them do so in order to teach them a lesson in humility and manners."
- Cenarius: Who dares defile this ancient land? Who dares the wrath of Cenarius and the night elves?
- Warsong Orc: The forest is coming alive! We're under attack!
- Cenarius: Let battle be joined!
- "Now, my warriors, cleanse these brutes from the wilds! I will watch over you from the forest."
- "You cannot defeat me, I am the heart of the land!"
- "I defeated your kind in ages past and I shall do so again!" (mistaken orcs for demons)
- "Demon Spawned Wretches, you will all die!"
- Cenarius: The demons did their job well. You creatures are as reckless and bloodthirsty as they ever were!
- Grom Hellscream: We orcs are free, demigod!
- Cenarius: Is that what you tell yourself? Despite what you may believe, you are no better than the malignant bile that flows through your veins.
- Grom Hellscream: Damn you! RAGH!
World of Warcraft
- Nature's enemies, must be defeated.
- We are the guardians of the land.
- Main article: Huln's War - Stormrage#Notes
- Main article: An Unclear Path#Notes
- Main article: Cenarius (tactics)#Quotes
- Main article: Xavius (tactics)#Quotes
- Emerald Dream
Your triumph restores the Dream and safeguards your world. The allies of Xavius will never relent, but this road, at least, is closed to them.
In the TCG
“The whispers of Cenarius's return echo through every plant and tree in the forest. May he lead us through the inferno and end the Firelord's assault on the World Tree.”
- — Arisella, Daughter of Cenarius
Cenarius, Lord of the Forest appears as a monster hero and a druid demigod.
Notes and trivia
- The branching headpiece of the Cenarion Raiment is evocative of the great antlers of Cenarius.
- At some point, Cenarius gifted the to Sentinel Onaeya.
- Rare sheddings of Cenarius's antlers are highly prized by the Dreamweavers.
- At some point prior to the Firelands Invasion, Brann Bronzebeard met with Cenarius and discussed the origins of several races. Cenarius confirmed Brann's suspicions about the origins of the night elves, but he didn't seem to like talking about his various offspring, leading Brann to wonder if the Ancient felt embarrassed.
- In-game, he wears shoulder guards and a spiked armor piece on his flank. Considering the art of Grom Hellscream attacking Cenarius from that very position, this could be considered a vulnerable spot for him, and so it seems he now wears the armor piece to help negate that.
- was a druid talent.
- The name Cenarius could have possibly come from the word "Centaurus", Latin for centaur. This would be quite fitting, given his anatomy and his connection to Warcraft centaurs.
- Cenarius could also be based upon Cernunnos, a Celtic god of nature, woodlands, fertility, and the hunt, who was often depicted with antlers, similar to Cenarius. Cernunnos is also worshiped by neo-druids, and was worshiped by ancient druids.
- Cenarius is voiced by Abe Lasser in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and Neil Kaplan in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, Hearthstone, and World of Warcraft: Legion.
It is unclear what became of the night elves transformed by Cenarius in ancient times, or what form they took as woodland protectors.  Considering the physical likeness between the night elves and some of Cenarius' children, it may be theorized that these followers became the Keepers of the Grove.
A burning statue of Cenarius, seen near the beginning of the Terror of the Tides campaign.
Cenarius, as seen in Curse of the Worgen.
Cenarius, Lord of the Forest, in the TCG.
Emerald Nightmare Cenarius Reforged Spoils of War Edition multiplayer keeper of the grove skin.
- Patch 7.0.3 (2016-07-19): Added at Val'sharah and he has obtained a new model.
- Patch 4.2.0 (2011-06-28): Added at the Sanctuary of Malorne and against Ragnaros on Heroic.
- Patch 4.0.3a (2010-11-23): Added.
- ^ a b War of the Ancients Trilogy
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Cenarius
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 100
- ^ Lunara, Heroes of the Storm Spotlight in which they explain her lore pertaining to Warcraft.
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter
- ^ a b
- ^ Blizzard lore posts#Cenarius.27 Mother
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual, pg. 142
- ^ Maraudon#Dungeon Journal
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Magazine Volume 2 Issue 1
- ^ Knaak, Richard A.. The Well of Eternity, 47. ISBN 978-0-7434-8902-7.
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 90
- ^ a b c d The Well of Eternity, chapter 4
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 98
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual
- ^ The War of the Ancients
- ^ Curse of the Worgen
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 69
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3
- ^ a b Ask CDev Answers - Round 3
- ^ World of Warcraft: Game Manual
- ^ The Nightmare Manifests#NPC text during the event
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment 2019-11-01. BlizzCon 2019 - World of Warcraft: What's Next. Retrieved on 2019-11-02.
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment 2019-11-01. World of Warcraft: What’s Next Panel Recap. Retrieved on 2019-11-02.
- ^ Mount Hyjal: In Defense of Nordrassil: "Your successes in Hyjal will ultimately lead you to the assembly of the Ancients, who have set a plan in motion to bring a powerful ally and demigod back into this realm."
- ^ a b c d World of Warcraft: The Magazine Issue 5
- ^ The Well of Eternity, chapter 7
- ^ Crown of the Heavens
- ^ World of Warcraft Trading Card Game
- ^ Curse of the Worgen
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1
- ^ World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
- ^ World of Warcraft: Legion
- ^ Warcraft III: Reforged
- ^ Arthaus. Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 204. ISBN 9781588460714.
- ^ Arthaus. Shadows & Light, 78. ISBN 9781588469731.
- ^ Borgstrom, Rebecca; Eric Brennan, Genevieve Cogman, and Michael Goodwin. Manual of Monsters, 21. ISBN 978-1588-4607-07.
- ^ Bennie, Scott; Richard Farrese, Bob Fitch. Horde Player's Guide, 209. ISBN 9781588467720.
- ^ Arisella, Daughter of Cenarius
- ^ World of Warcraft: Exploring Azeroth: The Eastern Kingdoms, pg. 102
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Magazine Volume II Issue I
- ^ Neil Kaplan on Wikipedia.