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For lore about death knights, see death knight.
Death Knight
Race Death knight
Faction Horde
Hit Points 60
Armor 0
Sight 9
Speed 8
Gold 1200 Gold
Food 1 Food
Produced at Temple of the Damned
Build time 120 seconds
Basic Damage 0
Piercing Damage 9
Range 3
Mana 255 Mana
This article contains lore taken from Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, the manuals, and/or official bonus maps.

These soldiers of darkness were created by Gul'dan to replace the slaughtered Warlock clans. Assembled from the corpses of the Knights of Azeroth slain in the last battles of the First War, these abominations were then instilled with the ethereal essence of the Shadow Council. Further empowered with magical energies culled from the slain Necrolytes, the Death Knights wield an arsenal of necromantic and elemental spells that mete out all but certain death to the enemies of the Horde.[1]


  • Death Knights are spell-casting units used to eliminate enemy units and buildings with powerful offensive spells as well as to buff your units.
  • They are expensive, slow and vulnerable, but they do have a short-ranged attack (Touch of Darkness) that ignores armor.
  • Their default reaction to being attacked is to flee. They will, however, automatically attack any Flying Machines within range if idle.
  • While undoubtedly powerful, they are highly vulnerable to two Alliance spells: the Paladin's Exorcism and the Mage's Polymorph, which makes them generally inferior to Mages.
  • Their spells are as follows:
    • Death Coil removes 50 Hit Points from any enemy unit except ships and machines (such as Ballistas) and heals the Death Knight for the same amount (but not over his normal HP limit). It is cast at an area, and will hit one or more units in it (if more than one unit is affected, the damage is split between them). While fast units may appear to outrun the spell, this is in fact impossible. However, it you target the spell somewhere where there are no enemy units (for example, if they move away before the Death Knight casts the spell), there will be no effect and the Mana will be wasted.
    • Haste increases the target's movement speed. It does not affect attack speed, with the single exception of Dragons, whose attack speed is doubled. The amount by which the unit's movement speed is increased depends on the unit: some, such as Ogres, Zeppelins, and the faster ships are unaffected, while a Death Knight's speed is increased from 8 to 17. Hasted Peons will harvest resources faster.
    • Unholy Armor makes the target unit completely invulnerable to damage for a short time, but also removes half its Hit Points. Note that it does not protect against the Polymorph spell. Casting it on Sappers or a Demolition Squad will instantly destroy them.
    • Death and Decay is a very powerful offensive spell that can quickly wipe out whole groups of enemies or buildings. Note that the Death Knight who casts Death and Decay is immune to his own spell, but other friendly units are not. Also note that most enemy units will react to being hit by the spell by rushing at your Death Knight, which can be exploited to lure them into traps.
    • Whirlwind summons a long-lasting wind storm that deals continuous damage to any unit that touches it. It will only damage a building if its tip is directly over it. The spell is usually used to drive enemy units away from somewhere.
    • Raise Dead summons up to five Skeletons to serve you. There must be a suitable body available for each body raised: it will not work on those that are too fresh (but no Mana will be wasted if this is the case). Note that machines and certain other units do not leave behind bodies when they die.


Touch of Darkness
Basic attack (does not use Mana)

By enveloping their truncheons with the dark essence of Hel, the Death Knights are able to deplete vital energies from those they lash out against. Their ability to discharge this energy over short distances makes this a menacing attack. Although the effects of this spell are abhorrent to the living, the Touch of Darkness is a[sic] but a lesser enchantment within the arsenal of these vile horsemen.[2]

Death Coil
Powerful attack that heals back the caster (costs: 100 Mana, range: 10)

Death Coil is a particularly potent variation of the Touch of Darkness spell. By channeling the necromantic powers of the underworld through his ghoulish form, the Death Knight creates a field of dark energy that drains the life-force from any who come in contact with it. This life-force is then consumed - thereby replenishing the strength of one so enchanted, be he friend or foe. The icy embrace of death can be beneficial...for those who know how to control it.[2]

Upgrades target's movement speed (and attack rate if Dragon or Gryphon) (costs: 50 Mana, range: 6)

By magically increasing the speed at which a body generates vital energy, the caster may bestow great speed to any being. All actions taken by one so enchanted are swifter than a common adversary - an advantage that is evident on the battlefield. The effects of Haste can persist for but a short time.[2]

Unholy Armor
Damages the target unit but makes it invulnerable for a short time. Does not protect against Polymorph (costs: 200 Mana, range: 6)

This ancient Necromantic spell transforms a portion of the recipient's life force into an unearthly, phantasmal suit of armor. This spectral armor then absorbs the damage from any attack directed at its wearer for a limited amount of time. As the magiks that link this armor to its host cease, so will the invulnerability that it grants.[2]

Death and Decay
Ranged AoE damage (costs: 25 Mana, range: 12)

The aphotic, swirling clouds conjured by the Death Knights can cause anything within their path to rot and decompose. The vapor created by Decay can consume anything - flesh, bone, wood or even the strongest metal. Heavily laden with base substances, these clouds descend and quickly diffuse, leaving only suffering in their wake.[2]

Summons an uncontrollable but powerful whirlwind over an area (costs: 100 Mana, range: 12)

This focusing of the winds of the underworld causes any caught within to be cast about with great force and violence. Bones are easily shattered and mainsails are quickly snapped within the torrents of these fierce winds. The howl of these winds allow no commands to be issued to those trapped within the Whirlwind, rendering those unfortunates helpless until the magiks fade.[2]

Raise Dead
Summons the controllable skeletons of up to 5 dead units (costs: 50 Mana per Skeleton, range: 6; affects a very large area)

This dark magik is the final legacy of the Orc Necrolytes who were destroyed shortly after the First War. The Death Knight can animate corpses of the newly dead and then command these monstrosities to attack their enemies. This terrifying spell is the paramount power of the Death Knight as it serves to augment the Horde forces with vast armies of the Undead.[2]

Death Knight

A death knight from the Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual.


  • The death coil ability worked on players even if they had the invincibility cheat code active.
  • Death Knights are the only non-hero unit that has different stats than its Alliance counterpart; their basic attack has a range of 3, while the Mage's only has 2.


Patch changes[]

  • WC2BnE-logo Patch 2.02 (Unknown): Minor bug fix: Previously, if somebody else had allied with you, you could not cast death coil on them even if you were not allied with them.

See also[]