For the World of Warcraft death knight ability, see [Death and Decay]. For the Pet Battle ability, see [Death and Decay].

Teron Gorefiend using Death and Decay on his Jailer.

Death and Decay is a signature spell of both the death knights of Warcraft II and the liches of Warcraft III. It is a necromancy spell.[1] The baleful energies of the spell cause anything caught inside to rot, decompose, and wither within seconds - even causing stone to blacken and crumble to dust. While Teron Gorefiend has possession of your body in Shadowmoon Valley you can cast this spell against his jailer Karsius the Ancient Watcher, and some mobs in Scourge-controlled areas such as Razorfen Downs utilize this spell.


Death and Decay in action.

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]

The swirling negative energies known as the Death And Decay spell are favored by the liches for their power to decompose, rot and destroy everything within them. Not even the strongest warriors or the most durable structures can stand the full effects of Death And Decay.[3]

Negative energy infuses the area in visible puffs. Living creatures age rapidly, as skin sags and flesh sloughs off bones. Structures wither and collapse, suffering the effects of decades within a few seconds. All living creatures and non-natural structures in the area take damage from the negative energy. Since undead are powered by negative energy, this spell cures them a like amount of damage.[4]

World of Warcraft

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

In-game, the spell is used by the mobs:

Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans

WarcraftAdventures-Logo.png This section concerns content related to the canceled game Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans and is therefore non-canon.

In the canceled Warcraft Adventures, Thrall used the Decay spell he learned from a death knight earlier in the game to destroy the thorny vines blocking access to Blackrock Spire. The spell had the exact same description as the one in the manual of Warcraft II and required the rotting carcass of a razor-rat as a reagent.


  • Death and Decay appears to be a variation of the Warlock spell Poison Cloud from Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. The Warlocks' Poison Cloud is a mix of the sickly stench of rotting corpses and the essence of evil, designed to decay and corrode all that it comes into contact with,[5] which serves a similar design/purpose as Death and Decay.
  • Death and Decay is one of Kel'Thuzad's basic abilities in Heroes of the Storm.