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This article is about the horse. For his mount version, see  [Invincible's Reins]. For the music piece, see Invincible (song).
Invincible
Image of Invincible
Gender Male
Race Horse (Undead)
Affiliation(s) Scourge
Former affiliation(s) Lordaeron
Occupation Steed of Arthas Menethil
Location Icecrown Citadel
Status Undead
Relative(s) Brightmane (mother)

Invincible was the steed of Arthas Menethil, both in life and death. He was the skeletal steed that Arthas rode throughout Warcraft III, though his name was first introduced in Wrath of the Lich King, and his backstory in the novel Arthas: Rise of the Lich King.

Biography

“I saw you being born. I helped you come into this world, and I helped you leave it... and now, by my hand, you are reborn.”

— Thoughts of Arthas Menethil[1]

Life

Invincible's open grave at the Balnir Farmstead.

Invincible was born to the mare Brightmane on the Balnir Farmstead in Tirisfal Glades, in the winter of the year Stormwind fell. At Jorum Balnir's invitation, Prince Arthas—then nine years old—assisted in the foal's birth.[2] The moment he met the foal's eyes, Arthas felt a bond between them and knew that the horse would become his mount and inseparable friend. Although he wasn't a warhorse, as those were a separate breed, he would bear Arthas in ceremony and daily life. The Balnir family, who bred horses used by the royal family, gave the horse to Arthas two years later. Arthas considered naming the horse "Snowfall" or "Starlight" because of his white coat, but in the informal tradition of Lordaeronian knights and nobles naming their steeds after a quality (Uther's was "Steadfast", King Terenas' "Courageous"), he named the colt "Invincible".[3]

One of the prince's favorite activities whenever he needed an escape from his royal duties was to go riding on Invincible through the Tirisfal countryside, and in particular to guide the horse in a leap over an embankment near the Balnir Farmstead.[4] Mount and rider were always completely in tune, with Invincible obeying Arthas' every command, and the prince often felt that the stallion flew rather than galloped.[5][6]

One winter afternoon ten years after Invincible's birth, a few months before Arthas was inducted into the Knights of the Silver Hand, the two went riding despite a growing snowstorm. When Arthas tried to guide the stallion over their favorite jump, Invincible lost his footing on some icy rocks and, instead of landing smoothly, fell and shattered his forelegs. Too far from help and unable to heal the stricken horse, Arthas was forced to kill him by stabbing him through the heart with his sword in order to relieve his pain. The stallion was buried on the grounds of the Balnir Farmstead at Arthas' request.[5] The guilt and trauma of Invincible's death left a deep impact on Arthas, who long viewed the incident as his only failure in life. He never revealed the truth of what had happened to anyone else and instead let them believe that it had been an accident.[7] He made a private vow to always protect others no matter what sacrifices were required[5] and to never again let himself be caught unawares and unable to help, which influenced several of the decisions he made later in life.[7]

Undeath

Arthas and Invincible in battle during the Third War.

Seven years later, the night after he landed in Northrend to pursue Mal'Ganis, Arthas had a dream of Invincible's fatal injury and of having to kill him again. This time, however, the prince found himself holding a very different sword. When he pulled it out of Invincible's body, the horse didn't die but was instead miraculously healed and made stronger than before. Arthas felt that the dream was a joyous omen.[8]

Arthas and Invincible in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.

After murdering his father, Arthas—now a death knight—ran directly from Capital City to Invincible's grave at the Balnir Farmstead. With the power of Frostmourne, Arthas resurrected the horse as his undead steed. He decided that Invincible's death seven years earlier had not been a mistake on his part, but rather an essential part of his destiny. He believed that the now undead horse was proof that he had never been wrong about anything in his life—if the stallion had been alive, he would've feared the death knight, but now the two could be reunited.[1][6] Although he hadn't been bred to be a warhorse, Invincible's resurrection made him immune to hunger, pain, and exhaustion, making him the perfect steed for Arthas.[6][9] Now fully living up to his name, he could move with unnatural swiftness[10] as well as become a spectre and disappear, to be resummoned by Arthas at any time.[11]

During the Scourge invasion of Quel'Thalas, Anasterian Sunstrider confronted Arthas in single combat, severing Invincible's forelegs with his runeblade, Felo'melorn, to dismount him. Witnessing Invincible's injuries brought on a surge of memories and sent Arthas into a rage, during which he shattered Felo'melorn and struck down Anasterian. This time, however, Arthas was able to necromantically repair the injuries.[9][12][13] At the start of the Plaguelands civil war, as Arthas' powers weakened and the Dreadlord Insurgents turned much of the Scourge against him, the death knight was relieved to find that he could still effortlessly summon Invincible. He felt certain that the stallion still loved him and was the one creature that would never turn against him—"the one thing he had done completely right".[11]

Invincible continued to serve as his master's mount even after Arthas became the new Lich King. The horse was known to stalk through Icecrown Citadel and fly on the winds around the spires.[6][14] Sindragosa has also been referred to as the Lich King's mount.[15]

Following Arthas' defeat, Invincible's saddle was lost beneath Icecrown. Years later, the Knights of the Ebon Blade retrieved the saddle and used it to create steeds for the Four Horsemen.[16]

In World of Warcraft

Invincible's grave

In World of Warcraft, Invincible's empty grave can be found at the Balnir Farmstead[78.6, 59.6] in Tirisfal Glades. A plaque on the headstone reads:

Invincible

INVINCIBLE

Beloved steed of Prince Arthas Menethil

Loyal and great of heart in life, may you find peace in death.

Pure streams and green pastures, devoted friend.

The grave was added to the game in patch 3.0.2 and was the first place to mention the name "Invincible", before the novel Arthas: Rise of the Lich King was released and expanded on the horse's backstory. The plaque is absent in the post-Battle for Lordaeron phase of the zone, apparently a developer oversight.

Invincible's Reins

Main article: Invincible's Reins

The Invincible Charger mount.

When defeated on heroic difficulty in 25-player mode, the Lich King has a small chance to drop Invincible as a flying mount.[6]

Appearance

At birth, Invincible's coat, mane, and tail were gray, but by the age of two they had turned white as snow. This was a rare color even among the Balnir-bred horses, who mostly had light gray coats.[3] His eyes in life were brown.[2][5]

The depictions of Invincible as an undead are noticeably inconsistent, with different sources portraying the horse's appearance in wildly different ways. His original look in Warcraft III: Classic is that of a partially skeletal horse with horns, identical to the mounts ridden by other Death Knight units in that game. Wrath of the Lich King's patch 3.3 introduced a new, unique design with the  [Invincible's Reins] mount: a flying undead steed with bat wings and larger portions of his skin and flesh still intact. Most subsequent depictions in World of Warcraft and other sources fluctuate between these two versions of his design.

Year Appearance Flesh Horns Wings Notes
2002 Warcraft III: Classic Yes Yes No First appearance. Depicted with most of his flesh intact, but with an exposed skull and tailbones.
2009 Arthas: Rise of the Lich King No No No The novel describes Invincible as purely skeletal with fiery red eyes and states that all his soft tissue had rotted away by the time Arthas raised him.[1]
2009 Invincible's Reins Yes No Yes The World of Warcraft mount.
2011 Trading Card Game Yes No Yes Same design as the mount.
2014 Blood of the Highborne No Yes No The novella calls Invincible "a rotting, skeletal, horned steed with blazing eyes and glowing hooves" and "an ebon, fiery-eyed steed".[13]
2018 Chronicle Volume 3 Yes No No Same design as the mount, but without wings.
2018 Warbringers: Sylvanas Yes No No Depicted with most of his flesh intact, but with an exposed skull.
2018 The First to Fall Yes No Yes Same model as the mount.
2020 Warcraft III: Reforged Yes Yes No Largely resembles his Warcraft III: Classic design, with most of his flesh intact but an exposed skull.
2020 Afterlives: Bastion No Yes No Only seen at a distance in a single shot, but seems to use the same design as the skeletal warhorse model introduced in Mists of Pandaria.
2021 I Intend to Live Forever Yes No Yes Same model as the mount.
2021 Hearthstone Yes No Yes Same design as the mount.
2022 What Makes Us Strong No Yes No Uses the skeletal warhorse model introduced in Mists of Pandaria.
2022 Sylvanas Yes No No The novel calls Invincible "a horse of bone and desiccated flesh" and later describes him as "mummified".[17]

Notes and trivia

  • Like Invincible, Anduin Wrynn's horse Reverence also comes from the Balnir Farmstead.[18]
  • A common joke concerning Invincible is to refer to the horse as if it were named 'invisible' due to the similarity of the words. The phrase is often "Why is it called Invincible if I can see it?".
  • Invincible is an ally card in the Assault on Icecrown Citadel Treasure set for the Trading Card Game.
  • One of the alternate skins for the Lich King in Hearthstone's Battlegrounds mode is Invincible Lich King, which depicts him riding the horse.
  • The horse is mentioned in one of Crown Prince Arthas' click quotes in Heroes of the Storm: "I once had a horse named Invincible. Turns out, he... wasn't."
  • As part of the CraftWars event—a crossover between Warcraft and StarCraft—in Heroes of the Storm, a zerg-horse hybrid known as the Invincilisk was added as a mount, matching the zerg-themed King of Blades skin for Arthas. The name "Invincilisk" is a portmanteau of Invincible's name and the suffix "-lisk", seen in the names of several zerg types in StarCraft. The Invincilisk's flavor text makes reference to the aforementioned invisible joke.

Gallery

Fanart

References

External links

Wrath of the Lich King Grave plaque Battle for Azeroth Grave plaque Unused NPC
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