- This article is about the lore of the character. For his strategy in the Shadowlands encounter, see Kel'Thuzad (Sanctum of Domination tactics). For other encounter tactics and uses, see Kel'Thuzad (disambiguation).
Archlich / Arch-Lich,|
Lich Lord of the Plaguelands,
Lord of Naxxramas, Cult Master
|Race(s)||Lich, formerly human (Undead / Humanoid)|
|Class||Necromancer, Mage (formerly)|
|Former affiliation(s)||House of Rituals (Lichsworn), Cult of the Damned, Scourge, Kirin Tor (Council of Six), Magocracy of Dalaran, Alliance of Lordaeron|
|Occupation||Lieutenant of the Jailer|
|Former occupation(s)||Baron of the House of Rituals, majordomo of the Lich King, Archlich of Naxxramas, leader and founder of the Cult of the Damned, member of the Council of Six, Archmage of the Kirin Tor, Sorcerer|
Throne of the Damned (lore);|
|Mentor(s)||The Lich King|
|Student(s)||Helcular, Ras Frostwhisper, Bronjahm, Nelesis|
|Companion(s)||Mr. Bigglesworth (pet), Obrahiim (trusted adviser)|
“I was cast out by my comrades, exiled, forced to wander the frozen wastes. But I was not alone. Not entirely. The voice, now my only companion, guided me to my destination. Strange, nightmarish creatures awaited me at the entrance. I felt my blood run cold, as cold as Icecrown itself. Inside, I bore witness to horrific acts, demonstrations of power, power that could be mine for the asking. Terrified, I ran, but did not get far. All too soon, my choice was made. Too late did I realize that such power does not come without a price. Now, the world will pay a far greater toll, for I have returned. I am Kel'Thuzad. Your curiosity will be the death of you.”
- — Kel'Thuzad
Kel'Thuzad (pronounced /'kɛlθʔzɑːd/) was a powerful human mage, an archmage of the Kirin Tor, and member of the Council of Six until his interest in the dark arts caused him to be stripped of his rank and holdings, and exiled from Dalaran by the Grand Magus Antonidas. Driven by the voice in his head, he traveled to Northrend and climbed the Frozen Throne to offer his soul to the Lich King.
Now a necromancer of the Scourge, Kel'Thuzad returned to Lordaeron and founded in secret the Cult of the Damned, recruiting cultists among the nobility and the lower classes of the kingdoms with promises of immortality. Years later, he became one of the principal agents of the Lich King responsible for spreading the plague of undeath across Lordaeron, resulting in his death at the hands of the paladin and Prince Arthas Menethil. When Arthas became a death knight and started the Scourging of Lordaeron, he resurrected Kel'Thuzad as a lich with the power of the Sunwell, so he could summon Archimonde the Defiler into Azeroth during the Third War.
Following Arthas's departure for Northrend, and his ascension as the new Lich King, Kel'Thuzad was left to command the Scourge in Lordaeron from the floating necropolis of Naxxramas. After making a deal with the nathrezim Balnazzar, he trapped the Highlord of the Silver Hand Alexandros Mograine at Stratholme, and recovered his body to make him the leader of the Four Horsemen and his champion, before replacing him by his son Darion Mograine after the first battle for Light's Hope Chapel. For years he held control of the Plaguelands and fought against the forces of the Scarlet Crusade, the Argent Dawn, the Alliance and the Horde, until his first defeat at the hands of adventurers.
With the help of a traitor among the ranks of the Brotherhood of the Light, Kel'Thuzad managed to resurrect and recover his phylactery. During the war against the Lich King, he moved to Northrend with his necropolis to serve the Dark Lord of the Scourge, until he was once again defeated at the hands of the champions of Azeroth.
In death, Kel'Thuzad entered the afterlife of Maldraxxus where he was approached by Sire Denathrius and soon rose to a position of power within the House of Rituals, a position he used to plunge Maldraxxus into chaos in order to further the efforts of his new master, Zovaal the Jailer, across the Shadowlands. After his machinations were revealed, the archlich escaped to his master's side in the Sanctum of Domination, where he was destroyed for good in a final confrontation with Azeroth's heroes.
Kel'Thuzad is one of the most iconic antagonists in the Warcraft franchise. He first appeared in Warcraft III as a hero in the undead campaigns. He appeared in World of Warcraft as the final encounter of Naxxramas, implemented in patch 1.11 and retuned for level 80 in patch 3.0, and returned as a secondary antagonist in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. He also makes appearances in Old Hillsbrad Foothills and the Plains of Nasam. Kel'Thuzad appears as a central character in the Hearthstone sets Curse of Naxxramas and Scholomance Academy, and he is a playable character in Heroes of the Storm.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Locations
- 3 Abilities
- 4 Quests
- 5 Quotes
- 6 In the RPG
- 7 Alternate timeline
- 8 In Hearthstone
- 9 Notes and trivia
- 10 Gallery
- 11 Videos
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
The Kirin Tor
Before the Second War, Kel'Thuzad was a member of the Council of Six, the high council of the Kirin Tor — the masters of Dalaran. Of the Kirin Tor's leaders, Kel'Thuzad was the most eager to gain access to the Guardian's Library — the depository of knowledge hoarded by Medivh in his tower of Karazhan - and thus he was most upset when the library was lost. After Medivh's death, Kel'Thuzad and the other senior members of the Kirin Tor questioned Medivh's apprentice, Khadgar, about what happened; Kel'Thuzad seemed particularly interested in discovering more about the mysterious Order of Tirisfal, which — as he pointed out to Antonidas, the leader of the Kirin Tor — was relevant when discussing Medivh.
Kel'Thuzad witnessed the death knights of the Horde during their raid on Dalaran before the Invasion of Draenor and became even more interested in necromancy after seeing what its power was capable of.
Call of the Lich King
“As my lieutenant, you will gain knowledge and magic to surpass your most ambitious dreams. But in return, living or dead, you will serve me for the rest of your days. If you betray me, I shall make you into one of my mindless ones, and you will serve me still.”
- — The Lich King's threat and promise of power
A handful of powerful individuals, scattered across the world, heard the Lich King's mental summons from Northrend. Kel'Thuzad was the most notable of them, and the first to answer the Lich King’s call. Long considering him above the scriptures of his peers, Kel'Thuzad had been considered a maverick for years due to his insistence on studying the forbidden arts of necromancy. Driven to learn all he could of the magical world and its shadowy wonders, he was frustrated by what he saw as his peers' outmoded and unimaginative precepts. Upon hearing the powerful summons from Northrend, the archmage bent all of his considerable will to communing with the mysterious voice. Convinced that the Kirin Tor was too squeamish to seize the power and knowledge inherent in the dark arts, he vowed to learn what he could from the immensely powerful being named the Lich King.
Approximately five years before the Third War, Antonidas learned that Kel'Thuzad had been experimenting with necromancy by reanimating dead rats. Fearing for the safety and reputation of Dalaran, Antonidas had Kel'Thuzad's properties searched, and all items tainted by dark magic were confiscated and destroyed. Antonidas warned Kel'Thuzad that he would be stripped of his rank and holdings, and exiled from both Dalaran and Lordaeron, if he did not abandon his "madness". Leaving behind his fortune and prestigious political standing, Kel'Thuzad abandoned the ways of the Kirin Tor and left Dalaran forever. Prodded by the Lich King's persistent voice in his mind, he sold his vast holdings and stored away his fortunes. Traveling alone over many leagues of both land and sea, he finally reached the frozen shores of Northrend. Intent on reaching Icecrown and offering his services to the Lich King, the archmage passed through the ravaged, war-torn ruins of Azjol-Nerub. Kel'Thuzad saw firsthand the scope and ferocity of Ner'zhul's power. He began to believe that allying himself with the mysterious Lich King would not only be wise, but potentially fruitful.
Kel'Thuzad met with Anub'arak, who told him of all the power he could wield. Frightened by the horrors that he saw in Naxxramas, Kel'Thuzad teleported out and tried to escape. Unfortunately, he was surrounded by wraiths and was brought back inside.
After long months of trekking through the harsh arctic wastelands, Kel'Thuzad finally reached the dark glacier of Icecrown. He boldly approached Ner'zhul's dark citadel and was shocked when the silent undead guardsmen let him pass as though he was expected. Kel'Thuzad descended deep into the cold earth and found his way down to the bottom of the glacier. Within the endless cavern of ice and shadows, he prostrated himself before the Frozen Throne and offered his soul to the dark lord of the dead. The Lich King was pleased with his latest conscript. He promised Kel'Thuzad immortality and great power in exchange for his loyalty and obedience. Kel'Thuzad, eager for dark knowledge and power, accepted his first great mission: to go into the world of men and found a new religion that would worship the Lich King as a god.
To help the archmage accomplish his mission, Ner'zhul left Kel'Thuzad's humanity intact. The aged, yet still charismatic wizard was charged with using his powers of illusion and persuasion to lull the downtrodden, disenfranchised masses of Lordaeron into his confidence. Once he had their attention, he would offer them a new vision of what society could be — and a new figurehead to call their king.
Cult of the Damned
Kel'Thuzad returned to Lordaeron in disguise and in the floating dread citadel Naxxramas, and over the span of three years, he used his fortune and intellect to gather a clandestine brotherhood of like-minded men and women. The brotherhood, which he called the Cult of the Damned, promised its acolytes social equality and eternal life on Azeroth in exchange for their service and obedience to Ner'zhul. As the months passed, Kel'Thuzad found many eager volunteers for his new cult amongst the tired, overburdened laborers of Lordaeron. Surprisingly, Kel'Thuzad's goal to pervert the citizens' faith in the Holy Light towards belief in Ner'zhul's dark shadow was easily attained. As the Cult of the Damned grew in size and influence, Kel'Thuzad made sure to keep its workings secret from the authorities of Lordaeron at every turn.
Compendium of the Fallen
With Kel'Thuzad's success in Lordaeron, the Lich King made the final preparations for his assault against human civilization. Placing his plague energies into a number of portable artifacts called plague cauldrons, Ner'zhul ordered Kel'Thuzad to transport the cauldrons to Lordaeron where they would be hidden within various cult-controlled villages. The cauldrons, protected by the loyal cultists, would then act as plague generators by sending the plague seeping out across the unsuspecting farmlands and cities of northern Lordaeron.
The Lich King's plan worked perfectly. Many of Lordaeron's northern villages were contaminated almost immediately. Just as in Northrend, the citizens who contracted the plague died and arose as the Lich King's willing slaves. The cultists under Kel'Thuzad were eager to die and be raised again in their dark lord's service. They exulted in the prospect of immortality through undeath. As the plague spread, more and more feral zombies arose in the northlands. Kel'Thuzad looked upon the Lich King's growing army and named it the Scourge — for soon, it would march upon the gates of Lordaeron and scour humanity from the face of the world.
Scourge of Lordaeron
Kel'Thuzad, upon the Lich King's instruction, oversaw the infection of the small town of Brill where he was discovered by Jaina Proudmoore and Prince Arthas. From there he quickly fled and they followed him back to Andorhal, where he told Arthas of Mal'Ganis in Stratholme. Enraged, Arthas hunted Kel'Thuzad down and killed him, but not before Kel'Thuzad told him his death would mean little. But they were not finished yet.
After Arthas had traveled to Northrend, and slain Mal'Ganis with Frostmourne, he returned to Lordaeron and betrayed his kingdom and became a servant of the Lich King. Kel'Thuzad began to appear to him as a ghostly apparition after his protector, Gavinrad the Dire, was slain by Arthas and Kel'Thuzad's remains were reclaimed. He appeared only to Arthas, and told him that he was not to trust the dreadlords, explaining to Arthas that they were the Lich King's jailors, and promised to explain all of the Lich King's plans to Arthas once he walked the earth again in Quel'Thalas.
Kel'Thuzad watched over Arthas as he made the slow procession to the Sunwell in Silvermoon against the stratagems of Sylvanas Windrunner. Eventually, Arthas ravaged his way through the two Elfgates and finally laid siege to Silvermoon itself, breaching through to the fabled Sunwell. Arthas placed Kel'Thuzad's remains within the well, and with the help of Tichondrius, Kel'Thuzad was reborn into the terrifying form of a lich.
As they traveled to Alterac, Kel'Thuzad explained that the Scourge was merely the harbinger of the Burning Legion, and that he would summon the first of the demons, the eredar warlock Archimonde to the mortal world. After slaying the orcs guarding the Demon Gate, Kel'Thuzad communed with the dark lord who told him that he must go to Dalaran and steal the Book of Medivh.
After Arthas led the attack on Dalaran and killed Antonidas, the book was retrieved and Kel'Thuzad began the lengthy summoning process, with Arthas defending him from the many attacks of Dalaran and the Kirin Tor. When all was complete, Archimonde stepped through the portal and was free to act according to his plans. His first act was to promote Tichondrius to the leader of the Scourge, rendering Arthas and Kel'Thuzad of little use. However, Kel'Thuzad was confident in the Lich King's grand design and disappeared amidst the chaos of Dalaran's destruction. He told Arthas the final part of the Lich King's plan, then teleported him to Kalimdor.
Kel'Thuzad resurfaced as the Legion raked across the Plaguelands, and in the aftermath of the invasion, he remained in the Capital City as one of the Lich King's lieutenants. Arthas had gone to Kalimdor on Ner'zhul's command to find the rogue demon hunter, Illidan, leaving only Kel'Thuzad and the banshee Sylvanas Windrunner remaining in his stead. However, both knew that the Legion was defeated long before the dreadlords who remained in Lordaeron did.
Arthas returned in a fury and chased the dreadlords out of the capital, and Kel'Thuzad was relieved to see him. With the Legion's generals gone, they turned to the human villages who were escaping to the mountain passes. Kel'Thuzad thought that perhaps they would be a fitting sacrifice to the Lich King and led his necromancers into battle against the paladin Magroth the Defender and his men protecting the human refugees. But as they cut a swath through the human forces, Arthas suffered some violent seizures, and Kel'Thuzad considered recalling their forces, but the King forbade it, and they continued on their macabre mission. In the aftermath, Arthas received a vision from Ner'zhul, who told him to return to Northrend. Kel'Thuzad immediately prepared for his departure, but they were abruptly ambushed by the dreadlords, and separated. The dreadlords unleashed their forces against Arthas, but Kel'Thuzad found his own way out of the city.
Kel'Thuzad later came upon Arthas in the clutches of Sylvanas and her wicked banshees. She was about to strike when Kel'Thuzad unleashed his forces against her and her sisters. With the banshees dead, Sylvanas was forced to retreat. Kel'Thuzad escorted Arthas to the shore, where he had prepared a fleet of ships for his departure. Arthas asked Kel'Thuzad, as his most loyal servant and trusted friend, to remain in Lordaeron and ensure that his legacy endured. Kel'Thuzad swore on what was left of his life to carry out that mission at any cost. While Sylvanas and her Forsaken claimed the Tirisfal Glades, Kel'Thuzad returned to the Eastern Plaguelands, which he ruled from the flying necropolis Naxxramas.
At some point, Kel'Thuzad created the Four Horsemen, extremely powerful elite death knights of the Scourge created to serve as his royal guard. Sapphiron also joined the citadel to guard Kel'Thuzad's chamber. In Naxxramas, Kel'Thuzad appointed Razuvious as the trainer of death knights.
After being manipulated by Saidan Dathrohan (who was possessed by the dreadlord Balnazzar), Renault Mograine betrayed and murdered his father, Alexandros Mograine. Renault slew his father using the Ashbringer - an act of evil that corrupted the sword. Collecting the body and blade, Kel'Thuzad transformed Alexandros into a death knight - the leader of his Four Horsemen.
With assistance from members of the Argent Dawn, Renault's younger brother Darion managed to infiltrate Naxxramas and defeat his undead father. He then fled the necropolis with the Ashbringer. After conferring with Tirion Fordring, Darion learned that his father's soul was trapped in the sword and that only a great act of love could set it free.
When Kel'Thuzad staged an attack on Light's Hope Chapel, Darion ran the Ashbringer through his own heart - sacrificing his life to release his father's soul. An explosion of light destroyed most of the lesser Scourge, but Kel'Thuzad was unaffected. He reanimated Darion as a death knight. While his primary goal had eluded him, he was content to take Darion as his prize, reasoning that the Scourge could always return to Light's Hope.
Shadow of the Necropolis
In the Lich King's haste to spread the plague of undeath over Azeroth, he gifted Kel'Thuzad, with the flying citadel of Naxxramas, a horrific base of operations for the Scourge. Consistent attacks from the Scarlet Crusade and Argent Dawn factions weakened the defenses of the floating fortress, enabling an incursion that led to Kel'Thuzad's defeat.
During the first Scourge Invasion, the Scourge attacked Stormwind City, which later led to an Alliance counterattack. Bolvar Fordragon recruited Alliance heroes who raided Naxxramas and defeated Kel'Thuzad.
Kel'Thuzad was the last encounter of the dungeon Naxxramas, implemented in the patch 1.11, and was the end game boss of the original game of World of Warcraft. He was ultimately defeated by the players, but does not die. As a lich, he may reform using a magic item known as a phylactery. Had Kel'Thuzad's phylactery been destroyed along with him, Kel'Thuzad would have been defeated forever, but some things do not happen as they should.
The quest describes how the player, who likely wanted to destroy the phylactery, is manipulated by some mental force to give the phylactery to Father Inigo Montoy in Light's Hope Chapel. Something very unusual was going on there, and the Argent Dawn reported that the phylactery did not reach their hands. A traitor among the ranks of the knightly order of the Argent Dawn absconded with Kel'Thuzad's cursed remains and fled to Northrend, where the fallen lich could be reanimated.
Caverns of Time
This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.
Wrath of the Lich King
Commander Eligor Dawnbringer: "The lich, Kel'Thuzad. He serves the Lich King without question, a necromancer of great prowess in life, turned into a master of necromancy after his death. It is said he is the most loyal of the Lich King's subjects. Kel'Thuzad has survived trials that would have long since shattered the souls of even the greatest of the Brotherhood. He readily gave his life at Arthas's hand, later to be brought back - reborn in the power of the Sunwell. In the Plaguelands, Kel'Thuzad was again defeated by the agents of the Argent Dawn. However, his phylactery was delivered to a false agent of the Brotherhood. We have yet to discover who stole his phylactery or why."
Kel'Thuzad once again returned as the final boss of the relocated Naxxramas — now floating above the Carrion Fields in the Dragonblight, besieging Wintergarde Keep. When the phylactery was given to Father Montoy, it was not delivered to the Argent Dawn; his hoarding of the artifact (instead of destroying it or giving it to the Argent Dawn) allowed Kel'Thuzad to regain corporeal form. (Montoy appears to have been rewarded for this effort as he is now a lich himself — known as Thel'zan the Duskbringer — and located within the Wintergarde Mausoleum below Wintergarde Keep, which is currently under siege by Naxxramas.)
In the quest , Horde players are sent to the Plains of Nasam in a siege tank to destroy Scourge forces in the area and rescue injured Warsong Hold troops. They are also called on to identify the leader of the Scourge in the region — Kel'Thuzad himself, who stands upon a dais and is surrounded by Stitched Warsong Horrors, Plague Spreaders, and other Scourge constructs.
In Naxxramas, Kel'Thuzad appointed Baron Rivendare to replace Alexandros as the fourth Horseman. In a manner very similar to how he was originally defeated, the champions of Azeroth stormed the dread citadel and defeated the lich lord once again.
Kel'Thuzad did not have his phylactery on his person during his second defeat, but it was nevertheless destroyed at some point. After his defeat, rumors quickly spread that his soul was lost to the Shadowlands.
Within the Shadowlands, the Arbiter assigned Kel'Thuzad's soul to the realm of Maldraxxus due to the great ambition he displayed in mortality. However, the broker Ta'lora notes that given Kel'Thuzad's importance to the schemes of the Jailer, it is possible that the Arbiter's judgment was somehow manipulated. It's unclear exactly when Kel'Thuzad started working for the Jailer, but Ta'lora notes that it is plausible that the Jailer was able to peer into the mortal plane and came to see Kel'Thuzad as a means to extend his influence on Azeroth back when he was still a living necromancer. Kel'Thuzad himself later claimed that he had only pretended to serve "false masters" and that he had actually been working to architect Azeroth's end all along. In reality, it was Sire Denathrius who reached to Kel'Thuzad after his ultimate defeat during the War against the Lich King, recruited him to Zovaal's side and supplied him with anima to aid the cause.
Upon arriving among the necrolords of Maldraxxus, Kel'Thuzad joined the House of Rituals and rose through the house's ranks at a record pace due to his talent in necromancy and due to secretly receiving stores of anima from fellow servants of the Jailer in Revendreth. He soon became one of the two barons serving under Margrave Sin'dane (the other being Baroness Ninadar). He took the place of Baron Balmedar, whom he then also shut out of the house's dealings. Kel'Thuzad subsequently used his position and influence over Sin'dane, along with Margrave Gharmal of the House of Constructs, to begin turning the houses of Maldraxxus against each other through treachery and deceit in order to further the plans of the Jailer.
Through his manipulation of Sin'dane and Gharmal, Kel'Thuzad caused the destruction of the House of Plagues in what looked like an accident. Not long thereafter, he orchestrated the downfall of the House of Eyes—specifically the destruction of their necropolis Nurakkir and the death of their leader Margrave Akarek—through his servants in the House of Rituals, namely the liches Mor'Bitan, Zelmany, Drava'ora, and Fal'zinge. The baron then convinced Sin'dane and Gharmal to launch a joint invasion of the Temple of Courage in Bastion. The invasion's leader, the lich Nalthor the Rimebinder, stated that his "master" had ordered him to destroy Bastion and harvest the corpses of its kyrian inhabitants for the Maldraxxi armies, but it's not clear if he was referring to Sin'dane or Kel'Thuzad. Via his servant Lady Ouix'Ara, Kel'Thuzad also continued securing anima from Revendreth, now not just for himself but for all of the House of Rituals and House of Constructs. More specifically, the venthyr Tithelord supplied Lady Ouix'Ara and her fellow Kel'Thuzad loyalists at Death's End with anima from Sire Denathrius' stockpiles in return for Maldraxxian weapons.
Shortly after the Maw Walkers arrived in Maldraxxus, Kel'Thuzad told Mor'Bitan to personally perform a ritual at the Rotting Mound that would apparently grant him more power as a reward for his assault on the House of Eyes, but the ritual was sabotaged and Mor'Bitan was killed by Baroness Vashj and the Maw Walkers.
Sire Denathrius later gave Kel'Thuzad—whom he called a "faithful ally"—the Medallion of Dominion, which had previously belonged to Prince Renathal. This medallion would allow the baron to take control of countless venthyr and, with enough anima, even manipulate the very fabric of the Shadowlands.
With the aid of Maw Walkers, Baroness Draka of the Necrolord Covenant and the soul of Kael'thas Sunstrider ultimately discovered Lady Ouix'Ara's operation at Death's End and that Kel'Thuzad was the one responsible for the unrest in Maldraxxus. After Ouix'Ara was killed, an image of Kel'Thuzad appeared to taunt the "meddlers" and invite them to face him in the House of Rituals. Prince Renathal and Baroness Draka proceeded to work together with Maw Walkers to stop the traitorous Tithelord at his manor. Kel'Thuzad personally appeared during the battle, supplying the Tithelord with Maldraxxi troops. However, when the Tithelord told the Arch-Lich to use the Medallion of Dominion to help him defeat the invaders, Kel'Thuzad refused and instead left the Tithelord to die, stating that the venthyr had served his purpose and that he needed to attend to "the next part of the plan".
Members of the House of Constructs later returned to Maldraxxus with spoils from their raid on Bastion, including Kel'Thuzad's "personal prize"—the kyrian Bearer Thedrin. Along with the Revendreth anima, the baron planned to use the Bearer in a ritual to breach his master's prison: the Maw. Meanwhile, the deposed baron Balmedar allied with the Necrolord Covenant and helped Necrolord Maw Walkers infiltrate the House of Rituals by killing and taking on the appearance of Kel'Thuzad's favorite acolyte, Nelesis, which would allow them to learn the Arch-Lich's intentions. Balmedar's invisible oculus continued accompanying the Maw Walkers as they reported to Kel'Thuzad in the Vault of Souls. The Arch-Lich sent his "acolyte" to collect a set of tomes he'd ordered from Baroness Ninadar followed by some ritual reagents from Jor'dan the Powerful. Balmedar had the Maw Walkers bring the ingredients to him instead, but not before the heroes learned from Jor'dan that Kel'Thuzad was awaiting a broker shipment from Oribos containing the last of the reagents. After ambushing the Cartel Ba shipment, the Maw Walkers recovered the reagent in question: a Domination Blade from the Maw. This caused Balmedar to realize what Kel'Thuzad was planning, but since the baron was too powerful to confront directly, the Maw Walkers would instead have to stop his ritual by returning with the now sabotaged reagents. Kel'Thuzad had begun to suspect that there was a traitor in the house's ranks after what happened to the broker caravan, but he was impressed by his "acolyte's" resourcefulness when she presented the Domination Blade to him and asked her to assist him in the final ritual. The sabotaged reagents did cause the ritual to fail when the baron attempted to sacrifice Bearer Thedrin with the Domination Blade, but they also triggered a burst of feedback that shed the heroes' disguise and revealed Balmedar's oculus. Realizing that he had been deceived, Kel'Thuzad had both Balmedar and the heroes captured and imprisoned in the Vault of Souls.
Balmedar and the heroes managed to escape, but before they had a chance to warn Sin'dane of her baron's treachery, Kel'Thuzad personally confronted her and Baroness Ninadar at the entrance to the Hall of Sorcery. Sin'dane told Kel'Thuzad that he could not match her power, but Ninadar suddenly betrayed the margrave by stealing her weapon, the Staff of the Primus, while stating that she was weak and that it was time to anoint a new margrave. Kel'Thuzad proceeded to bind Sin'dane in magical chains and mockingly asked Balmedar and the Maw Walkers if they had come to celebrate his victory. He then summoned his old ally, the dragon Sapphiron, to deal with the interlopers while he departed to the necropolis Exoramas with the captive Sin'dane. With Ninadar's backing, Kel'Thuzad thus took full control of the House of Rituals.
After mustering their respective forces, the Necrolord and Venthyr Covenants assaulted the House of Rituals to remove Kel'Thuzad's influence. The Arch-Lich's image taunted both of the invading parties—the former attacking the stronghold's southern walls, the latter teleporting into Exoramas—but the covenants managed to separately reach the Prime Arcanum in the house's center, where Kel'Thuzad and his minions successfully performed a ritual to open a portal to the Maw, summoning a Maw Infernous. Together, the two covenants defeated the creature and pushed on to Exoramas, where Kel'Thuzad was keeping Sin'dane trapped in a block of ice and drawing power from her. The Arch-Lich mocked the gathering, especially Kael'thas, who sought vengeance against the lich for his part in the destruction of Kael's homeland years before. Baroness Draka told Kel'Thuzad to surrender or be destroyed, but he merely replied that the Jailer's plan was unfolding "exactly as intended" and that they would not live to see its completion. Most of the attackers spread out to hold off the lich's skeletal minions while the Maw Walkers focused on weakening the traitorous baron himself so that Balmedar could free Sin'dane with the Staff of the Primus. When he placed the staff in her hand, it allowed her to shatter her icy prison, stunning Kel'Thuzad in the process. She declared that he would answer for his crimes against both Maldraxxus and her. Kael'thas wanted to claim his vengeance by incinerating the lich, but General Draven intervened to grab the Medallion of Dominion from the lich's chest. Before the covenants had a chance to detain the lich, a group of Mawsworn arrived through a portal from the Maw and helped the lich escape to his master's side.
Chains of Domination
The Maw Walkers and their allies later assaulted the Sanctum of Domination, while the Jailer began enacting his plan to steal the final key from the Arbiter. The heroes fought their way through his minions, eventually confronting Kel'Thuzad at the apex of the soul river. With all his schemes and manipulations coming to a head, Kel'Thuzad vowed that death would answer to nobody but him, and that he would have his vengeance on the mortal champions who foiled all his plans. During the ensuing battle, the Maw Walkers destroyed Kel'Thuzad's phylactery. With true death finally approaching the lich, Kel'Thuzad unleashed his full power and the armies of the dead in a final stand. After futilely attempting to trade "unimaginable power" in exchange for his continued existence, Kel'Thuzad would be struck down for the last time, his dying words expressing his disbelief that death did not answer to him. The remains of his power were used by Bolvar Fordragon to open a gateway to the Pinnacle of Domination.
|Location||Level range||Health range|
|Old Hillsbrad Foothills||55||2,555|
- Death and Decay — Inflicts Shadow damage on impact and leaves behind a necromantic pool that inflicts Shadow damage every 1 sec as long as enemies remain within it.
- Frost Blast — Conjures a frost orb and hurls it at an enemy, Inflicting Frost damage and rooting targets it collides with for 6 sec.
- Glacial Spike — Summons a Glacial Spike at the enemy's destination, inflicting Frost damage to enemies within 6 yards and knocking them back. Once summoned, the Glacial Spike will death grip enemies greater than 10 yards away before it explodes, inflicting Frost damage to enemies within 7 yards.
- Soul Fissure — The ground under the current enemy target explodes, inflicting Shadow damage to enemies within the impact.
- Sanctum of Domination
- Main article: Kel'Thuzad (Sanctum of Domination tactics)
- Objective of
- For unit quotes, see Quotes of Warcraft III/Undead Scourge#Kel'Thuzad.
- "We have been discovered, my brothers! Flee and continue with the operation!
- "I'm sorry I can't stay and chat, but...duty calls."
- "Hello again children. I am Kel'Thuzad and I've come to deliver a warning. Leave well enough alone. Your curiosity will be the death of you."
- "Naive fool. My death will make little difference in the long run. For, now, the scourging of this land... begins."
- "Tell him nothing! Only you can hear me. The dreadlords cannot be trusted. They are the Lich King's jailors! I will tell you all...when I walk this earth again."
- "I am reborn, as promised! The Lich King has granted me eternal life!"
- Arthas: So. You're not upset about me killing you that one time?
- Kel'Thuzad: Don't be foolish. The Lich King told me how our encounter would end.
- Arthas: The Lich King knew that I would kill you?
- Kel'Thuzad: Of course. He chose you to be his champion long before the Scourge even began.
- Arthas: If he's so all-knowing, then how can the Dreadlords control him like they do?
- Kel'Thuzad: They are agents of the ones who created our master: The fiery lords of the Burning Legion.
- Arthas: What is this Legion?
- Kel'Thuzad: It is a vast, demonic army that has consumed countless worlds beyond our own. Now, it comes to set this world to the flame. Our master was created to pave the way for its arrival. The dreadlords were sent to make sure that he succeeded.
- Arthas: So the plague in Lordaeron, the citadels of Northrend, the slaughtering of the elves... It was all just to prepare for some huge demonic invasion?
- Kel'Thuzad: Yes. In time, you will find that our entire history has been shaped by the coming conflict. Now come; we have much work to do.
- Kel'Thuzad: I call upon thee, Archimonde! Your humble servant seeks an audience!
- Archimonde: You called my name, puny lich, and I have come. You are Kel'Thuzad, are you not?
- Kel'Thuzad: Yes, great one. I am the summoner.
- Archimonde: Very well, then. There is a special tome you must find... the only remaining spellbook of Medivh, the Last Guardian. Only his lost incantations are powerful enough to bring me into your world.
- Kel'Thuzad: Where should we search for it, great one?
- Archimonde: Seek out the mortal city of Dalaran. It is that the tome is kept. At twilight, three days from now, you will begin the summoning.
- Arthas: The circle of power has been prepared per your instructions, lich. Are you ready to begin the summoning?
- Kel'Thuzad: Nearly. I've been reading through Medivh's spellbook. His knowledge on demons alone is staggering. I suspect that he was far more powerful than anyone ever realized.
- Tichondrius: Not powerful enough to escape death, that is for certain. Suffice to say, the work he began, we will finish... today. Let the summoning commence!
- Kel'Thuzad: Come forth, Lord Archimonde! Enter this world and let us bask in your power!
- The center begins to burn, and several flames around it shoot up as Archimonde appears.
- Archimonde: Tremble, mortals, and despair! Doom has come to this world!
- Archimonde turns around, facing Kel'Thuzad.
- Archimonde: You have done well, little lich. My plan worked perfectly.
- Another green teleportation effect appears close to the center, and Tichondrius appears.
- Tichondrius: Lord Archimonde, all the preparations have been made.
- Archimonde: Very well, Tichondrius. Since the Lich King is of no further use to me, you dreadlords will now command the Scourge.
- Tichondrius: As you wish, Lord Archimonde.
- Archimonde: Soon, I will order the invasion to begin. But first, I will make an example of these paltry wizards... by crushing their city into the ashes of history.
- Archimonde makes a flash of magic with his hand, as if to emphasize his point, and runs away. Tichondrius follows him.
- Arthas: This has got to be a joke! What happens to us now?
- Kel'Thuzad: Be patient, young death knight. The Lich King foresaw this as well. You may yet have a part to play in his grand design.
- Kel'Thuzad: Back, you mindless ones! You shall not fall today, my king.
- Kel'Thuzad and his magi destroy Sylvanas's banshees.
- Sylvanas Windrunner: This isn't over, Arthas! I'll never stop hunting you!
- Kel'Thuzad leads Arthas to the shore.
- Kel'Thuzad: The effects of her arrow will wear off in time. All the preparations for your journey to Northrend have been made.
- King Arthas: You have been a loyal friend, Kel'Thuzad. I don't know what the future holds, or if I'll even return, but I want you to watch over this land. See to it that my legacy endures.
- Kel'Thuzad: I shall, King Arthas, I shall.
Road to Damnation
- "Peasants remember the Second War just as well as we do. Say what you like about the orcs; their warlocks wielded great power. Power against which we had precious little defense. We have an obligation: we must learn to wield and counter these magics ourselves."
- "We've been called heretics for centuries. The church has never been fond of our methods. Such sentiments notwithstanding, we are still here."
World of Warcraft
- Main article: Shadow of the Necropolis trailer#Transcript
- Main article: Maexxna (Classic)#Quotes
- Main article: Thaddius (Classic)#Quotes
- Main article: Loatheb (Classic)#Quotes
- Main article: Four Horsemen (Classic)#Quotes
- Main article: Sapphiron (Classic)#Quotes
- Main article: Kel'Thuzad (Classic)#Quotes
The Burning Crusade
This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.
Conversation with Helcular
Kel'Thuzad appears in human form along with Helcular in the Old Hillsbrad Foothills wing of the Caverns of Time. He patrols between the main road through Hillsbrad and Southshore. At some point he stops and converses with Helcular:
- Kel'Thuzad says: Keep your voice down, Helcular. Strangers abound...
- Helcular nods.
- Helcular says: So you can teach me this...this...
- Kel'Thuzad says: Necromancy. It is called necromancy. And yes, I have it within my power to bless you with this gift.
- Helcular says: And the Kirin Tor? What have they to say of necromancy?
- Kel'Thuzad says: That is none of your concern, Helcular, as you are neither Kirin Tor nor a necromancer.
- Kel'Thuzad says: But to be perfectly frank, I do not give a damn what the Kirin Tor think! They are fools, set in their archaic ways.
- Helcular says: Then teach me, Kel'Thuzad. Teach me everything you know...
- Kel'Thuzad nods.
- Kel'Thuzad says: In due time, Helcular... All in due time...
- If the pair encounter the Captured Critter that has been killed by the children Sally Whitemane and Renault Mograine then Kel'Thuzad continues.
- Kel'Thuzad says: Come, Helcular, let me give you a small taste...
- Kel'Thuzad utters some unintelligible words.
- The critter is brought back to life.
- Kel'Thuzad says: Now do you see, Helcular? Do you doubt the power? I control life!
- Kel'Thuzad says: And death...
- The critter dies again.
- Kel'Thuzad says: I'm still working out some minor details...
He is still seen wearing the robes of the Kirin Tor, but due to the nature of the conversation, it is presumed that he has already joined the Lich King, or was in the process of doing so.
Wrath of the Lich King
- Main article: Maexxna#Quotes
- Main article: Thaddius#Quotes
- Main article: Loatheb#Quotes
- Main article: Four Horsemen (tactics)#Quotes
- Main article: Sapphiron (tactics)#Quotes
- Main article: Kel'Thuzad (tactics)#Quotes
- Periodically at the Plains of Nasam
- Kel'Thuzad cackles maniacally.
- Main article: It's Treason, Then#Notes
- Main article: The Tithelord (quest)#Notes
- Main article: The Baron's Plan#Notes
- Main article: Designed to Fail#Notes
- Main article: Caught in the Act#Notes
- Main article: The Traitor Unmasked#Notes
- Main articles: The Medallion of Dominion#Notes, The Third Fall of Kel'Thuzad#Notes
- Well, what is it?
- You had better not be wasting my time.
- You may now address your master.
- Here, kitty, kitty!
- All proceeds according to plan.
- Death's victory draws nigh.
- Obey the will of Kel'Thuzad.
- Vault of Souls, while the player is wearing Illusory Guise
- Prepare well, Nelesis, for the hour of our triumph is soon at hand.
- If the player has a melee weapon equipped
- That is certainly an interesting armament you carry, acolyte.
- I trust you're not contemplating a change in vocation?
- "Enjoy! ... or I will FREEZE THE BLOOD IN YOUR VEINS."
- "Minions, servants, soldiers of the cold dark... Obey the call of Kel'Thuzad!" 
In the RPG
He is perhaps the second most powerful undead entity in the world. Kel'Thuzad called Linnena Hallow to be by his side as he sowed the undead plague through Stratholme. The Rod of Undead Mastery was given to Sylvanas Windrunner by Kel'Thuzad to aid her in her duties when she was part of the Scourge.
- Kel'Thuzad is the primary antagonist, narrator and final boss of the Curse of Naxxramas adventure in Hearthstone. Defeating every boss in the adventure, including the lich himself, awards him as a legendary card. His flavor text reads: "Kel'Thuzad could not resist the call of the Lich King. Even when it's just a robo-call extolling the Lich King's virtues."
- Kel'Thuzad's living self appears in the Scholomance Academy expansion, as a legendary neutral minion known as Headmaster Kel'Thuzad. In this expansion, he runs Scholomance as the headmaster of the school alongside the dungeon's bosses as faculty members. His flavor text reads: "You wish to know my secrets, hmm? I carry a little bits of tuna in the sleeves of my robe, he loves that. Oh, you meant the risen dead? That was trivial, trivial."
- Before the expansion's release, Kel'Thuzad was purchasable as a promotional mage hero. His flavor text reads: From Archmage to Archlich, Kel'Thuzad defies convention. Conventions like, "staying alive" or "being nice."
Notes and trivia
- Kel'Thuzad is credited as having created the Scourge's abominations.
- During the Third War, Kel'Thuzad was 58 years old.
- Kel'Thuzad wrote The Decree of the Scourge.
- The chains floating around him are the Chains of Kel'Thuzad.
- The Thuzadin necromancers in Stratholme are likely named after him.
- Bronjahm and Ras Frostwhisper both studied directly under Kel'Thuzad. Ras, in particular, was one of his most trusted students.
- Noth initially joined Kel'Thuzad but when he saw that the Third War was taking numerous innocent lives, he began having second thoughts. Kel'Thuzad swiftly dealt with Noth's growing compassion by freezing the living heart in Noth's chest.
- Kel'Thuzad once nursed a plague-infected whelp to adulthood, feeding it only the finest liquefied remains.
- Kel'Thuzad is voiced by Michael McConnohie in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, and his original appearance in World of Warcraft. The lich is voiced by a different (unknown) actor in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, as McConnohie also portrays the Lich King and the producers thought this might "confuse the players". McConnohie returned to voicing the character in Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and World of Warcraft: Shadowlands.
- Despite having a different voice actor in Wrath of the Lich King, Kel'Thuzad still uses McConnohie's original laugh in his Wrath appearances. This can be heard every 30 seconds or so at his location at the Plains of Nasam, and is sometimes also heard when he kills a player during his encounter in Naxxramas.
- can be fished up from the Dalaran fountain. The description says, "Sometimes... I wish someone would come along and just give me a big, long hug."
- The Alliance warlock Tier 9 set is named after Kel'Thuzad. Though he is not normally classified as a warlock, Kel'Thuzad did learn a great deal about demons by studying the Book of Medivh (which allowed him to summon Archimonde). The historian team wasn't involved in the naming and this is likely an example of "rule of cool".
- He has a pet based on him, Lil' K.T.. Kel'Thuzad himself will mail the player the pet and congratulate them on joining his fanclub.
- The Lich King drops . The blade had no prior in-game appearances, but Kel'Thuzad mentions it in Heroes of the Storm.
- During the events of Landfall, when Jaina Proudmoore told Anduin Wrynn that the Kirin Tor had a legacy of abuse, she mentioned Kel'Thuzad, who turned his knowledge of the arcane arts towards necromancy.
- During the Legion beta, , Kel'Thuzad's journal, was planned to be obtained by the Ebon Blade death knights.
- Nyorloth (creator of the WoW Story Forum and the Ask CDev project) confirmed Kel'Thuzad's continued existence by mentioning that he has "survived two separate Lich Kings".
- Although Kel'Thuzad's involvement in Shadowlands is first properly revealed to players in the later portions of the necrolord and venthyr Covenant Campaigns, players can find him idling in the Vault of Souls in Maldraxxus even before making any progress in the storyline.
- Kel'Thuzad is a playable character in Heroes of the Storm.
- The servers Kel'Thuzad US and Kel'Thuzad Europe are named after him.
- The line "Your curiosity will be the death of you", first used by Kel'Thuzad in The Cult of the Damned mission in Warcraft III, and then later in the Shadow of the Necropolis trailer, was originally spoken by Zhar the Mad, an optional mini-boss in the first Diablo game.
- During his encounter in the Sanctum of Domination, Kel'Thuzad claims to have served Zovaal all along. However, as it was Denathrius who recruited him to Zovaal's side after his defeat in Northrend, it is unknown if he boasting to intimidate his enemies or if the fact that the Lich King was meant to be the Jailer's herald convinced Kel'Thuzad that the Jailer was the true master of the Scourge all along.
Kel'Thuzad art for Shadow of the Necropolis patch 1.11.
Concept art of Kel'Thuzad's Chamber in Naxxramas.
Warcraft III: Reforged concept art of Kel'Thuzad as a human.
Kel'Thuzad alternate hero.
Scholomance Academy expansion art.
Key art of Scholomance Masquerade Ball event.
Kel'Thuzad holding his card.
A card back themed after Kel'Thuzad.
Kel'Thuzad in the art for House of Rituals Gul'dan.
- Heroes of the Storm
Kel'Thuzad in Heroes of the Storm.
- The Revelation
- Sylvanas' Farewell
- Lore of Warcraft: Kel'Thuzad
- Jaina tells Anduin about the past
- The Story of Kel'Thuzad
- Kel'Thuzad's Deep Knowledge
- , Scourgewar TCG card
- Cult Master Kel'Thuzad, Reign of Fire TCG card
- Kel'Thuzad (Naxxramas Raid Deck), Naxxramas Raid Deck TCG card
- ^ a b c
- ^ a b
- ^ Cult Master Kel'Thuzad
- ^ World of Warcraft: Game Manual, pg. 158
- ^ Shadow of the Necropolis trailer
- ^ Kel'Thuzad and the Forming of the Scourge
- ^ The Scourge of Lordaeron (History of Warcraft)
- ^ Tides of Darkness, pg. 105-106
- ^ Cycle of Hatred, chapter 8
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 29-30
- ^ Warcraft III Artwork: Kel'Thuzad
- ^ Naxxramas, the Floating Necropolis
- ^ 2017-09-05, Kel'Thuzad ENTERS THE NEXUS!. Blizzard Entertainment, retrieved on 2017-09-12
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, chapter 9
- ^ a b c Road to Damnation
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual, pg. 97-98
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 192
- ^ Kel'Thuzad and the Forming of the Scourge
- ^ Eva Sarkhoff
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 169
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual, pg. 98
- ^ WoW Classic: Naxxramas is Now Live!
- ^ a b Eligor Dawnbringer#Dragonblight
- ^ a b Shadow of the Necropolis
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3
- ^ a b c d e f World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 142 - 143
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 175
- ^ Kel'Thuzad (Sanctum of Domination tactics)#Quotes
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft Developers Speak on Character Motivations, Consequences in Eternity's End
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft Interview: Steve Danuser and Morgan Day Talk Shadowlands Cutscenes, Characters, and Consequences
- ^ a b
- ^ a b
- ^ : Margrave Gharmal says: Our new allies have granted us power beyond imagining. Sin'dane's new baron spoke true!
- ^ a b : Mor'Bitan says: Our new baron bids that I complete the ritual personally. Harvest the anima before my arrival. Do not fail me, Mephiles!
- ^ a b c
- ^ a b
- ^ : Sire Denathrius says: Bring the Accuser to me and her medallion shall be yours. The Prince's is already promised to another faithful ally.
- ^ a b Renathal's Notes
- ^ a b
- ^ Tormentors of Torghast
- ^ Shape the Fate of the Shadowlands in Chains of Domination
- ^ Kel'Thuzad's Sanctum of Domination encounter
- ^ Lil' K.T. mail sent to player
- ^ World of Warcraft Trading Card Game: Scourgewar. Blizzard Entertainment. 21: Kel'Thuzad.
- ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 182
- ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 190
- ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 173
- ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects
- ^ Heroes and Villains
- ^ Bronjahm#Adventure Guide
- ^ Naxxramas, the Floating Necropolis
- ^ Scourged Whelpling
- ^ Michael McConnohie on IMDb (2009-04-01). Archived from the original on 2011-05-08. “Actually, you're both right. They did recycle a lot of what I did as Kel'Thuzad from Warcraft III, but when they came back full circle and started using me as the Lich King again, they thought the voices of these two were far too similar. As I understand it, they re-voiced my KT dialogue to put some distance between the characters, being concerned they might "confuse the players."”
- ^ Resurrecting Kel’Thuzad: The Lich Comes to Life – Heroes of the Storm. YouTube (2017-09-05). Retrieved on 2020-12-26.
- ^ Sean Copeland on Twitter (2014-07-18)
- ^ Nyorloth Twitter Post
- ^ Kel'Thuzad (Sanctum of Domination tactics)#Quotes
Headmaster of the Scholomance
Araj the Summoner
Ruler of Stratholme