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For the Warcraft III hero unit, see Lich (Warcraft III).
Bonelord Frostwhisper HS
Faction/Affiliation Scourge, Burning Legion, Ebon Blade, Necrolord Covenant, House of Rituals, Independent, Cult of the Damned
Character classes Mage, Sorcerer, Warlock, Necromancer
Racial capital Icecrown Citadel; House of Rituals
Homeworld Azeroth; Shadowlands

Liches are powerful undead beings. On Azeroth, they are usually bound to the iron will of the Lich King, they mainly wield frost magic and necromantic spells.[1] Typically appearing as large, floating, skeletal figures wrapped in long robes, they are often found in high-ranking positions within the Scourge.

Unlike many other forms of undead, a lich's soul is not imperfectly attached to its body; instead, liches bind their souls to special containers known as phylacteries, which then allows them to generate a physical form. This is why lich bodies look nothing like their former mortal selves, and also why one has to destroy a lich's phylactery to truly kill them; as long as a lich's phylactery and soul are allowed to remain intact, the being can never truly die and will always be able to regenerate their corporeal body.[2][3]

Just like there are archmages and archdruids, there are also archliches. So far Kel'Thuzad and Amal'thazad are the only known archliches.



Maldraxxus is the birthplace of necromantic magic[4] and home to the forces that were called upon by the Lich King and the Scourge on Azeroth.[5] The House of Rituals is lead by necromancers and liches, and are constantly innovating and advancing the art of necromancy with new incantations and formulae[6] as well as more resilient phylacteries.[7]

The Third War[]

WC3RoC-logo This section concerns content related to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos or its expansion The Frozen Throne.
Kel'Thuzad TCG2

The Archlich Kel'Thuzad, master of Naxxramas.

While on Draenor, Ner'zhul, the orc who would later become the Lich King, commanded a number of orcish warlocks and spellwielding death knights. Yet, when Kil'jaeden and the Burning Legion captured these sorcerers after that world's destruction, they were transformed into twisted, spectral aberrations of their former selves. These newly born liches possessed tremendous magical powers, yet their immortal, undead bodies were bound to the iron will of Ner'zhul. As payment for their undying loyalty to Ner'zhul, the Lich King granted them control over the furious elements of Northrend. Now, the liches wield frost magic along with their own considerable necromantic spells.[1]

It is possible for mortals to become liches even without the aid of higher powers such as the Burning Legion. During the Third War, the leader of the Cult of the Damned, Kel'Thuzad, was reanimated as a lich by Arthas Menethil using the power of the high elves' Sunwell.[8] It appears, however, that the power of the individual being raised as a lich is directly proportional to the amount of power required to bring them back. For instance, Kel'Thuzad, being an extremely powerful individual, required a nexus of powerful ley-energies in order to be reanimated.[9]

Following the defeat of the Burning Legion at Mount Hyjal and the weakening of the Lich King's hold over the Scourge, a few liches, such as Ras Splinterspine and Morbent Fell, chose to serve the Legion and sided with the dreadlord Balnazzar during the uprising of Sylvanas Windrunner.

World of Warcraft[]

Just prior to the war against the Lich King, Korialstrasz fought against a large Scourge army somewhere in Lordaeron. Among them were several lesser liches.[10]

Battle for Azeroth This section concerns content related to Battle for Azeroth.

There are troll liches in Zandalar.

Shadowlands This section concerns content related to Shadowlands.

In Maldraxxus, liches are scheming skeletal sorcerers who use anima to fuel their potent magic and practice their craft in the House of Rituals.[11] Margrave Sin'dane had been manipulated by her new Baron, Kel'Thuzad, who in turn was in service to the Jailer, causing a civil war within Maldraxxus and helping an invasion of Bastion and Revendreth.

Troll liches in service to Mueh'zala attempted to both invade Ardenweald and then later fight Bwonsamdi in order to release their master.


Kel'Thuzad Maldraxxus

Kel'Thuzad, as seen in Shadowlands.

Margrave Sin'dane

Margrave Sin'dane of the House of Rituals.

Name Role Affiliation Status Location
Neutral IconSmall Lich Male Amal'thazad Arch-lich of Acherus, instructor of frost death knights Knights of the Ebon Blade Active Acherus: The Ebon Hold, Eastern Plaguelands
Boss IconSmall Lich Male Amnennar the Coldbringer Ruler of Razorfen Downs, leader of Scourge forces in Kalimdor Scourge Unknown Spiral of Thorns, Razorfen Downs
Mob IconSmall Lich Male Araj the Summoner Leader of Scourge forces in Andorhal Scourge Killable Andorhal, Western Plaguelands
Mob IconSmall Lich Male Artruis the Heartless Leader of Scourge forces at the Sundered Shard Scourge Killable* The Sundered Shard, Sholazar Basin
Neutral IconSmall Lich2 Baron Balmedar Baron of the House of Rituals Necrolord Covenant Active Seat of the Primus, Maldraxxus
Mob IconSmall Lich Male Balzaphon Leader of Scourge Invasion forces in Stratholme Scourge Unknown* Stratholme
Boss IconSmall Lich Female Instructor Chillheart Teacher of the dark arts in Scholomance Cult of the Damned, Scourge Killable* Reliquary, Scholomance
Neutral IconSmall Kel'ThuzadSL Kel'Thuzad Master of Naxxramas, founder and former leader of the Cult of the Damned, former baron of the House of Rituals, servant of the Jailer Scourge, Cult of the Damned, House of Rituals, Mawsworn Deceased Various
Neutral IconSmall Lich Male Kirkessen the Zealous Hero of the Scourge, killed during the Siege of the Sanguine Scourge Incorporeal Unknown
Boss IconSmall Lich Female Lady Deathwhisper Supreme Overseer of the Cult of the Damned Scourge, Cult of the Damned Deceased Oratory of the Damned, Icecrown Citadel
Mob IconSmall Lich Male Lich-Lord Chillwinter Lich-lord of Talramas Scourge Killable* Talramas, Borean Tundra
Mob IconSmall Lich Male Master Summoner Zarod Master summoner of the Fleshwerks Scourge Killable* Fleshwerks, Icecrown
Mob IconSmall Lich Male Morbent Fel Ruler of the undead of Duskwood Independent Deceased Dawning Wood Catacombs, Duskwood
Neutral IconSmall Lich Male Morbent Fell Lieutenant of Balnazzar Dreadlord Loyalists, Burning Legion Unknown* Unknown
Mob IconSmall Lich Male Naberius Traitor of Kirin'Var Village Independent Killable Chapel Yard, Netherstorm
Boss IconSmall Lich Male Novos the Summoner Leader of Scourge forces in Drak'Tharon Keep Scourge Deceased Temple of the Forgotten, Drak'Tharon Keep
Neutral IconSmall Lich Male Rage Winterchill Leader of Scourge forces during the Battle of Mount Hyjal Scourge Deceased Unknown
Boss IconSmall Lich Male Ras Frostwhisper Former overseer of Scholomance Scourge, Cult of the Damned Deceased* Formerly Laboratory, Scholomance
Neutral IconSmall Lich Male Ras Splinterspine Lieutenant of Balnazzar Dreadlord Insurgents, Burning Legion Unknown* Unknown
Mob IconSmall Lich Male Scorn Leader of Scourge Invasion forces in Scarlet Monastery Scourge Unknown* Scarlet Monastery Graveyard
Neutral IconSmall Sin'dane Margrave Sin'dane Margrave of the House of Rituals Necrolord Covenant Active Hall of Sorcery, Maldraxxus
Neutral IconSmall Lich Male Tanathal Captive of Thassarian Scourge Active Wailing Ziggurat, Borean Tundra
Mob IconSmall Lich Male Thel'zan the Duskbringer Leader of Scourge forces assaulting Wintergarde Keep Scourge Deceased Wintergarde Mausoleum, Dragonblight
Mob IconSmall Lich Male Thexal Deathchill Raising corpses at the Court of Bones Scourge Killable* Court of Bones, Icecrown
Neutral IconSmall Lich Male Timolain the Accursed Former mage of the Scarlet Crusade Independent Active Thondroril River, Western Plaguelands

* Phylactery unaccounted for; defeat may be impermanent.

Other liches[]

WC3RoC-logo This section concerns content related to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos or its expansion The Frozen Throne.
  • Ordin Frostbane
  • Kali'naj Dethknell
  • Din Frostfire
  • Naze the Eternal
  • Calis Wraithson
  • Coldreaver
  • Cho'Nammoth
  • Kryptikk Soulslayer
  • Rak Coldskull
  • Venim Iceblade
  • Alandil Lieng
  • Ra'Sal

As a companion pet[]

Main articles: Landro's Lichling, Lil' Phylactery

In the RPG[]

Icon-RPG This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

A lich in the Monster Guide

A lich is a powerful undead sorcerer who possesses tremendous magical power. During his mortal life as the warchief of the orcish Horde of Draenor, Ner'zhul commanded a number of orcish warlocks and even some of Gul'dan's death knights. When these wicked sorcerers were captured by Kil'jaeden and the Burning Legion after the destruction of Draenor, they were transformed into twisted aberrations of their former selves. Ner'zhul became the Lich King at this time. The sorcerers' new, undead bodies, though immortal, were bound to the iron will of Ner'zhul. Since the liches showed unswerving loyalty to their master, Ner'zhul granted them control over the furious elements of the cold north. Now, the liches wield frost magic along with their own considerable necromantic spells.[12][13]

"Lich" is an acquired template in the Warcraft RPG and World of Warcraft RPG.

Service to the Scourge[]

Liches are among the most powerful spellcasters and allies of the undead Scourge, serving their master with evil intent and great power. Often, they command armies as generals, surrogates for the Lich King himself. They are deeply entwined with the cold power of the grave. As a rule, these creatures are power-hungry, devious, and vicious. They utilize their great intellect and dark powers not only to serve the Lich King, but also to defeat each other in subtle political machinations, gaining strength and renown from each opponent's death. A lich resembles a skeleton with a chill blue glow emanating from within its bones. Liches often dress in flowing robes. These creatures are fond of pageantry and deception; they will often dress in the robes of a king or priest and expect their followers to call them by powerful-sounding names. Sometimes, they claim extraordinary powers granted directly from Ner'zhul himself, acting as though Ner'zhul were a god and they were his chosen priests or prophets. Instead of walking on the ground as mortals do, liches float above it on frosty mist. A lich floats from 6 -12 inches above the ground. Liches cannot trigger pressure plates or similar traps, nor do they leave footprints. Most difficult terrain does not inhibit liches, and they can cross calm water and other liquids with this ability. This movement is otherwise similar to normal movement, so liches can still fall down pits, for instance.

Typically, the Lich King elevates only necromancers to lichdom, but rumors speak of the occasional mage or shaman who also attains this status. Some tales imply that a spellcaster with enough personal and magical strength can willingly turn himself into a lich, but these reports are unsubstantiated. Some powerful necromancers can temporarily transform themselves into a lich.[14][15][13]

Rogue liches[]

The rogue liches walk Kalimdor with no intention of raising an army as when they were under the command of the Legion. Even a single undead draws attention; putting together a large group will surely get the local populace upset. Instead, these liches harbor a single, driving goal; revenge. They seek out those who helped bring about their downfall, first destroying all that they held dear and then bringing ultimate retribution upon the target.[16]

Human liches[]

Human necromancers are the most likely candidates for liches. Chilling mist billows from this skeletal figure. It floats in a cloud of mist, and black robes flow from its evil form. These liches are evil, cunning, and loyal to the Lich King. They serve as generals of armies and as advisors to other powerful members of the Scourge. These liches are somewhat inexperienced and probably new to undead existence, but they are filled with power and arrogance. Liches prefer to have hordes of undead minions surrounding them. These lesser undead creatures protect the lich while he casts spells from a distance. Liches have no qualms about fleeing if the situation warrants.[17]

Notes and trivia[]

  • Taam, a rune used in various death magic rituals, is known as "the mark of the Lich".[18]
  • Gunther Arcanus has been consistently referred to as a lich,[19][20] even though he has the appearance of a standard Forsaken.
  • Lichling is a term with unclear meaning, as it has been used both to refer to a miniature lich[21] and to Highborne Lichlings, a type of wraith formerly found in Azshara.
  • During the Warcraft III alpha, their skull was shaped differently. Their description also said that they were the former warlocks and shamans of Ner'zhul instead of being former warlocks and death knights.[22] This is because originally, the death knights of Warcraft III were supposed to be the same as those of the Second War.
  • Despite the Warcraft III manual stating that the original liches were made from orcs,[1] there are no named liches known to have been created in this manner.

Shadowlands quotes[]

These apply to most liches in the Shadowlands. Balmedar and Margrave Sin'dane have unique quotes.

  • The margrave's benevolence upon you.
  • Why have you interrupted me?!
  • Excellent, a new test subject.
  • What can you do for me?
  • This is hardly the time for idle conversation.
  • Has your weapon found a target today?
  • In service of the margrave.
  • Be bold and your enemies will falter.
  • The bulwark shall never fall.
  • May your purpose be fulfilled.
  • Victory at any cost.
  • May your anima be plentiful.
  • Must the rabble be so needy?
  • You know, only one of us has a phylactery.


World of Warcraft
Warcraft III