Kilix TCG.jpg
Faction/Affiliation Nerubian Empire, Scourge
Character classes

Worker, Warrior, Seer, Webspinner, Vizier (living)

Crypt lord, Crypt fiend (undead)
Racial capital Azjol-Nerub
Racial leader(s)

IconSmall NerubianVizier.gif Seer Ixit (living)[1]
IconSmall LichKing.gif The Lich King † (undead)

IconSmall Anub'arak.gif Anub'arak †
Homeworld Azeroth
Language(s) Nerubian, Common

Nerubians are an ancient race of highly intelligent arachnoids.[2] Native to Northrend, these spider-men once ruled over the kingdom of Azjol-Nerub that stretched like a great web beneath the desolate glaciers of "the roof of the world". However, the Lich King crushed their dark empire and sent them skittering into the arctic wastelands. Though there were few pockets of nerubian warriors left, they still sought to gain vengeance upon Ner'zhul and reclaim their subterranean kingdom.[3]


Early history

The nerubians.

The trolls fought them for many thousands of years but never succeeded in winning a true victory over the Aqir. Eventually, due to the trolls' persistence, the aqiri kingdom split in half as its citizens fled to separate colonies in the far northern and southern regions of the continent. Not long after the troll empires divided the insectoid kingdom of the aqir, the aqir that traveled north discovered and overthrew the tol'vir society in the northern wastes of Northrend. These aqir would eventually become the race we know as the nerubian today, having adapted the tol'vir's architecture for their own purposes. Similarly, the aqir that traveled south ransacked and overthrew a titan research station near Uldum, renaming themselves the qiraji and calling their new home in the southern desert Ahn'Qiraj.[4] At some point after becoming nerubians, their society broke away and opposed the Old Gods that their people once served as aqir, specifically Yogg-Saron.[5] The split happened early enough in nerubian history, that by the time of Arthas Menethil's ascension to the Lich King, Anub'arak commented that he had believed them to be only legend.

The vrykul king Magnar Icebreaker earned his surname from his battles against the nerubians in Northrend. While hunting nests of the insectoids, Magnar discovered that cracks in glacier walls could be turned into tunnels that allowed him to dig deep into enemy strongholds and launch surprise assaults on them from within. Years later, remnants of the nerubian armies once again began emerging from their caves, seeking to seize Ulduar and the titan machinery within it. Magnar, now a king wielding the Scale of the Earth-Warder, led his people against the insectoids, pushing them back to the entrance of Azjol-Nerub itself and defeating them so thoroughly that they ceased all aggression for millennia.[6]

War of the Spider

Thousands of years later, when the Lich King extended his influence over Northrend, the shadowy empire stood against his power. The ancient subterranean kingdom of Azjol-Nerub sent their elite warrior-guard to attack Icecrown and end the Lich King's mad bid for dominance. Much to his frustration, Ner'zhul found that the evil nerubians were immune not only to the undead plague but to his telepathic domination as well.

The nerubian spiderlords commanded vast forces and had an underground network that stretched nearly half the breadth of Northrend. Their hit-and-run tactics on the Lich King's strongholds stymied his efforts to root them out time after time. Ultimately, Ner'zhul's war against the nerubians was won by attrition. With the aid of the sinister dreadlords and innumerable undead warriors, the Lich King invaded Azjol-Nerub and brought its subterranean temples crashing down upon the spider lords' heads.

Though the nerubians were immune to his plague, Ner'zhul's growing necromantic powers allowed him to raise the spider-warriors' corpses and bend them to his will. As a testament to their tenacity and fearlessness, Ner'zhul adopted the nerubians' distinctive architectural style for his own fortresses and structures. Though there are few pockets of nerubian warriors left, they still seek to gain vengeance upon Ner’zhul and reclaim their subterranean kingdom.[7]

During the war, a nerubian by the name of Vorus'arak led his brood under ground. A great tunneler, the Swarm Lord and his people dug, forced to eat their young for food. They eventually found an island, the Skittering Hollow, where they survived and thrived. This group became the Voru'kar.[8]

Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath of the Lich King This section concerns content related to Wrath of the Lich King.

With the death of their former leaders, the nerubian viziers have risen to power. They serve an "unseen emperor", one who is destined to lead the ancient spider-people to a final victory over the Scourge.[9] This does not seem to be touched upon in WotLK.

According to Kilix the Unraveler and Archmage Lan'dalock, the nerubians fought the Scourge, they dug deeper underground as they lost ground to the undead. "We inadvertently exposed a tendril of the Old God's will, which was made manifest in the creatures known only as the Faceless." He then goes on to say that they lost the war because "In the end, we could not fight on two fronts against such powerful enemies. Our misfortune cost us the war against the undead, and ultimately, our home." implying that the nerubians discovered the faceless ones by accident.[10][11]

The Kirin Tor acquired the crown of the nerubian king and put it aside for the nerubians whenever they decided to coronate a new one.[12]


Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.

It is revealed that the nerubians have an enormous secret stash of their own eggs hidden safely so that after the wipeout of the Scourge from Azjol-Nerub, they can finally begin repopulating their people.[13]

Battle for Azeroth

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

The Skittering Hollow, home to the Voru'kar, was visited by Alliance and Horde forces seeking [Azerite]. It is possible for them to fight members of the brood, as well as Vorus'arak. His carapace, revealed to have never been shed since the War of the Spider, is returned to Northrend to Kilix the Unraveler, claiming that the history of the nerubians are important to them before rewarding the adventurer with Azerite.

Nerubians were summoned to aid Zek'voz after he escaped his imprisonment. These nerubians were created by Zek'voz using corrupted titan discs, as such, they were the only instance of nerubians still loyal to the Old Gods. These nerubians were slain alongside the errant aqir.


Kel'Thuzad claims that they were fiercely intelligent, and their will dedicated to wiping out any who were not like themselves.[14] Much like the aqir.

Legends tell of the nerubians' using the jormungar as creatures of labor, forcing them to carve massive tunnels through Northrend's subterranean ice and lay the groundwork for the nerubians' ancient civilization.[9]

Nerubians once controlled the arachnathid and used them as guardians of Azjol-Nerub before the Scourge came.[15]

Nerubians also enslaved the remaining tol'vir in Northrend, turning them into the obsidian destroyers, who were later claimed by the Scourge during the War of the Spider. Although many of the few remaining tol'vir slaves died in the front lines during Third War, it's possible that more obsidian destroyers still exist deep within the remnants of Azjol-Nerub.[16]

The sacrificial pits of Azjol-Nerub were used long ago to sacrifice enemy forces in exchange for success in battle.[17]

Nerubian culture resembles the ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian culture in terms of their architecture, though the ziggurats are of a completely different design.


As attested by many traps and contraptions in Azjol-Nerub dungeons, they were once good engineers.[18]

The nerubian architectural style may have been inspired by Maldraxxus and its Deathly influence.[19] The Lich King later adopted the style for his Scourge after the War of the Spider[7] and so ziggurats, the big Necropolises Naxxramas and Acherus refer to their building style. Of course, most of the architecture can be seen in Azjol-Nerub itself. Another good example of their style is the statue in the Pit of Fiends.


Their language, simply known as Nerubian, is described by Chieftain Wintergale as an ancient and harsh language.[20]




Name Role Affiliation Status Location
Neutral  Anub'arak The Traitor King; last ruler of Azjol-Nerub before the War of the Spider Scourge Deceased-Killable Brood Pit, Azjol-Nerub; Icy Depths, Trial of the Crusader
Boss  Anub'Rekhan Spider Lord in service of the Scourge Scourge Killable Arachnid Quarter, Naxxramas
Mob  Anok'suten Leader of the nerubians around Suncrown Village Scourge Killable Suncrown Village, Ghostlands
Boss  Elder Nadox Venerated leader and tutor turned into a servant of the Lich King Scourge Killable Hall of the Conquered Kings, Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom
Neutral  Kilix the Unraveler Leader of the Azjol-anak forces in the Pit of Narjun Azjol-anak, nerubian empire Alive Pit of Narjun, Dragonblight
Mob  Lord Kryxix Leader of the nerubians beneath the Geyser Fields Scourge Killable Geyser Fields, Borean Tundra
Neutral  Queen Nezar'Azret Nerubian queen slain by Arthas Menethil and Anub'arak Nerubian empire Deceased Azjol-Nerub
Neutral  Seer Ixit Leader of the Azjol-anak seeking to become the new leader of his people Azjol-anak, nerubian empire Alive Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom
Mob  Under-King Anub'et'kan Leader of the Scourge forces in Icemist Village Scourge Killable Icemist Village, Dragonblight
Mob  Underking Talonox Crypt lord holding court at the Pit of Fiends Scourge Killable Pit of Fiends, Icecrown


Among the uncorrupted nerubians count the Azjol-anak, Nerubian Guardians, and the Voru'kar.

Among the Scourge-corrupted nerubians count the Ahn'kahar, Anub'ar, Hath'ar, Nerub'ar, and Nerubis.

In the RPG

Nerubian art by Chris Metzen.

Nerubians in their halls.

A nerubian fighting murlocs.

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


At the ancient continent Kalimdor's center was a mysterious lake of incandescent energies, the Well of Eternity. It was the true heart of the world's magic and natural power. From this magical ether the silithid were born. As the fallen Old God C'Thun recognized their appearance, he attempted to sunder the world that it once held in its unmerciful grasp. The Old God created avatars from the silithid in its own image. These avatars were to be known as the qiraji.

16,000 years before the Orcish invasion of Azeroth the aqir ruled the lands far west of Kalimdor. These clever insectoids were greatly expansionistic and incredibly evil. The aqir were obsessed with eradicating all non-Arthropod life from the fields of Kalimdor. So the two big troll empires of Gurubashi and Amani found their common enemy in the third empire — the nation[21] of Azj'Aqir.

Now, the nerubians are a depleted and embittered people. Most live in Northrend and shun all contact with outsiders — indeed, they attack intruders on sight, viewing all creatures not of their kind with suspicion. Understandably, they possess a vitriolic hatred of undead, especially crypt fiends and crypt lords. They realize that they are too weak to overthrow the Lich King, and must content themselves with their pathetic guerrilla war.[22]

Now, the nerubians exist only as scattered families in northern Kalimdor and in a few settlements throughout Ashenvale. In their quiet and passionless manner, nerubians despise the Scourge and will take any opportunity to do it harm.[23]


Azjol-Nerub contained huge libraries of literature, philosophy, and arcane lore. Occasionally, the kingdom would kidnap humans and elves for experimentation.[24]

From the Monster Guide.

Nerubians are cruel and xenophobic.[25] Like their silithid relatives are hostile to all races.[22]

Nerubian culture may place great store in longevity; Nerubians encountered at the Sundered Monolith told Brann their ages, and they seemed impressed by his.[25]


Different types of nerubian are referred to as castes with a life-long occupation and responsibility in society. Seers, for example, are relatively high-level nerubians who act as priests and mages. Spider lords are the rulers of the society in the same mold as the aristocracy of humanoid races.[24]

The spider is the most common motif of the nerubians, and they have appeared to have evolved at least partially into an arachnid race (eight limbs) from an insectoid race (six limbs). Despite the nerubian cultural association with spiders (who reproduce through any male and any female), they reproduce as social insects do, through queens.

Undead nerubians are usually under control of the Scourge and are known as crypt fiends (in the case of most nerubians) and crypt lords (undead spiderlords). Too few crypt fiends appear in Azeroth, so nobody knows yet what nerubian females look like or are called.

Nerubians tend toward evil; they have always been ruthless and aggressive, and since the fall of the Spider Kingdom these traits are more pronounced. Still, nerubians are intelligent, and not all fall into dark ways. They may join a group of adventurers in the hopes of striking against the Lich King, or of gaining the power to do so. Other nerubians, often young ones, leave their homes because they want no part of their people's hopeless conflict and desire to become more than embittered survivors — perhaps they want to attain, at an individual level at least, the heights their people once possessed. The remote possibility exists that a handful of nerubians are not evil and could get along with other races better than their brethren.[22]


Many nerubians are fluent in Common as well as their own tongue (a clicking rasping language).[26]

They speak Draconic, Dwarven, Low Common, Thalassian and Zandali.[citation needed] 


In ancient Azjol-Nerub, there were five or six schools of religious thought, and theological debates were common. Eventually, however, nerubians have come to a conclusion that worshiping creatures from beyond the world is insane, and, in the words of the seer Ul'Tomon, "makes as much sense as a fly caught in a web worshiping the spider who is about to devour him". To modern nerubians, even the concept of "worship" itself is alien.[27]


Nerubians spiderlings.



  • At BlizzCon 2007, the nerubians and the Old Gods were described as B.F.F.[28]
    • This is ironically the exact opposite of almost every depiction the Nerubians have been shown with their former masters, having even actively fought against them. The only instance of nerubian-Old God alliance is shown, as previously mentioned, in the Zek'voz fight, where the nerubians have been synthesized and have no actual connection to the rest of the nerubians on Azeroth otherwise.
  • The Azjol-anak originally had a much smaller presence than shown in current incarnations of the nerubian dungeons when first released. Originally, the only members of the group shown were Azjol-anak Battleguards and Kilix the Unraveler. This was expanded with patch 4.3.0, which added additional quests and members of the faction; including their leader, Seer Ixit.
    • Despite this, the concept of there being more nerubians was something established before it was added into the game. There are still pockets of nerubians down there literally fighting for their lives, and we have any number of plans about how they play into things. What are they about? Are they principled, or even worse in some ways than the Scourge itself? -Chris Metzen[29]
  • According to the Old Wizard's Almenac only the most powerful Nerubian leaders have the capacity for magic.[30]


Heroes of the Storm

See also


  1. ^ N [15-30D] Pupil No More
  2. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide
  3. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual
  4. ^[broken link]
  5. ^ Zek'voz, "Stage Two: Deception": "... summoning projections of Yogg-saron and replicating servants from Azjol-Nerub.
  6. ^ Saga of the Valarjar
  7. ^ a b War of the Spider (History of Warcraft)
  8. ^ N [10-50] Vorus'arak's Carapace
  9. ^ a b Wrath of the Lich King Bestiary
  10. ^ N [15-30D] The Faceless Ones
  11. ^ N [80H] Proof of Demise: Herald Volazj
  12. ^ N [80H] Proof of Demise: Anub'arak
  13. ^ N [15-30D] Don't Forget the Eggs!
  14. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 216
  15. ^ The Forgotten Ones
  16. ^ Ask CDev#Ask CDev Answers - Round 1
  17. ^ Blizzard Entertainment. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Manual, 44. 
  18. ^ "Legacy of the Damned: Into the Shadow Web Caverns", Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment.
  19. ^ Judgehype - Interview de Steve Danuser sur l'histoire de Shadowlands
  20. ^ H [10-30] Words of Power
  21. ^ Johnson, Luke. Dark Factions, 43. ISBN 9781588464460. 
  22. ^ a b c Johnson, Luke. Dark Factions, 44. ISBN 9781588464460. 
  23. ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 69
  24. ^ a b Borgstrom, Rebecca; Eric Brennan, Genevieve Cogman, and Michael Goodwin. Manual of Monsters, 69. ISBN 978-1588-4607-07. 
  25. ^ a b Kiley, Ellen P.. Lands of Mystery, 146. ISBN 9781588467843. 
  26. ^ Kiley, Ellen P.. Lands of Mystery, 144. ISBN 9781588467843. 
  27. ^ Kiley, Ellen P.. Lands of Mystery, 143. ISBN 9781588467843. 
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ The Old Wizard's Almanac