“The runeblade is an extension of your being. A death knight cannot battle without a runeblade.”

Instructor Razuvious[1]

Runeblades are blades inscribed with runes, symbols that hold magical power. They are particularly wielded by death knights, but they are not unique to the Scourge. Notably, demons and high elves are known to forge rune-etched blades as well, such as Felo'melorn, the sword of the Sunstrider dynasty. By the time of the Third War, runeblades were not unheard of, but they were considered extremely rare and terribly powerful weapons.[2]



Mourneblades are a special type of incredibly powerful runeblade associated with the Maw and the Jailer. The term seems to specifically refer to runeblades forged in the Jailer's tower of Torghast[3] and engraved with runes of Domination.[4] The creation of one of these weapons is enough to send shocks throughout the Shadowlands, as Bolvar Fordragon was able to feel the creation of Kingsmourne from all the way in Oribos.[3][4] Several mourneblades were created by the Runecarver against his will; the greatest of these was the dreaded Frostmourne, the weapon of the Lich King.[5] It was capable of consuming souls, of shattering any blade it met with in combat, and even displayed some form of intelligence.[6] As the sword of Arthas Menethil it became the most famous of the runeblades, and probably the most unique.

Death knight runeblades

Death knight runeblades.

Distant past

 [Apocalypse] and the  [Maw of the Damned] were dangerous weapons forged by the Burning Legion in order to spread chaos and death.

Third War

The fallen knights of the Silver Hand were bestowed black, vampiric runeblades by the Lich King himself to serve as his mightiest death knight generals during the Third War.[7]

Marduk Blackpool, a death knight of the Scourge who fought during the war, had his runeblade shattered and yet continued to operate, although he may have kept its hilt.

Wrath of the Lich King

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

Under the directions of Instructor Razuvious, the death knights of Acherus forged their own runeblades shortly after their creation by learning of [Runeforging]. The Instructor warns that no death knight may battle without a runeblade, for it is the vessel that stores runic power and the instrument by which a death knight commands the powers of frost, blood and unholy.[1] Lady Blaumeux further highlights the crucial importance of the runeblade, noting that it is perhaps the most guarded treasure in a death knight's possession and that a death knight separated from their runeblade is weak and powerless.[8]

Known runeblades

Felo'melorn as an Artifact.

In the RPG

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

The vampiric runeblades are empathic weapons given to new death knights by the Lich King Ner'zhul or one of his designates to turn them into death knights. Once the runeblade is used to turn a hero into a death knight, it becomes that knight's personal weapon and is slowly charged with the life energies of those injured and slain thereafter.[9]

Death knights are now few and far between, but their legacy lives on. The runeblade is one example of their terrible power. It channels life force, which bestows a kind of life upon the blade itself. Though not very intelligent, the runeblade has a strong survival instinct.

When a death knight who owns a runeblade is destroyed, the sword dampens its powers, taking on the appearance of a nondescript magical weapon. It uses its empathic powers to manipulate its next owner — encouraging feelings of possession and anger, discouraging kindness and altruism. Once it gains enough control over its owner, it encourages him to seek out the secret places where death knights still dwell. Only then can the runeblade accomplish its goal of gaining a new master.[10]


See also