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This article is about undead skeleton creatures. For inanimate skeletal remains, see corpse. For other uses, see Skeleton (disambiguation).
Skeleton (1-1) full
Faction/Affiliation Necrolord Covenant, Scourge, Cult of the Damned, Forsaken, Knights of the Ebon Blade, Independent
Character classes Warrior, Mage, Archer, Warlock, Necromancer
Language(s) Common

Skeletons are undead beings that have been reanimated by magic, often being used as fodder or shock troops by their masters. While gangly and seemingly frail, skeletons can possess superhuman strength and be highly resistant to most physical attacks.[1] Some have retained their consciousness and intellect, and are capable of attacking with weapons and magic. They can be summoned by necromancers, liches, death knights, and dark rangers.

Many skeletons are found among the ranks of the Scourge, Forsaken and Knights of the Ebon Blade. In the past skeletons were notably used by the Old Horde and Horde of Draenor.


First War[]

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Main article: Skeleton (Warcraft I)

Uncontrolled spirits of the underworld sometimes roam the lands where their bodies were slain. Rotted cloth and flesh hangs from their bones as they seek revenge upon those who caused them to endure this eternal damnation. Held together by forces too dark for most to comprehend, they are more difficult to destroy than might be anticipated.[2]

These abominations are magical constructs made from the bones of the dead. They roam the forbidden lands and forgotten realms of Azeroth, seeking to take their anguish out on the living. They know only pain and death, and strive to embrace the living in their arms so they may drag them into the pits of hell.[3]

Second War[]

WC2BnE-logo This section concerns content related to Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness or its expansion Beyond the Dark Portal.
Main article: Skeleton (Warcraft II)

These unfortunate warriors gave their lives in battle only to be brought back into soulless servitude by arcane Orc magiks to fight for the Horde. Rising up from the battlefield, the Undead tirelessly hack and slash at their terrified enemies. These skeletal horrors retain none of the personality or emotions that permeated their living bodies and thus will do their master's bidding until they are destroyed. Only mortal creatures such as the Humans, Elves, Orcs, Trolls, and Ogres can be bound by these dark powers and be remade into the Undead.[4]

Third War[]

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

Called forth from the grave by the insidious necromancers, skeletal warriors are mindless slaves of the Lich King's powers. These lumbering fighters are highly resilient and tireless. When operating in great numbers, skeleton warriors serve as an invaluable part of the Scourge's combat force.[5]

In the early days of the Third War, skeletons, and other undead beings, were seen terrorizing the human villages of the kingdom of Lordaeron.[6]

During the Third War, Thrall encountered several skeletons in the Stonetalon Peak caverns.[7]

Corrupted Ancients were a group of in service of the Burning Legion that had skeletons in their ranks. They operated in Winterspring where they were defeated by the Sentinels led by Tyrande Whisperwind and Malfurion Stormrage, and in Felwood where they were encountered by Illidan Stormrage.

Drak'thul was haunted by skeletal orcs until Maiev Shadowsong destroyed them.[8]

The Tomb of the Ancients hosted skeletons led by Lord Talendar.

World of Warcraft[]

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Bestiary Thumb Skeleton

A strange darkness has recently engulfed the region of Duskwood, bringing out skeletons and other undead creatures from deep within the shadows. Though it is unclear whom the skeletons work for or whether they serve a greater purpose at all, it is alarmingly clear that they seek to destroy anything in their paths.[1]

Mordresh Fire Eye found in Razorfen Downs can be seen talking to and encouraging his brethren, holding a speech about how the undead Scourge will consume the whole of Kalimdor.

Bc icon This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.

Large concentration of skeletons are in the Dead Scar in the Ghostlands and in the Bone Wastes in Terokkar Forest and in Auchindoun.

Wrath of the Lich King[]

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

First introduced with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, a more menacing looking skeleton was added and mostly appeared in only Northrend until World of Warcraft: Cataclysm made them available in several other locations. These skeletons were used for the risen skeletons of vrykul, storm giants, and frost giants, but they seem to be used for any undead skeleton to give a stronger appearance.


Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.

When the Alliance and Horde fought for control of Andorhal, Araj the Summoner called skeletons to his aid through magical towers.[9][10]

Uldum temples contain skeletons.

Warlords of Draenor[]

Warlords of Draenor This section concerns content related to Warlords of Draenor.

Warlords of Draenor introduced a new skeleton model, mainly used for skeletal orcs.

During the encounter with an alternate version of Ner'zhul in the Shadowmoon Burial Grounds, Ner'zhul used tendrils of void to bind ritual bones together,[11] creating an army of the dead.

The Shadow Council warlock Ogzor the Necrothurge has spellcasting skeletons called Ogzor's Bones serving him. These spellcasting skeletons seem to have been imbued with necromantic knowledge as they are shown casting Shadow Bolts.

A pirate fleet of skeletal orcs, known as the Bonefleet, appear in southern Shadowmoon Valley during Hallow's End.

Battle for Azeroth[]

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

The individuals who fell at the Battle for Lordaeron were raised into skeletal Blighted Soldiers by the Forsaken Blight.

There are skeletal trolls, devilsaurs and raptors raised in Zandalar.

The Drust on Kul Tiras appear as skeletons.


Shadowlands This section concerns content related to Shadowlands.

In the Death Rising event skeletons are raised among the forces of the Scourge.

In the Shadowlands there are skeletons in Maldraxxus, in Torghast in the Maw and skeletal trolls in Ardenweald.




As a companion pet[]

In Warcraft III[]

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

Many skeletons can be summoned or are found as creeps.

Skeleton Warriors and Skeletal Mages can be summoned by Necromancers from corpses. Book of the Dead summons 4 Skeleton Warriors and 4 Skeleton Archers. Rod of Necromancy creates 2 Skeleton Warriors from a corpse.

In the RPG[]

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

Skeleton from the Monster Guide RPG book.

A skeletal creature is the reanimated bone structure of a formerly living creature, a type of undead. Necromantic magic powers the skeleton, forcing it back into a parody of its living self. Most skeletons are mindless automatons, servants of necromancers or other spellcasters, but a few possess some degree of sentience and free will. A skeleton is seldom garbed in anything more than the rotting remnants of any clothing or armor it was wearing when slain. A mindless skeleton does only what it is ordered to do; it can draw no conclusions of its own and has no iniative. Because of this limitation, its instructions must always be simple. A skeleton ordered to attack does so without pause and fights until destroyed.[12]


The risen are skeletal guardians created from the bones and corpses of dead warriors. Unlike a typical skeletal soldier, risen are exceptionally tough and resistant to damage. They also retain the fighting skills they had in life, so they make excellent guards, defenders, or skirmishers. Risen often accompany columns of ordinary skeletons into battle.

Risen typically wear plate or chain armor, although it is often ragged and poorly maintained. Some of the more powerful risen are garbed in magic armor and given magic weapons.

Although virtually mindless, a risen retains a high degree of cunning regarding combat, always employing feats to the best of its ability.[13]

Risen centaur warrior is a centaur that has risen in undeath into a skeletal creature.

Sapient skeletons[]

Every so often, a skeleton retains its intellect or develops sapience over long years of undeath. No one has been able to create this circumstance intentionally, nor does anyone understand why or how it happens.[14]

Notes and trivia[]

Blight Boar skeleton hand grave

Skeleton hands show out of graves and rock out to Blight Boar in Darkmoon Faire.

  • According to Crusader Kevin Frost, huge piles of skeleton skulls seem to keep the waves of undead away.[15]
  • Older skeletons use the animations of male Forsaken.
  • Skeletal draenei in Auchenai Crypts look like any other skeleton, even though in the loading screen art for the dungeon shows draenei skulls that look different.
  • Fire elemental Hell hounds have a skeletal appearance and Ragnaros and Warcraft III Firelords have a skull like face.
  • The dark energy that flows through the bodies of reanimated skeletons tends to accumulate primarily in their spine. Blood elf mages discovered a method of instilling this energy into a potion that boosts their magical abilities against the undead.[16]





Patch changes[]

  • Battle for Azeroth Patch 8.0.1 (2018-07-17): Models for dwarf, gnome, goblin, tauren and troll skeletons added, skeletal human model with the same animations as the regular human male added, skeletal devilsaur models added and skeletal monkey models added.
  • Warlords of Draenor Patch 6.2.0 (2015-06-23): Skeletal pit lord model added.
  • Warlords of Draenor Patch 6.0.2 (2014-10-14): Skeletal orc model added.


  1. ^ a b The World of Warcraft Townhall/Beastiary#Skeleton
  2. ^ Warcraft: Orcs & Humans manual, Creatures of the Land, Skeleton
  3. ^ Warcraft: Orcs & Humans manual, Monster Descriptions, Skeleton
  4. ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, Creatures of the Land, The Undead
  5. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual, pg. 42
  6. ^ Ravages of the Plague (WC3 Human)
  7. ^ The Oracle (WC3 Orc)
  8. ^ The Broken Isles (WC3 NightElf)
  9. ^ B [15-30] The Endless Flow
  10. ^ B [15-30] Araj the Summoner
  11. ^ Spell shadow chilltouch Ritual of Bones Deadly Important — Ner'zhul summons an army of shadow and death which marches across his platform, eradicating all life in its path. Tendrils of void bind the ritual bones together, inflicting 29250 to 30750 Shadow damage per second to those who cross their threshold.
  12. ^ Monster Guide, pg. 125-126
  13. ^ Monster Guide, pg. 114-115
  14. ^ Monster Guide, pg. 126
  15. ^ N [15-30] Add 'em to the Pile
  16. ^ H [1-30] Spinal Dust