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Lore > WoWNov 30, 2015 5:00 pm CT

Know Your Lore: Death Knight Artifact lore in Legion

What does Death Knight Artifact lore tell us? What secrets of foul necromancy do these powerful weapons unlock? What will the Knights of the Ebon Blade do with such amazing power, and more importantly, considering all they’ve already lost, what will they have to sacrifice to attain them?

The Blood Artifact is fascinating, and it raises some interesting questions about the Burning Legion, but for my money the real leaders for lore weight here are between the Unholy Artifact Apocalypse and the Frost Artifact swords Icebringer and Frostreaper. They’re just very significant, tied right into Warcraft’s past and present, and they promise the continuation of stories we’ve been waiting to see more of for years.

So let’s take a look at the armory of the unspeakable, the Artifact weapons of the Death Knight — if you want Blood, Frost, or Unholy, they’ve got it.


Maw of the Damned

From the official site:

An ancient Legion axe forged from a metal that drains its victims’ vital energies. The soul of its original creator is trapped within and cursed with unending hunger. For more than a thousand years, an old and cunning mo’arg has used the axe to butcher uprisings and consume the life force of the Legion’s foes. Over its long and infamous history, the weapon has made its demonic bearer extraordinarily powerful.

This is one that’s just screaming for more details. Who made it? Was it some ancient Eredar, like the poor soul who ended up the Skull of the Man’ari? How do we get it? I presume we kill the guy who has it now.What this makes me think about, however, is that the Legion seems to be crafting a whole mess of absolutely horrific weapons, weapons of singular power, weapons you don’t hand to foot soldiers. Many of the Artifacts we’ve seen so far are resulting from the Legion, and all three of the Artifacts we’ll see for Death Knights are in one way or another part of this Legion arms program. And these are very much not just weapons you hand some Felguard or what have you. The Maw of the Damned is described as ancient, and we’re told it’s been used for over a thousand years to slaughter the enemies of the Legion.

This seems to fly in the face of the Legion as a regimented demonic army. Why does the Legion need so many weapons for champions? How many does it have?

I’ll bring this one up while discussing the next Artifact.


Icebringer and Frostreaper (Blades of the Fallen Prince)

From the official site:

Crafted by the Burning Legion to corrupt the world of Azeroth, the soul-stealing runeblade Frostmourne was shattered by Ashbringer atop Icecrown Citadel. Countless souls were freed from the broken blade, but others were not so fortunate. Today the shards of Frostmourne can be recrafted and infused with even more power. However, the spirits still trapped within must first be subdued and bent to the wielder’s will.

Okay, for starters, the Burning Legion has a heck of a skunk works for hideously evil weapons. Both the Maw of the Damned and Frostmourne (and other weapons we’ve already talked about like the Deadwind Harvester or the Scepter of Sargeras) were forged by the Legion. I don’t feel like I have to talk much about Frostmourne itself, but I’m interested to find out where the shards of the weapon went after the sword got broken, and how we’re going to go about re-crafting them into two swords like this. Is this why Bolvar is said to make an appearance in Legion? (Alex Afrasiabi said as much during the Q&A panel.)

I’ve read some spoilers (that I won’t be sharing here) about Bolvar, his role in Legion, and how he relates to these weapons. All I can really say is that the Death Knight who uses these is holding Frostmourne in his hands, so don’t be surprised if there’s a big cost that comes with using them.



From the official site:

Vampiric demons known as nathrezim forged this ancient sword, which brings with it violence, plagues, and death. Apocalypse soon earned a horrific reputation in the hands of a Tirisgarde mage who couldn’t control its destructive energies. In time the sword was seized by the malevolent Dark Riders: servants of Medivh, the corrupted Guardian of Tirisfal. They hid the blade in the catacombs under his home, the tower of Karazhan.

Okay, now we have a Nathrezim forged weapon. The Nathrezim are also known as the Dreadlords, and if you remember Balnazzar, Mal’Ganis, Mephistroth or Varimathras, you’ve seen a Dreadlord. Are the Nathrezim the ones who forge all of the Legion’s hideously powerful and evil two handed weapons? Was the Maw of the Damned once a Nathrezim? Considering this is a gigantic two hander, why did that Mage even try and control it? It’s also interesting to me that like the Deadwind Harvester, this one ended up underneath Karazhan — indicating that Medivh was building quite the arsenal of evil weapons when he was possessed by Sargeras.

In and of itself that’s new — we haven’t heard much out of the Dark Riders since their quest for the Scythe of Elune. Now it turns out that was hardly the only Artifact they were hunting for. Why did Sargeras/Medivh want this weapon, or indeed, any of the artifacts he collected?

Just in case you missed them, don’t forget to check out our coverage of the other Artifact weapons we’ll be seeing in Legion:

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