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WoW ClassicJan 19, 2022 10:00 am CT

The lore behind the Battle for Mount Hyjal raid

The history and lore of Warcraft has usually been defined by eras of war. As the portal from Draenor opened onto the Kingdom of Stormwind, The First War began as a conflict between Orcs and Humans. The Second War expanded the Orcish Horde and the Alliance of Lordaeron, encompassing all of the Eastern Kingdoms. Then the Third War grew even larger — the outside threat of the Burning Legion invaded Azeroth. The Lich King, demons, and undead threatened all civilizations on the planet, and the two warring sides would have to team up against a common foe, culminating in the ultimate fight — Battle for Mount Hyjal. Of course there were expansions regarding the Frozen Throne, but that fight on Mount Hyjal is what ended the the Third Great War.

But what was this battle about? Who were the people and factions involved? And why did a fight from Warcraft III show up as a raid in The Burning Crusade?

The history leading up to the Battle for Mount Hyjal

Before the Great Sundering 10,000 years ago, there was a Well of Eternity, a giant pool of the purest arcane water. This would have been the only thing powerful enough to summon all of the Burning Legion to Azeroth. When the Well of Eternity was destroyed, that should have been the end of the Burning Legion’s threat to Azeroth, but Illidan Stormrage used magic vials to store some of the water from the Well of Eternity. He used these vials to create a new, second Well of Eternity atop Mount Hyjal.

Alexstrasza, to protect the new Well of Eternity, planted an acorn from the now-lost Mother Tree, G’Hanir, and grew the first World Tree, Nordrassil. This tree was blessed by three of the dragon aspects — Alexstrasza, Ysera, and Nozdormu. They also tied the tree to the Night Elves, so that they would protect it. The blessings gave the Night Elves strength, vitality, access to the Emerald Dream, and immortality.

And then, for nearly 10,000 years, the place sat isolated from outside intervention. While the world outside warred and raged, The Night Elves took care of both tree and well. The High Elves left and went to the Eastern Kingdoms, while all the other issues like Trolls, Humans, and Orc invasions happened. The Night Elves weren’t even involved in the Second War. They weren’t pulled in until the Third War, when everything started spreading to their continent.

The Third War and the march on Hyjal

There is a lot to the Third War. Grom and the Orcs drank more of Mannoroth’s blood, then Grom killed Mannoroth, making him a hero. The Lich King was created, which also introduced the Scourge, and of course, Arthas. Warcraft III was a story-driven game that influenced a lot of what went into WoW.

Medivh was killed back in the First War, but he was the Last Guardian and a powerful mage, allowing him to live on in a spirit form. He was able to approach powerful people and speak to them, letting them know he mas the one who opened portals to bring Orcs to Azeroth, and now demons were able to make their way there by the same means. He approached Jaina Proudmoore and told her to go to Kalimdor — something big was going down. He led her to Thrall, sat them down and said it was time for the Alliance and Horde to work together. Then, he brought in Tyrande and told her it’s time for the Night Elves to stop isolating from the rest of the world. The three of them would be teaming up to stop this cataclysmic threat.

Archimonde the Defiler was there on Azeroth, and he had lots of demons at his command already — but that wasn’t enough. If he was going to burn that planet down he needed more, and what’s the best way to summon an entire Burning Legion of demons? The Well of Eternity. There was a single road up to Nordrassil, and Archimonde and his lieutenants were going to have to take it. Tyrande woke up her husband Malfurion, who had been off in the Emerald Dream, and he came up with a plan, but he was going to need time to execute it, so the mortal races would need to band together to slow down the Burning Legion.

The army of the mortal races

This new united force set up three camps along the road. The first was led by Jaina and consisted of refugees of Lordaeron, dwarves of Khaz Modan and Aerie Peak, high elves from Quel’Thalas, and members of the 7th Legion. They had done what they could against the undead and demons, and suffered all the losses they could take when Archimonde himself showed up. Jaina teleported the few survivors to safety.

The second camp was Horde Orcs led by Thrall, as well as Hamuul Runetotem and Tauren Druids, having recently joined him, and the Darkspear Trolls. Broxigar led a group of warriors here as well.

The final camp was the Night Elves Sentinels, Druids, Dryads, and Keepers of the Grove. At last, the time was right, and Malfurion’s plan was enacted. As Archimonde reached the World Tree — probably to move it out of the way to reach the Well of Eternity underneath — Malfurion blew his horn. Thousands of wisps came forth and, using the enchantments from the dragon aspects on Nordrassil, they blew up the tree. Acting as a large bomb, they were able to destroy Archimonde, and the demons and undead in the area. They struck a crippling blow to the Burning Legion. In the process, the World Tree — granting access to the Emerald Dream and immortality to the Night Elves — was destroyed.

Who do you fight in the Battle for Mount Hyjal raid?

Battle for Mount Hyjal is a five boss raid. The final boss is Archimonde. He was an Eredar — the precursor to the Draenei — on Argus some 25,000 years ago. He worked as an apprentice to a Mage named Thal’kiel. Thal’kiel had an order that served him, the Wakeners. While exploring other forms of magic, Thal’kiel found the fel and demons. He took this discovery to the leaders of the Eredar, Velen and Kil’jaden, and thought they would be interested in it. To his surprise, they weren’t, but that wasn’t going to deter him, Thal’kiel was going through with it anyway, with the Wakeners supporting him.

All the Wakeners except one — Archimonde. He betrayed his master, telling Velen and Kil’jaden. They slaughtered Thal’kiel and the Wakeners, and Archimonde kept his head as a trophy. But that head spoke to him, and encouraging him to keep investigating the fel. That led to bringing in Sargeras, who offered Archimonde, Kil’jaden, and Velen power and knowledge. Archimonde had desired power before, wanting to exceed his former master, and easily accepted. Kil’jaden too was on board. Velen was not, took the people that would follow him, and fled. The rest is the history of the Burning Legion and the Draenei.

The other four bosses are lieutenants in the Burning Legion.

Rage Winterchill

Rage Winterchill was a lich. He was never loyal to the Lich King, but always served directly under the Burning Legion. He was raised by a demon at the behest of Kil’jaden. He had demonic and ice power, and not simply undead powers, given the source of how he was raised into his form.


Anetheron was a dreadlord. He was a personal guard to Archimonde, and among the dreadlords was second only to Tichondrius. However, Tichondrius died at the hands of Illidan shortly before the Battle for Mount Hyjal, moving Anetheron up the heirarchy. After his death, Mephistroth would have been promoted to this spot.


Kaz’rogal is a Doomlord. His title is Left Hand of Kil’Jaden and Archimonde. Beyond this battle, Kaz’rogal himself doesn’t really appear anywhere. He seems to be a relatively expendable archetypical Doomlord.


Azgalor served Mannoroth until his death by Grom. Mannoroth gave him the two-bladed sword that he wields, named Spite. The sword is forged with the spirit of a lesser demon, and the weapon tries to force its wielder to spread blight and destruction. Azgalor was the leader of the ground forces on the attack of Hyjal. During the final part of the battle, he was a force to be reckoned with, but ultimately was destroyed by the explosion of Nordrassil.

illidan black temple, old model

But why is the Battle for Mount Hyjal in World of Warcraft?

There are some quests leading up to the Battle for Mount Hyjal for attunement that mention the Infinite Dragonflight and their attempt to mess with history. The Caverns of Time generally has dungeons and raids where the Infinite are trying to change history, and players must travel back in time to preserve events as they were. However, in this raid there are no Infinite Dragons, and with a few exceptions — like bosses dying when defeated and never teaming up — this is just a replay of the events from Warcraft III. When asked, there was a blue post from a Blizzard dev that confirmed that the Caverns of Time is a weird place. This was just a bubble in time to experience the history of Azeroth — and get loot.

The reason for this particular event and when it comes out is significant. First, this raid took place during The Burning Crusade, and is a major fight against the Burning Legion. Kil’Jaden was going to be an end boss, so this was as good an excuse as any to give players a chance to fight the other big bad from the Burning Legion. Secondly, while not explicitly explained within WoW, right before the incident on Hyjal is when Tyrande freed Illidan from the prison he was trapped in for creating the second Well of Eternity. This whole incident directly relates to the villain of the other, same-tiered raid, The Black Temple.

At the time, this seemed like a hint of things to come — the Caverns of Time to be used as a way to relive the past history of the Warcraft universe, but with updated graphics. However, this was the only raid that was truly intended to a revisit to a moment of the previous Warcraft games without new WoW story attached.

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