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WoWDec 6, 2022 2:00 pm CT

Who is Sabellian? Why would he have any claim to the Black Dragonflight?

By Dragonflight, all of the titular Dragonflights have an established leader except the Black Dragonflight. There are two figures currently contending for that leadership spot: the Black dragon we’ve been working with off and on since Cataclysm, Wrathion, and a not-so-new face — but one who hasn’t stepped into the spotlight in World of Warcraft until now — Sabellian.

Who is this Black dragon? Where have we met him before? And why would he have a claim as a Dragon Aspect?

Sabellian was both Deathwing’s son and his second-in-command

Sabellian was a trusted lieutenant and son of Neltharion, the aspect of the Black Dragonflight better known to us as Deathwing. To secure the future of the Black Dragonflight, Deathwing devised a plan. Sabellian and a party of Black dragons, using the Jeweled Scepter of Sargeras, brought clutches of Black dragon eggs to Draenor. They attempted to settle in Gorgrond and Frostfire Ridge, assuming that since they’d brought them away from the enemies of Deathwing on Azeroth, they would now be relatively safe. Then, they were attacked by the massive Gronn. The ensuing carnage earned the leader of the Gronn, Gruul, the nickname the Dragonkiller. Deathwing returned to Azeroth, giving them all up for lost, but Sabellian stayed behind on Draenor to try to protect the eggs.

Draenor was soon torn apart by the Orcs — using the Scepter Sabellian and his allies brought to the planet — becoming the shattered Outland. The Black dragon eggs that weren’t destroyed by the Gronn were infused with the energies of the Twisting Nether, and gave rise to the Netherwing dragons. Even with all of this loss, Sabellian didn’t give up, continuing to lead the fight against Gruul. As adventurers from Azeroth came to Outland, he resided in Blade’s Edge Mountains in his humanoid visage Baron Sablemane. Sabellian gave players quests to kill the Gronn, leading up to the Dragonkiller himself.

That is where players met and interacted with him. In terms of the story in WoW, Sabellian has been on Draenor, then Outland, for roughly 32 years. In the meantime, he also found a way to cleanse the corruption that plagued the Black dragons, removing the Old God influence that tainted the flight.

And so, with the Dragon Isles opened up, he has returned to his home planet — and his home isles — more than ready to reclaim his father’s throne as his own.

Sabellian’s rivalry with Wrathion

When Wrathion was first hatched from his non-corrupted egg, he already knew what must be done. As the only non-tainted Black dragon, the others, still affected by the Old Gods, had to be dealt with. He bribed Rogues to put down every last Black dragon on Azeroth — except himself, naturally — as they were all irretrievably corrupted. This included killing Wrathion’s own father, Deathwing. The Rogue did his dirty work as requested.

And so every black dragon on Azeroth was killed. But, there was a problem: Wrathion didn’t know there were any other Black dragons. Culling completed, he assumed he was the last of his kind. He certainly had no idea he had a half-brother gathering power and followers in Outland. With the the aspects going back to the Dragon Isles, and with the Black Dragonflight leaderless, it’s only fitting that Deathwing’s child step up and reclaim his vacant throne. Since Wrathion made sure there were no other living Black dragons on Azeroth, he was sure he’d be the only one in line for the seat.

Which is why he was surprised when another Black dragon, also claiming to be Deathwing’s son, showed up.

Sabellian in Dragonflight

When we first met him, Sabellian seemed like he was on the ropes. He’d lost a vast majority of those precious eggs and almost all his Black dragon backup to the Gronn, reduced to begging adventurers to kill what he couldn’t. However, in the ensuing years, Sabellian bent the Blade’s Edge Mountains to his will with the few followers and eggs he was able to save. This all comes out after his return to the Waking Shores, when he helped Wrathion recover the Obsidian Citadel.

But, now the rivalry starts in earnest — which one will lead the flight now?

For now, players will earn reputation with each of these two contenders to the Black Dragon Aspect possibilities, perhaps leading to one of them taking the throne.

So who deserves the title? Should the new aspect be the recently hatched — but uncorrupted — whelp who set out to destroy the others and claim the title of the Black Prince through elimination of competition? Maybe a better choice would be the more experienced, millennia-old lieutenant of Deathwing, who figured out how to rid himself and his followers of corruption without resorting to murder. They both have their faults, and we’re going to continue to explore their relationship as we explore the Dragon Isles in kind.

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