The Warcraft Lore series is a collection of articles delving deep into the history of many important Warcraft figures and events. Since World of Warcraft’s story is ongoing in the famous MMORPG and in some new novel publications, I will try to constantly update these articles. My main sources are Warcraft books and comics, Warcraft 1 / 2 /3, World of Warcraft, WoWWiki, WoWpedia, YouTube and some theory-crafting sites. The following article will inform you about Mal’Ganis.
In the end of the article you can find a mini Glossary that may prove helpful if you are new to Warcraft lore. Let me know in the comments about any errors or inconsistencies you may find. Feedback is greatly appreciated. Enjoy!
Prologue (Pre Warcraft Era)
During the attack of the Alliance on Outland, a terrified Ner’zhul opened multiple portals to other worlds in order to escape. Upon entering one of the portals, he was captured by Kil’jaeden. The eredar tortured the poor shaman until he broke his spirit completely. Eventually, Ner’zhul agreed to serve the Legion once more and he was resurrected as a spectre. Five dreadlords (Tichondrius, Mal’Ganis, Balnazzar, Detheroc and Varimathras) bound Ner’Zhul’s spirit to a set of armor creating the first Lich King. In the same time they constructed a fortress in Icecrown (later known as Icrecrown Citadel) to serve as a jail.
The jail of the Lich King
The Lich King was originally created for the sole purpose of weakening Azeroth’s defenses, prior to the Third War. Mal’Ganis and his demonic brethren were also dispatched to Azeorth to hasten the Lich King’s task by any means necessary. However, the clever spirit of Ner’zhul managed to trick the dreadlords into allowing him to hurl Frostmourne out of the Frozen Throne. Many years later, Arthas found the cursed sword, setting Ner’zul’s revenge plan in action.
Mal’Ganis is a Dreadlord. Dreadlords, commonly known as Nathrezim, are intelligent and cunning demons who usually act as intelligence agents, interrogators and emissaries for the fiery lords of the Burning Legion, notably Kil’jaeden, as well as tacticians and lieutenants upon the field of battle in times of war. While they are powerful foes on the battlefield, they prefer to turn nations against each other through manipulation and guile. In addition, should they die, their spirit returns to the astral plane known as Twisting Nether. They die permanently only if they are slain inside the Twisting Nether.
A group of Dreadlords
The Rivalry with Arthas (Warcraft 3 Era)
We first hear for the dreadlord Mal’Ganis in Andhoral. While Prince Arthas and Jaina Proudmoore investigated some rumors of plague they encountered Kel’Thuzard (before he was resurrected as a Lich). The cunning necromancer, who was devoted to the Lich King, convinced Prince Arthas that Mal’Ganis and not the Lich King was behind the plague. The more people the plague killed, the more obsessed Arthas was with killing the dreadlord.
Kel’Thuzad informs Arthas about Mal’Ganis
The Culling of Stratholme (Warcraft 3 Era)
Arthas managed to finally meet Mal’Ganis at Stratholme. However, when they arrived at Stratholme, Arthas found out that the grain has already been distributed and that the people of the town will soon become undead. In one of the most important Warcraft moments, he ordered Uther and his knights to purge the entire city, killing everyone. Uther strongly disagreed, asking the young prince if he had lost his mind and stating that he would not follow such an order even if Arthas were his king.
Arthas meets Mal’Ganis for the first time in Stratholme
Arthas proceeded to relieve Uther of his command and suspended his paladins from service. Half of the forces were against this butchery and left with Uther, including Jaina. The rest of the soldiers followed the prince into the slaughtering of the infected citizens. When they slayed every single citizen in Stratholme, Arthas confronted Mal’Ganis only for the demon to escape via a portal and teleport to Northrend, the northest region in Azeroth and a place of eternal winter.
Northrend (Warcraft 3 Era)
As expected, Arthas took the royal fleet and sailed north. With the help of his dwarf friend Muradin, he managed to get access to Frostmourne. When he wielded the sword he began to hear a strange voice inside his head and at the same time, an ice shard struck Muradin rendering him unconscious although in Warcraft 3 it looks like it killed him. Leaving Muradin behind, the evil prince proceeded to face Mal’Ganis.
The moment that the Prince took up Frostmourne, he was enslaved by the Lich King. This was exactly what Mal’Ganis had planned all along. The dreadlord approached the Prince to mock him about his fate. However, Ner’Zhul was finally able to extract revenge from his torturer and he ordered Arthas to slay Mal’Ganis. Much to the dreadlord’s surprise, the fallen prince pierced the dreadlord’s black heart with Frostmourne.
Arthas claims Frostmourne and proceeds to kill Mal’Ganis
Frostmourne has the ability to absorb life from its victims and to drain the soul of anyone whom it connects to. Unfortunately, the dreadlords had ensured that their spirits can not be absorbed by the sword. Therefore, Arthas was incapable of consuming Mal’Ganis’s soul, which instead returned to the Twisting Nether where he would be later reborn in a new body.
Alternate Timeline Mal’Ganis (Wrath of the Lich King Expansion)
A version of Mal’Ganis in a different timeline can be found in the Caverns of Time. The dreadlord is the final boss of a past version of Stratholme. This Stratholme is a 5-man dungeon in World of Warcraft that became available during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. In this scenario, players help Arthas defeat a member of the Infinite Dragonflight and then pursue Mal’Ganis. However, when the demon lord is taken to 1% health, he teleports out of the city after telling Arthas to meet him in Northrend.
Alternate timeline Mal’Ganis in the Caverns of Time
Barean Westwind (Wrath of the Lich King Expansion)
The “real” Mal’Ganis returned to Azeroth in the guise of Barean Westwind. He immediately proceeded to take control of the Scarlet Onslaught, much like his brother Balnazzar had taken control of the Scarlet Crusade with the body of Saidan Dathrohan in the past. However, the Knights of the Ebon Blade forced him to reveal his true identity in Onslaught Harbor. For a second time Mal’Ganis fled back to the Twisting Nether, looking for another victim to possess.
Mal’Ganis disguised as Barean Westwind
Broken Shore Battle (Legion Expansion)
When Gul’dan prepares to attack the army of Azeroth in the Broken Shore, he begins to cast a summoning spell outside the Tomb of Sargeras. When the ritual is complete, several of the Burning Legion’s lieutenants appear next to him, Mal’Ganis included. Strangely, Mal’Ganis has not appeared since then and his current location is unknown.
Gul’dan uses his demonic magic to summon demons
I plan on making one big Warcraft lore post per week and maybe another article mid-week (hopefully some videos in the future). If you enjoyed the article and want to support me, feel free to throw a like on my site’s Facebook Page and a follow on Reddit. Thanks for reading!
If you want, you can also check my other Warcraft Lore articles. If you are new to Warcraft lore, you can find a Glossary below.
Arthas – Prince of Lordaeron. Later, his addiction for vengeance led him to merge with the Lich King.
Burning Legion – One of the groups of bad guys in Warcraft. They are led by the fallen titan Sargeras.
Gul’Dan – A powerful Orc warlock.
Kel’Thuzard – Once a talented Kirin Tor mage, he became a Lich and the right hand of the Lich King.
Kil’Jaeden – One of the strongest Eredar. He is Sargeras’ highest ranking lieutenant along with Archimonde.
Northrend – The “northest” place on Azeroth.
Onslaught Harbor – A harbor in Northrend.
Infinite Dragonflight – This is pretty complex. They are basically a group of bronze drakes that mess up the parallel universes and the timelines.
Scarlet Crusade / Onslaught – A fanatic organization with the sole puprose to exorcise the Undead from the lands of Azeroth.
Stratholme – A human city located in the northern part of the Eastern Kingdoms.
The Third War – One of the greatest four wars in Azeroth. It was between the allies forces of the Horde, Night Elves and Humans versus the Undead led by Archimonde.
Tomb of Sargeras – The avatar of the fallen titan is jailed in an underwater tomb that Gul’dan managed to pull out of the water.
Twisting Nether – Something like an Abyss. The spirits of the Nathrezim go there to prevent them from permanently dieing.
Uther Lightbringer – One of the first five paladins. A very skilled warrior and healer ultimately met his end in the hands of his student, Arthas.
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