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Artifact Series: Warrior

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Today, we examine the artifacts for the Warrior class, as well as the other weapons that might have fit the bill for their artifact roles.

 

We are going to be kicking off this new series with the plate wearing, warmongering Warriors. Whether they fight for honour, glory or to protect those they hold dear, they are truly bastions in the art of war. Do their artifacts match our description? Let's find out.

 

The three specialisations for the Warrior are loosely based on three principles:

  • Arms appeals to the idea of a skilled warrior, with the ability to use precise attacks to overwhelm their enemy. 
  • Fury denotes a more unmeasured approach, in which a combination of raw emotion and strength are used to carve their opponents in half.
  • Protection indicates a more stalwart warrior, one who wishes to protect those behind the shield they hold.

Arms Warrior - Stromkar, the Warbreaker

 

Our first artifact for the Warrior class is a 2-handed sword to be used by Arms Warriors. The story behind the sword is as follows:

 

"This greatsword was borne into combat by the barbarian warlord who first united humanity under a single banner, founding the nation of Arathor. A master tactician and strategist, King Thoradin went on to play a critical role in ending the Troll Wars. Later the sword was lost while it was being used to subdue a C'Thraxxi monstrosity in a forgotten tomb beneath Tirisfal. Abandoned and all but forgotten, Stromkar has been slowly drinking from the shadowy power there over thousands of years." (source)

 

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The original wielder of this weapon, King Thoradin was the leader of the Arathi humans; he was the founder of the nation of Arathor and conducted an alliance with the high elves when the Troll Wars began. His last known direct descendant is the great Warrior, Lord Anduin Lothar. 

 

King Thoradin is a figure known only to those with a deep interest in the Warcraft universe and lore. His sword, Stromkar, has never been mentioned before the introduction of the artifact weapons. While he was undoubtedly a great warrior, as well as the ancestor of one of the greatest warriors of all time, he is unknown to a huge number of the fan-base. 

 

Alternative artifacts for Arms

 

  1. The Axe of Cenarius

Long ago, during the War of the Ancients, the demigod Cenarius guided his student Malfurion Stormrage to create a magical wooden axe. This axe was intended for the great orc warrior, Broxigar the Red. It was created to be as sharp and dense as a diamond, with the ability to cut through any foe, regardless of their race or strength. 

 

Towards the end of the war, Broxigar is forced to dive through the portal created within the Well of Eternity and confront the lord of the Burning Legion himself, Sargeras. As his friends on the Azeroth side of the portal struggle to close it, Broxigar manages to harm the titan with his axe; while it is only a small wound, it is enough to allow them to close the portal and seal off the invasion. 

 

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Broxigar leaps through the portal within the Well of Eternity (source)

 

After bringing the axe back to the present with Nozdormu's permission, it is presented to Thrall by Krasus, or Korialstasz, disguised as an orc. This leads to it falling into the hands of a descendant of Broxigar, who eventually uses it to free Malfurion of the corruption in the Emerald Nightmare. 

 

As we can see from this storyline, the Axe of Cenarius is extremely important within some of the major events of Azeroth's history. Those that know any of the Night Elf lore have most likely heard of the Well, or heard of Malfurion. Broxigar himself was an extremely proficient warrior, with the ability to slaughter whatever foe was presented to him. When first entering the portal, Broxigar is said to have slain so many demons, he stood upon a mountain of their bodies. He refused to back down and continued to mock the demons, beckoning them to challenge him. Even after the titan Sargeras responded to his challenge, he continued to fight until his dying breath.

 

2. Quel'Zaram

 

While the name of the blade may not spark too many memories, the name of the wielder most likely will; this was the blade of Anduin Lothar, named by the great mage Medivh. The name itself refers to a Thalassian translation meaning "the high blade". This is extremely similar to the name given to the sword Quel'Serrar, meaning the same but in Darnassian. 

 

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Lothar and his legendary blade, Quel'Zaram (source)

 

This sword is a strong contender for the arms spot since the wielder was such a proficient swordsman. Anduin Lothar, dubbed the "Lion of Azeroth", was a knight-champion during the First War, going on to become the supreme commander of the Alliance in the Second War. He was slain in battle by the Warchief, Ogrim Doomhammer. 

 

The sword itself is said to respect the strength of its wielder and will draw upon innate power in order to manifest power within the weapon. Since there is such a huge level of respect for power between warriors, it would seem like the player, becoming the leader of their class, would be the perfect wielder for a weapon that respects strength.

 

Fury Warrior - Warswords of Valajar

 

For the fury warriors, we have a sword with a backstory that mimics their bloodthirsty nature:

 

"In ages past, the titanic watcher Keeper Odyn betrayed the sorceress Helya, killing her and twisted her spirit into a spectral Val'kyr. He forged this pair of swords for the mightiest of his storm-forged Valarjar, but Helya stole the swords and infused them with a portion of her rage. She then gave them to her own champion, who used them to hunt the greatest of heroes and drag their souls away to serve in Helheim. These swords stir their owner into unrelenting and punishing attacks that overcome a target's defenses and leave no opening for counterattacks." (source)

 

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On first glance, one can immediately notice a problem with this sword: the size. Fury artifacts are going to have to cater to both Titan's Grip and Single-Minded Fury warriors, so the sword will have to represent both a 1-handed and 2-handed sword. The Warswords seem to be on the small side for the Titan's Grip warriors and the community has already voiced their disappointment with this. 

 

The story behind the swords themselves is actually a very good one for fury. It follows a tale of anger, rage, revenge and of course, killing, all of which are key components for the fury warrior. At the core of the fury warrior is the idea of emotion, channeling that rage through the weapons they wield. The idea of a relentless attack from these swords is perfectly in-line with the idea of a fury warrior's assault.

 

Alternative Artifacts for Fury

 

  1. Shalamayne

This is a weapon with a backstory like no other; if you have ever played World of Warcraft, you have most definitely seen the owner of this blade. Shalamayne belongs to the King of Stormwind, Varian Wrynn. 

 

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King Varian holding his sword, Shalamayne.

 

To truly understand the story behind the sword, we need to understand a portion of Varian's past. Varian was split into two polar opposite personalities by the magic of Onyxia, the black dragon. They were separated and led different lives for a period, based on the traits of the whole Varian they had inherited. While one of the Varians become the champion of the gladiator ring, Lo'Gosh, the other was returned to Stormwind to be further enchanted by Onyxia, who was disguised as Lady Prestor. 

 

Upon realisation of what happened to them both, Jaina helped them to discover the truth and granted them both a sword. The two swords were of ancient elvish decent, Shalla'tor the Shadow Render and Ellemayne the Reaver. 

 

They go to battle Lady Onyxia and quickly find themselves in a heated fight, struggling to win. Onyxia is equally taxed and decides to try and kill one of the Varian embodiments; she quickly finds that her spell has backfired, since the Varians take the blow together as one. The magic instead fuses them back into one single entity, as well as the swords they are holding. The true Varian grabs his newly combined sword, Shamalayne and slays Onyxia. 

 

Now, Varian is undisputed as a true warrior. His skills within the gladiator ring shows his abilities, as well as having the mind of a true tactician. His bravery in battle is supported by the spirit of the demigod, Goldrinn, who favours and inhabits the Lo'Gosh half of Varian. The demigod himself embodies the ideals of ferocity and an unfaltering will within battle. These are traits that are vital to a warrior of Varian's stature, and it is easy to see why Goldrinn chose him. 

 

While there is an argument to be made that Shalamayne is a 2-handed sword, the true forms of the swords are still present. During the Legion trailer, we see Varian separate the swords and use them as 2 weapons. This means the swords can be definitely be separated and therefore used as the Fury artifact (You can check out the trailer with Shalamayne being split here). The swords alone are also big enough to be used as a 2-handed weapon, hence disregarding the problem of an artifact for both types of Fury.

 

Protection Warrior - Scale of the Earth Warder

 

What better to shield yourself than a scale from one of the most powerful beings to have ever lived? Here's the backstory:

 

"An impenetrable shield crafted from a scale of the black Dragon Aspect, Neltharion the Earth-Warder, before the Old Gods' corruption overcame him. The formidable vrykul king Magnar Icebreaker carried this shield into combat and won victory after victory in the face of grim odds. When he finally fell in battle, it was due to treachery by servants of the Val'kyr Helya. The shield is now entombed with King Magnar's body in the Path of Kings in Stormheim." (source)

 

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The Dragon Aspects were granted their powers by the titans after they defeated the proto-dragon, Galakrond. The titans bestowed upon them the powers that they would need to cultivate and aid life on the world of Azeroth. There were five Aspects when it first began, with Neltharion being granted power over the earth and the "deep places" of Azeroth. 

 

Little did they know that he was slowly to be corrupted by the whispering of the Old God N'zoth; he became obsessed with his vision of a world of dragons and sought to eradicate the other races of Azeroth. When the other dragon flights attempted to stop him, he nearly completely destroyed the Blue Dragonflight, which eventually drove Malygos (the Aspect of Magic) to madness. 

 

After battling Deathwing and seeing the extent of his power in the Cataclysm expansion, it is more than likely that we are all familiar with just how powerful he is and just how irritating it is to harm his outer scales... Looking at you, Spine of Deathwing. 

 

The wielder of this artifact is the great King of the Vrykul, Magnar Icebreaker. While he is not a character that has emerged in the lore before, he still fits the bill of the warrior rather well. In Legion, Blizzard seem to be pushing towards a Vrykul/Warrior match-up, with our class order hall being based in the Halls of Valor. The fact that he died via treachery seems to imply that this great warrior, with his mighty shield, could only be defeated through foul play. Through a trial of combat, the warrior wielding this impenetrable shield will be able to weather whatever attack is thrown his way. A fitting weapon for a Protection Warrior.

 

Alternative Artifacts for Protection

 

Throughout lore, there haven't been many great warriors that have used shields. Most of them have followed the route of either dual-wielding weapons or using a large single weapon. 

 

Really though, do we need an alternative to this artifact? Just look at these skins:

 

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Do we really need something else? I haven't been happier to be a Protection Warrior in a while. Good job, Blizzard!

 

If you think you've got any other ideas, make sure to let me know. Next time, Death Knights.

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