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Artifact Series: Death Knight

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In the second installment of our artifact series, we are going to be looking at our favourite ex-champions of the Lich King: the Death Knights.

 

After being created by the Lich King to combat the Argent Dawn, the Death Knights of the Ebon Blade broke free from his hold and followed the Highlord Darion Morgraine to freedom. They fought for revenge after being forced to commit countless horrors under the control of the Lich King; once they had won vengeance, they slowly began to merge with the Alliance and Horde worlds of the living.

 

The three specialisations that the Death Knight can choose from are as follows:

  • Blood is concerned with the manipulation and corruption of life energy in an attempt to heal injuries sustained by the Death Knight. 
  • Frost utilises a strong array of ice-based attacks to deliver a vicious assault of both magical and weapon-based attacks.
  • Unholy is a master of plagues and diseases, ensuring victims of their wrath incur a great deal of pain as their undead minions join the battle.

Blood Death Knight - Maw of the Damned

 

The first artifact on the table today is the tanking weapon for the Blood Death Knights. The backstory for this menacing axe is as follows:

 

"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." (source)

 

IlOndHF.jpg

 

The backstory behind this weapon might be slightly strange to those of you that are unfamiliar with who the real wielder was. The Mo'arg race are part of the Burning Legion main army ranks; they are fiendishly clever, with incredible engineering and smithing abilities. They are known to modify their own bodies in a similar fashion to the Abominations of the Scourge, attempting to make themselves stronger through mechanical parts.

 

It is slightly odd that Blizzard has chosen one of the Mo'arg to wield the Death Knight artifact, since they are generally not a huge part of the Legion. While we saw them throughout Outland, there is no racial leader for them and they are not a particularly notable part of the Legion, like the Dreadlords, for example.

 

The rest of the concept seems like an excellent fit for the Blood idea of draining life and manipulating it into power, but the choice of wielder is a very strange one.

 

Alternative Artifacts for Blood Death Knights

 

  1. The Axe of Deathbringer Saurfang

For those of you that have ever played on the Horde side, I am sure you have heard the name Saurfang uttered somewhere in the lore. High Overlord Varok Saurfang is known as one of the legendary warriors to serve the Horde in all three of the wars. He was the brother of the legendary fighter Broxigar, mentioned in our Warrior Artifact coverage

 

Varok's son, Dranosh, sought to match his father's amazing achievements and was a fierce warrior himself. He led the Horde forces against the Scourge in the Battle of Angrathar the Wrathgate, but found himself a victim of the power of Frostmourne. He was re-made in the image of the Lich King as Deathbringer Saurfang, the fourth killable boss in Icecrown Citadel. 

 

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The majority of his abilities revolve around the concept of a Blood Death Knight, with him summoning a number of blood-based adds, as well as using an ability called Blood Link to increase his damage and energy based on draining life. I think he really fits the bill for a Blood artifact wielder, but we did see a weapon similar to his drop in the raid. 

 

There could have been a weapon left behind by him that is picked up by one of the Alliance leaders, or perhaps, after he dies, Varok collects the axe when retrieving his son's body. 

 

Frost Death Knight - The Blades of the Fallen Prince

 

It seems Frost Death Knights are going to be pushed into using 1-handed weapons only with these two swords, Icebringer and Frostreaper. Here's the story behind them:

 

"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." (source)

 

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For those that weren't present during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, the Lich King is most likely still known to you by name. While the man inside the Lich King's armour was Crown Prince Arthas Menethil, the Lich King itself is actually the spirit of the orc shaman, Ner'zhul. 

 

The old orc had gone back on a blood pact he had created with the demon lord Kil'jaeden and had attempted to flee his home planet of Draenor. Kil'jaeden found him and destroyed his mortal body, torturing his spirit and then encasing him within a block of ice in the Twisting Nether. He twisting the soul of Ner'zhul until the orc no longer remained and the Lich King's spirit was born. 

 

It was Arthas that eventually found the runeblade Frostmourne and took it to the Frozen Throne, placing the helmet upon his head and taking up the mantle as the Lich King. He used his weapon to harvest the souls of those he killed, growing stronger with every spirit it drank from. 

 

During the fight against Arthas, we see his runeblade shattered by Ashbringer, wielded by the great Paladin, Highlord Tirion Fordring. Until now, we never knew what happened to the shards of Frostmourne and what they were intended for. 

 

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Tirion shatters Frostmourne atop Icecrown Citadel

 

Personally, I think this is simply a fantastic back-story for the Frost weapon. The Lich King is the iconic Death Knight and there is no better weapon for a Death Knight to wield than Frostmourne. As with the Protection Warrior artifact, I feel like this is simply a step-above the artifact for the other two specialisations. 

 

Well done, Blizzard.

 

Unholy Death Knight - Apocalypse

 

Apocalypse. A fantastic name, most certainly fitting of the Death Knight theme, but can the story behind it measure up to the name? Find out below:

 

"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." (source)

 

 

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The sword itself radiates the idea of disease and pestilence with this current skin; the teeth around it almost seems like its hungering to infect those it comes into contact with.

 

For those of you that are perhaps unfamiliar with the lore of the Burning Legion, this sword was crafted by the Nathrezim, also known in Common tongue as the Dreadlords. The most famous of these dreadlords is Tichondrius, their leader, who was the contact between Kil'Jaeden and Arthas when he first became a Death Knight. They are beings of extreme power with ability to regenerate their physical form should it ever be killed. To kill a dreadlord is only removing the physical presence, while their spirit retains its power and reforms after a period of time.

 

The fact that this sword was passed on to the Dark Riders is of huge significance for the lore behind the sword. These mysterious figures have only ever been spoken of in whispers, mainly because they kill those that have actually seen them. Jitters, a character found in Duskwood, recorded them slaying an entire family when they could not locate the Scythe of Elune. It is said that this group consists of Death Knights that were initially created by Gul'dan; Brann Bronzebeard details the possibility of them being under the control of Teron Gorefiend, with their base residing with Karazhan, under the watchful eye of the corrupted Guardian Medivh.

 

jeX8Dswl.jpg

 

An image from the Dark Riders Graphic Novel

 

Other theories have included Malchezaar, the Eredar prince that lives at the top of Karazhan. Since he came to our world in search of artifacts of power, he used his abilities to summon these Riders from another world and has sent them searching for the artifacts he seeks, such as Gorehowl and the Scythe. This would also imply that Attumen, the first boss of Karazhan, could be a Dark Rider.

 

The introduction of the Dark Rides into Death Knight lore is a truly exciting revelation. The mystery surrounding them has been frustrating for a long time, but their appearance here shows us that they most certainly have some interest in a Death Knight artifact. Perhaps the questline will reveal more about there mysteriously enticing figures.

 

Alternative Artifacts for Unholy Death Knights

 

  1. The Blade of Baron Rivendare

Anyone that has ever farmed the mount of Rivendare will most likely cringe at the site of this man's name on the page. He has tormented us for years without ever having to use any magical powers, simply the power of RNG.

 

For those of you who don't know who Baron Rivendare is, he used to be the final boss in the dungeon of Stratholme, before being moved to Naxxramas as the leader of the Four Horsemen encounter. He replaced Highlord Morgraine when Wrath of the Lich King was released. 

 

x41YTKsl.jpg

 

The sword he holds here bears a resemblance to the starting sword that Death Knight's receive when levelling. An epic sword used to be dropped from him in Stratholme, which is now dropped by Lord Rivendare instead, but I feel Blizzard missed an opportunity to really involve Rivendare in Death Knight lore. 

 

In his Vanilla encounter, Rivendare used to attack players with a combination of AoE diseases and undead minions. This is extremely close to the concept of an unholy Death Knight's attacks, hence why I feel he is a fantastic addition to the Unholy artifact. He is constantly surrounded by a misty aura of dark power, possibly relating to the ability of his that deals constant AoE damage.

 

On the whole, I think regardless, the Unholy artifact is still very good. I love that they have introduced the Dark Riders, I just hope they can finally reveal some information about them through the questline. All-in-all, it is far better thought out than the blood artifact.

 

Next time on the series, we are going to be finishing off the plate wearers by looking at the Paladin artifacts

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This is one class I'm very comfortable with not only playing, but the weapons that will represent them. 

 

There isn't anything I would change. This class is all about themselves and their craft. Dealing death with vicious weapons, hunting down the most powerful of foes, sustaining themselves on the field, carving their opponents up without a shred of emotion. These three weapons do that. Heck, they even tie in the Dark Riders which one could argue are the death knights from Warcraft 2. Old school vs New School. The "new" generation of death knights going after the old ones who were more undead warlocks on horseback than plate covered effigies  of death.  

Edited by CelticArchangel

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Agreed. All-in-all, these were one of the better sets of weapons that were created. My only problem with them was that they chose the Mo'arg as the wielder of the Blood one, since they've never really been an important race. Other than that, I love them on the whole. As soon as I saw the Dark Riders I was already satisfied!

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According to WoWwiki (and using the graphic novel Dark Riders as reference):

 

"The Dark Riders were charlatan merchants who tried to sell fraudulent magical artifacts to Medivh. Medivh, being possessed by Sargeras, cursed the merchants to forever pay for their dishonesty by collecting true magical artifacts from all over the kingdom for Medivh, and bringing them back to Karazhan"

 

 

The Dark Riders were created by Sargeras through Medivh. Not by Gul'dan or Malchezaar.

Edited by SykoTavo

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I've been playing a Death Knight actively as my main since 2010 and weapon like this only extends my choice to stay playing as a Herald of Unholy! The main ability of weapon is also so cool, I so closely remember the first time when Arthas shouted out 'APOCALYPSE!'- I wish that was an addition for our class, that we'd be able to yell it out like he did! With the earth quaking beneath us and stuff!

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Rare Patron
4 minutes ago, demonardvark said:

welcome the the fam :)

Thank you.  At one point, will there be an artifact built order posted (or is it already there and I missed it).  I am talking about allocating points to the artifact, and in what order it should be done.

Edited by Ariecho

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36 minutes ago, Ariecho said:

Thank you.  At one point, will there be an artifact built order posted (or is it already there and I missed it).  I am talking about allocating points to the artifact, and in what order it should be done.

That will come with the Legion guides, they'll be ready as soon as the game goes live :)

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      You’ll need to gather a variety of resources to begin your journey into mastering fleshwork and bringing a variety of constructs to life. Each of these constructs will become residents of the Butcher Block, adding their own unique personalities, quests, and (in some cases) companionship on your adventures.
      Mixing Pools
      We hope you’re not too squeamish, because there’s literal buckets of slime in your future if you choose to join the Necrolord Covenant. You’ll work with other players to convey buckets of colorful slime to a mixing pool, which will summon a repeatable boss event based on which colors you’ve coordinated.
      Abominable Transportation
      The Necrolords have a truly unique method of traversing around Maldraxxus. With a little elbow grease and a few extra spare parts, you can utilize the Abomination Factory to create a friend to carry you wherever your adventures take you. Whether you want them to carry you on their shoulders (complete with their tiny top hat), or just want to tool around through the immaculately maintained fields of Bastion, you’ll travel in ultimate style.
      If staying on the ground isn’t your thing, you may want to set your sights on the Necropolis high above. It makes a circuit around the zone and may inspire a little goblin ingenuity.
      Necrolord Adventures
      In Adventures, you’ll put your tactical skills to the test by sending your allies into the Shadowlands and lending aid to the Necrolords Covenant. While this feature is available to each Covenant, the allies you recruit and the missions you give them will be unique to the Covenant. You’ll need to get to know the strength and weaknesses of those you send out with the scouting map.
      Anima Conductor
      Players can enable additional content with their Covenant’s realm by investing Anima into specific areas in Maldraxxus. When you restore Anima to a location, it revitalizes the area, allowing you to access new quests, make it easier for you to unearth wondrous treasures, or lure out powerful foes to slay for rewards. Different areas are tied to different content unlocks.
      House of the Chosen – Find a unique Covenant treasure. House of Constructs – Fight an enemy champion. House of Plagues – Access a Covenant World Quest. House of Eyes – Access a set of Covenant daily quests. House of Rituals – Get access to powerful necrolord enhancements. Theater of Pain – Fight an elite enemy champion. The Strongest of Soulbinds
      Once you’ve proven your worth, you’ll unlock the ability to Soulbind with one of several select characters in the Covenant, who will share their distinctive powers with you in the form of a variety of traits and bonuses.
      The warforged necrolords you assisted in Maldraxxus will form a special bond with you if you join their Covenant. Below are descriptions of each along with a few example powers they can bestow upon you.
      Plague Deviser Marileth is as eccentric as he is brilliant, and created some of the most efficacious potions in all of Maldraxxus. When the House of Plagues was destroyed, Marileth was driven mad in the aftermath. Marileth’s creative solutions prove vital to the war effort . . . despite the occasional side effect. 
      Travel with Bloop: While standing still, you slowly build stacks of Bloop’s Wanderlust. At maximum stacks, your movement speed is increased for a couple of minutes.
      Ultimate Form: Fleshcraft renders you immune to crowd control.
      Emeni, the Slaughter Daughter was assembled in the stitchyards of Maldraxxus. In life, she was a powerful noble who slaughtered hundreds of her siblings to claim the throne. She respects your strength and prowess as you work together to exterminate their mutual enemies. A legend in her own right, her notoriety rises even higher as she binds her soul to the Maw Walker’s.
      Emeni’s Magnificent Skin: When you use your Necrolord class ability or spell, gain a stack of Emeni’s Magnficent Skin. Using Fleshcraft consumes your Emeni’s Magnificent Skin to slightly increase your maximum health per stack for a significant duration.
      Runescribed Bone: Each enemy you defeat grants you one stack of Runescribed Bone, slightly reducing magic damage taken per stack. At max stacks, your Soulbind traits are empowered for a moderate amount of time.
      Emeni’s Magnificent Skin: Releasing stacks deals some Shadow damage to nearby enemies, slightly increased per stack.
      Cartilaginous Legs: Shield amount doubled.
      Hearth Kidneystone: Cooldown reduction doubled.
      Gristled Toes: Movement speed now slightly to moderately increased.
      Gnashing Chompers: Haste increase doubled.
      Sulfuric Emission: Fear duration increased for a couple of seconds.
      Bonesmith Heirmir is the Primus’s apprentice and among the oldest mortal souls in Maldraxxus. With eons of training and practice, she is the foremost expert on forging weapons and armor made of bone and steel. The arsenals she creates keep the House of the Chosen and you fully equipped to face the enemies that surround them.
      Resourceful Fleshcrafting: Defeating an enemy slightly reduces Fleshcraft’s cooldown.
      Forgeborne Reveries: Upon death, your armor continues to fight, allowing you to fight for an additional amount of time. During these seconds, your damage and healing done is reduced moderately and you cannot receive healing.
      Might of the Necrolords
      When you join the Necrolord Covenant, you’ll gain two new unique abilities—one signature ability and one class ability.
      Signature abilities are available to all Covenant members regardless of class, race, or specialization.
      Fleshcraft
      Form a shield of flesh and bone that prevents damage equal to a portion of your maximum health. Standing near the corpse of a defeated enemy when the ability is cast will create a larger shield.
      Covenant class abilities provide additional combat-oriented gameplay options that are tailored to the theme of that Covenant.
      Covenant Class Abilities We look forward to sharing more information as development continues, and we hope this preview gives you some insight on what the Necrolord Covenant has to offer—or what you can offer them. Learn more about Maldraxxus in our previously published article.
      Rewards, mechanics, and abilities are still in development and subject to change.
       
    • By Starym
      Some bad news on our sure to be favorite mode of transport coming with the Necrolord Covenant, as Blizzard have clarified that we'll only be able to use the hideous wonderful services of our crafted friend from the Abomination Factory within the Shadowlands. It's not going to be an actual mount we can add to our collection after all, but a special ability instead.

      This is not about Covenant's specific mount reward, as that one is, in fact, a real mount.
      Abomination Factory "Mount" (source)
      Sorry to spoil it a bit but, these aren’t traditional mounts you get and add to your collection. They are part of a transportation system you can use in Shadowlands. Some of the abominations will fight alongside you. Some will carry you to your next destination (perhaps a foray into Bastion is in order? ). They all have their unique characteristics.
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