Scholomance Academy is a fun and zany Hearthstone reimagining of the necromancer school of Scholomance. This was a secret house of horrors where Kel'Thuzad served The Lich King by growing his Cult of the Damned and training necromancers to raise the undead and create a horrific plague that would be unleashed on the Eastern Kingdoms and weaken them for a full invasion. However, this took time, and Kel'Thuzad was clever enough to provide cover for his cult by pretending it was a benevolent organization that could provide better lives to the poor, and immortality to the rich. The Hearthstone version of Scholomance explores the idea of “What if this cover included a magic school on the top, with secret evil necromantic cult activities going on in the basement?”
Since Scholomance takes place long before the Cult of the Damned revealed itself and the full invasion of the Scourge, many characters that are hideous undead in the Warcraft instances of Scholomance are alive, well, and a lot better looking in these cards. In fact, here we see for the first time what many of these characters would have looked like while they were living mages and necromancers. Additionally, these cards also imagine several of the high-ranked members of the school in possible lower-ranked positions from which they would one day be promoted.
Our first card is the big man and future arch-lich himself, Kel’Thuzad. His story is far too long to tell in full detail here, but, to sum it up, he was a powerful and respected wizard of Dalaran who had developed an interest in experimenting with necromantic magics after witnessing the first death knights of the Horde during the second war, such as Teron Gorefiend. Casting aside ethics, he deemed his fellow mages too closed-minded as they shunned his studies and eventually exiled him from Dalaran altogether. It was then that he heard the call of The Lich King in his dreams, beckoning him to Northrend. Making the brutal journey, Kel’Thuzad was greeted by the Lich King’s servants and shown the wonders and horrors of his power. Initially horrified, he wanted to back out, but it was made clear to him that the time for second thoughts was over. However, he quickly overcame his disgust at the torments the Lich King’s experiments inflicted on living humans, and hungered for the glorious power himself. He yearned for the day when he would cast off his mortal shell and arise as a mighty undead. The Lich King sent him back to the Eastern Kingdoms with a task: to form a cult and further develop the Plague of Undeath so that it would spread across all the kingdoms.
After returning to the Eastern Kingdoms with his new mission, Kel’Thuzad worked to secretly form his Cult of the Damned and develop the plague. This is the portion of his life that his Headmaster card represents. While he would meet his death at the hands of the paladin, Arthas Menethil, and later be resurrected as a lich after Arthas had been corrupted into a death knight, that all came much later when his plan had been fully realized and he no longer needed to pretend that he was the leader of some benevolent organization.
The flavor of the card is very fitting for Kel’Thuzad’s main work and focus during this time of his life. Just as his experiments in necromancy and the plague worked to kill people and raise them as mindless undead who would fight for him, so this card will resurrect minions you kill with your experimental choice of magical spells and make them fight for you.
Final Verdict: Excellent depiction that not only matches story flavor, but walks the balance of sharing enough similarities with the original lich Kel’Thuzad character to make a connection, but still being its own recognizably different version.
Ras Frostwhisper was one of Kel’Thuzad’s most favored pupils. He was a hedge mage, a rogue mage that had never been officially trained in Dalaran, and was therefore considered “unlicensed” in a sense. He was one of the first members of the Cult of the Damned, and quickly rose through its ranks. This Hearthstone card depicts him at this stage of his life, as a high-ranked member of the school.
When the Scourge invaded, he gladly gave himself over in return for immortality. In the city of Stratholme, he pledged his soul to The Lich King and smiled as he committed suicide with a dagger to his neck, upon which he was raised as a lich. He then oversaw operations in Scholomance for many years and was considered its ruler and guardian, although he was not the headmaster of the school itself. He was unusual among liches in that his soul was not bound to a phylactery. Because of this, he was able to be transformed back into a mortal when his soul was recovered from where he died and forcibly infused back into him. Robbed of his lich immortality, he was able to be killed for good by adventurers.
As a card, he is quite fitting for the combination of shaman and mage, due to their shared use of ice magic, which Ras himself used in his dungeon boss fight. While it’s a bit confusing why he wasn’t also given some sort of freeze ability, his “damage all enemies” ability is reminiscent of two of his boss abilities: "Chill Nova" and "Frostbolt Volley", which damaged, knocked back, and slowed all nearby enemies with frost damage.
Final Verdict: Good class choice, and a decent incarnation of some of his boss moves, but a huge missed opportunity to give him a freezing ability to match both flavor and class.
Darkmaster Gandling was a student of Ras Frostwhisper and eventual successor of the title of Headmaster of Necromancy at Scholomance. He succeeded a lich by the name of Araj the Summoner, who was headmaster after Kel’Thuzad, making Gandling the third headmaster of Scholomance after Araj was slain by the Alliance and Horde while commanding a remnant of Scourge forces in the city of Andorhal during the Cataclysm. The defeat in Andorhal made Darkmaster Gandling even stricter than usual. All students of Scholomance were advised to impress him at the risk of being “removed from class to perform lab work... or become lab work”, if they didn’t.
Gandling’s card depicts him at a lower rank, as he hasn’t risen to his headmaster position yet. Instead, he has the title of “Disciplinarian”, but seems to have his same strict attitude and method of punishing failing students. The flavor of the card’s mechanics matches both his characters personality, as well as his boss fight where he gives “Harsh Lessons” to players and teleports them to rooms where they have to fight “Expired Test Subjects”, who are very likely former students as well.
Final Verdict: Good re-imagining of a past version of a character while still retaining his core recognizable characteristics in both flavor and effect.
There are few characters in Warcraft who have been described as committing such horrendous acts of depravity as Doctor Theolen Krastinov, known as The Butcher to his victims. He served as the main torturer and provider of bodies and bodily parts for the Scholomance's necromancy experiments. The subjects of his experiments experienced unfathomable pain, only being kept alive through magical means for further plague testing. Several of his victims, trapped, tortured, and maimed for months, lingered on as spirits to plot his downfall. Although he was killed, Darkmaster Gandling saw it fit to resurrect him as an undead to continue making use of his skills and service. His domain of the school was known as the Butcher’s Sanctum, and the location where abominations for the Scourge war machine were made. Students under his tutelage learned how to create flesh-beast monsters.
Naturally, Krastinov’s card depicts him while he was younger and still alive, but he clearly has already developed his affinity for butcher knives as weapons of choice. These promenade weapons are likely the inspiration for his weapon-related effect, while his Rush ability could possibly be linked to his boss move, “Frenzy”, which increased the speed of his attacks for a short time.
Final Verdict: A bit loose on the connections, and there could have been some great mechanics related to his creation of flesh beasts, but focusing on the knives is acceptable, as they do have a strong connection with his identity.
Lord Alexei Barov was the original owner of the building that houses Scholomance, as well as being the lord of the regions of Brill, Tarren Mill, Southshore, and the ancient island fort/manor of Caer Darrow. The manor was the Barov's primary residence, but was handed over as part of a deal with Kel'Thuzad in exchange for his promise of immortality. They wanted to hold on to their decades of rule and wealth forever, and thus Caer Darrow was secretly transformed into Scholomance. It was a great deal for Kel’Thuzad and his cult, but completely backfired for the Barovs. After only six months, the manor was filled with dark undead beings and practicing necromancers. Even worse, the family servants were used as experiments for the Plague of Undeath. Eventually, the plague was unleashed from Scholomance and killed everyone in Caer Darrow before a visit from Uther the Lightbringer was scheduled. The family was transformed into undead, serving the cult.
Lord Barov himself was turned into a death knight who was forced to serve Darkmaster Gandling, and had to be cut down by adventures to summon the headmaster in the Barov Family Vault. Released from his death knight form, Lord Barov’s spirit sought to cleanse the corruption that now haunted his home. Taking the form of a talking skull, he guided another batch of adventures years later to end Gandling once and for all, after which his spirit could finally rest.
In terms of mechanics, Lord Barov’s boss fight contained an area of effect ability called “Unholy Aura”, which is likely the inspiration for his card ability. However, it should be pointed out that Lord Barov was not a paladin by any stretch of the imagination, so that half of his flavor is a bit off. He would make more sense as a pure warrior, but I understand how they had to work around that fact for the sake of filling all the dual-class cards.
Final Verdict: The link to his ability in lore is a bit on the weak side, but we also have no information about his fighting style when he was alive, so it’s probable enough for me to say it doesn’t really matter much aside from him not being a paladin.
Lady Illucia Barov was the wife of Lord Barov, and was cursed to wander as a ghost in Scholomance like the rest of her family. Like her husband, she had to be killed by adventures in order to summon Darkmaster Gandling in a room called The Shadow Vault. As a ghost, she was a master of dark shadow magic, which she is also depicted using in her Hearthstone card. It is unknown whether Illucia practiced these dark arts herself while she was alive lore-wise, but there’s also nothing that says she didn’t at some point learn them from the Cult of the Damned.
Her card ability is likely inspired by her boss spell “Dominate Mind”, which briefly took control of a player and forced them to attack their party.
Final Verdict: A decent incarnation of this character into a card. There isn't much independent lore about her personally, so there’s a lot of wiggle room here. It’s a very probable version that reflects one of her spells nicely as a mechanic.
One of Lord and Lady Barov’s children, Jandice Barov was a powerful archmage from Dalaran who specialized in illusion magic. In life, she invented a spell much like Mirror Image that created images of her body so real that it was almost impossible to tell the difference between her real self and the illusion. They were also able to mimic her actions, making her nearly impossible to track down. Like the rest of her family, she was transformed into a ghost to serve the Scholomance, working with Dr. Krastinov, and transporting the blood he harvested. She was one of the few ghosts to endure beyond the initial purge of Scholomance, biding her time in the basement studying the arcane and preparing to take a far more active role in training the students of Scholomance. However, she was finally cut down for good during the second purge when adventures were guided by the spirit of her own father to purge the family halls.
Her card ability reflects her illusion powers very well, creating uncertainty as to which minion is a real threat, and which one will vanish with a single poke.
Final Verdict: Very good and unique incarnation of an ability that was central to the character’s identity.
Lorekeeper Polkelt was a zombie mini-boss in the Scholomance dungeon. He has practically zero lore aside from his name, so there is little to work with on this front. From his title, he was clearly a keeper of lore and knowledge for the school, a fact which serves as the basis for the imagining of his living version in his Hearthstone card. At some point he became a zombie for unknown reasons, and somehow kept his title in spite of being a mindless shambling zombie whose previous knowledge was all lost from his now-rotting brain.
Polkelt’s card ability isn’t reflective of any part of his boss fight, but is instead unrelated from the dungeon entirely and focuses on the idea of organizing and categorizing knowledge, much like a school librarian.
Final Verdict: Honestly, this is nothing but an improvement and addition on the zero lore that existed for this character. It’s not based on anything already part of the story, but that’s just fine with me in this particular case.
Another character that has zero lore, Professor Slate is an undead potion master in Scholomance. He has no stated backstory, but likely specialized in teaching alchemy and poison-making in the school.
His card ability is likely inspired by “Toxic Potion”, an ability that dealt acid damage to enemies and spilled a pool of acid at their feet. This translates nicely into the idea of a poisonous spell for the card.
Final Verdict: Another character with no lore to speak of, but a reasonably good match for one of his boss mechanics.
Instructor Malicia was a high elf teacher at Scholomance who survived the initial purge by adventurers, but didn’t return to continue teaching at the school itself. Instead, she became a field-trainer for cultists in the Western Plaguelands at an outpost near a location known as the Weeping Cave. Her title of “Soulciologist” is exclusive to Hearthstone.
In her dungeon fights, Malicia focuses almost exclusively on dealing shadow damage to enemies and healing allies with holy magic. (Don’t ask me how she manages to still wield holy magic. The lore wasn’t as solidified at this point in the game’s history, so sometimes there are little details that don’t always make sense). There is nothing noticeable in her abilities that involve summoning souls to aid her in battle, or using soul gems in any way. She is likely more of a cameo to be on the card and represent the new Soul Fragment system in the game, which is perfectly alright with me, as she is yet another character with no real lore anyway.
Final Verdict: Nothing to really draw connections between for her Warcraft and Hearthstone versions, but I am happy to see this card system have a Scholomance dungeon boss as its figurehead.
Vectus is another teacher of necromancy at the school, specializing in applying undeath to dragons. He created the Plagued Dragonflight by experimenting on dragon eggs smuggled out of Blackrock Spire. While he is a skeletal mage in the Warcraft Scholomance dungeon, his card depicts him as a living mage who is still perfecting his necro-dragon experiments.
The flavor of Vectus’ card effect is directly linked to his creation and experimentation of undead dragons. The whelps are a reference to his experiments being done on dragon eggs to hatch the undead dragons rather than raising adult dragons.
Final Verdict: Very well done. The flavor is simple, straight-forward, and easily communicates the basic information of what the character does.
Rattlegore is a bone golem, an undead construct made of bones in the same way a flesh beast is made of flesh. They are one of the deadlier types of undead employed by the Scourge, their long, scythe-like arms cleaving through armor with little difficulty. He was created in Scholomance and unleashed on the Alliance during the battle for the town of Andorhal, where he was destroyed. However, golems are relatively easy for a skilled necromancer to rebuild, and Rattlegore was recreated from bones within Scholomance's Chamber of Summoning by Darkmaster Gandling, who reanimated it to guard against intruders. Gandling worked to make Rattlegore even more dangerous than before, imbuing him with an insatiable desire to harvest raw materials from his enemies. However, Rattlegore was quickly destroy again during the second purge of Scholomance.
Rattlegore’s card ability isn’t directly related to any boss mechanics, but instead looks to be inspired by the ability of bone golems to be rebuilt and unleashed on their enemies once again. However, the match of the mechanics is off, as Rattlegore was recreated to be more powerful than its first version, not weaker like the deathrattle.
Final Verdict: Another cool boss that is very faithful in the art, and almost hits the bone golem fantasy, but doesn’t quite land it due to the card getting weaker and smaller each time.
Update: According to Celestalon, this is not the same character as we originally suspected.
In Warcarft, Willow is an undead cultist of the Twilight’s Hammer and secretly serves the Old Gods. She resides in the region of Desolace on the continent of Kalimdor, where she poses as a simple friendly researcher who will pay adventures to retrieve plants and relics for her studies. That’s pretty much all that is known about her. In Hearthstone, we are taken back to the days before she died and was raised as a forsaken. Apparently, she was once a teacher of demonology at Scholomance, although she actually has a disdain for teaching and is only there for her own ends.
The mechanics of the card effect can only be connected to the character in the loosest of ways, as the card summons minions and the Twilight’s Hammer wish to summon the Old Gods and Void into Azeroth to end all things. However, even this connection is weak because demons and the Old Gods are actually opposed forces and the Twilight’s Hammer doesn’t deal with demonology that we know of. It’s likely that Willow was only inducted into the cult after she died and was a witch/warlock in life.
Final Verdict: Very weak connection to character lore/flavor if any at all.
Instructor Fireheart has been confirmed to be the living version of the lich, Instructor Chillheart. Chillheart was the first boss that adventurers encountered during the second purge of Scholomance. She resided in a room known as the Reliquary and taught the course of “Introduction to the Dark Arts”. She came to Scholmance from Northrend to teach aspiring necromancers discipline. She was very strict and did not tolerate disappointment. She wielded both deadly ice magic, as well as the knowledge of the school’s libraries. Unlike Frostwhisper, she had a proper lich phylactery, or container for her undead soul, to which her spirit retreated when her body was destroyed. However, while many liches have their phylactery carefully hidden to ensure their immortality, Chillheart’s own phylactery happened to be right in the same room as her at the time, allowing it to be destroyed during the fight to eliminate the lich for good.
While Instructor Fireheart’s card lacks the icy powers of her boss fight, this only makes sense, as she has not become a lich yet and her name indicates a different focus of magical study during her life. Her effect emphasizing discovering spells could possibly link to the second part of her fight, where her soul inside the phylactery animates the books in the library to cast varying kinds of spells at the players. These include arcane, fire, and shadow spells.
Final Verdict: This card was a connection even I didn’t realize at first and had to have confirmed by Blizzard developers to be certain of. The effect connection is a bit loose and debatable, but also acceptable since this version of the character is so far removed from the one in Warcrarft.
Now this card is a surprise to appear as a teacher in Scholomance. Turalyon was one of the first human paladins of the Eastern Kingdoms and a founding member of the Order of the Silver Hand. Turalyon served as a priest of the Light for years before being chosen to train in the ways of combat alongside knights who were being trained in the ways of the Light. These knights were Uther Lightbringer, Saidan Dathrohan, Tirion Fordring, and Gavinrad. The order was formed to combat the terror of the Horde’s death knights, led by Teron Gorefiend.
Turalyon served in the second war that drove the orcs from Azeroth and back to their homeland of Draenor through The Dark Portal. He developed a relationship with the elf ranger, Alleria Windrunner, and the two married and had a son. Two years after the Dark Portal was closed, it mysteriously reopened as the orcs feigned an invasion to infiltrate Azeroth and steal magical artifacts that could open portals to other worlds for them to conquer and escape to. Feeling a responsibility to protect these other unknown worlds from suffering a brutal invasion at the hands of the Horde, Turalyon formed the Sons of Lothar, a team of heroes from the Second War that would cross through the Dark Portal and stop the orcs plot on their own world. Other members of this team included Khadgar, Alleria Windrunner, Danath Trollbane, and Kurdran Wildhammer.
On Draenor, Turalyon and his team launched a campaign to stop the warchief, Ner'zhul, from opening portals to other worlds, but they were too late. Ner’zhul performed a ritual that became unstable and shattered the entire world of Draenor and threatened to destroy Azeroth as well if the magical energies of the ritual managed to reach it through the Dark Portal. Determined to protect their homes, people, and families, the Sons of Lothar would have to destroy the Dark Portal to protect their homeworld, and they would have to do so from the Draenor side, as there was no time to gather on Azeroth and perform the ritual there. As Draenor exploded and warped into Outland, Turalyon and Alleria became separated from the rest of their team, and ended up joining the Army of the Light in their fight against the Burning Legion for many years in the Twisting Nether. They would not be seen again, and would be presumed dead, until the Burning Legion’s Third Invasion of Azeroth, when they rejoined the heroes of Azeroth to fight the Legion on its own home world of Argus. Statues of Turalyon and the rest of the Sons of Lothar would stand as memorials outside the city of Stormwind.
Frankly, Turalyon’s presence as a card here is rather confusing, as the Cult of the Damned and Scholomance didn’t form until after he vanished in Outland. Moreover, Kel’Thuzad’s cover must be really good to convince someone as holy as Turalyon to teach and not suspect the evil necromancy going on in the basement. The card effect itself doesn’t hold any particular connections to any certain abilities or history of the character, but is in line with the general themes that Hearthstone gives to general paladin effects.
Final Verdict: I have no clue what this character is doing here, and it doesn’t really make any sense, but it is at least cool to see such a significant paladin in lore becoming a paladin legendary. Perhaps someday there will be another version of him as a card, given his unique title in the card instead of just having his name.
This is the living human version of Lilian Voss. Lilian was raised as a member of the undead-hunting Scarlet Crusade, whose uniform she can be seen wearing in her card. This fanatical sect broke away from the Silver Hand and was corrupted when their leader, the paladin Saidan Dathrohan, was killed and secretly replaced by a disguised dreadlord named Balnazzar. While they continued to have the primary focus of fighting against the undead and plague, they became paranoid and their methods were overly brutal to the extent where they began to see all non-humans as potential unclean carriers of the plague. Despite their noble roots and intentions, the manipulations of Balnazzar ensured that they were only ever seen as twisted fanatics by the rest of the world.
Lilian Voss was raised by her father, High Priest Benedictus Voss, to battle the plague as a member of the Scarlet Crusade, giving up her childhood. She studied stealth, sorcery, and martial arts. After she was killed during the Cataclysm, she was raised as an undead forsaken by Sylvanas Windrunner. Lilian was at first in denial of her undead state, not wishing to become the very thing she had spent her entire life fighting, but she grew to embrace it after her father attempted to have her executed for being undead. From that moment, she dedicated herself to the destruction of both the Scourge for trying to control her, and the Crusade for rejecting her as an undead. After murdering her father, she escaped and wasn’t seen again until she allied with adventures to purge both the Scarlet Monastery—the Scarlet Crusade’s headquarters—and Scholomance. She directed them to clear up any rebuilding Scarlet forces inside the Monastery and to retrieve the Blades of the Anointed, the only weapons able to permanently kill High Inquisitor Whitemane.
After being victorious against the Scarlet Crusade, Lilian turned her wrath against the Scourge necromancers. She fought her way through Scholomance, only to be mind controlled by Gandling and forced to fight her allies. She was freed from the mind control after being defeated in combat. After the Gandling fled, Lilian was left behind as her allies pursued the necromancer, certain that she would die, but survived and would eventually come to identify with the forsaken of the Horde, channeling her constant rage against the Alliance as a whole, and living humans in particular.
As Lilian was trained in stealth, among her other skills, this card perfectly captures her infiltration abilities, as well as communicates the flavor that she is being sent by the Scarlet Crusade to infiltrate and investigate the suspicious activates at Scholomance Academy. Her Deathrattle is also quite accurate and flavorful, as the attacking of a random enemy perfectly captures her rage, lashing out, and vendetta against multiple groups and individuals.
Final Verdict: While we already had Lilian as a card in Knights of the Frozen Throne, this living version is excellent at capturing another part of her personality, story, and skill set.
This concludes our review of all lore-related legendaries from Scholomance Academy. Which card is your favorite? Do you agree with my analysis of the effects? Are there any additional cards you would like to see included in lore guides? Comment below or in our Lore Forums.