Welcome to the rebooted Archivist's Lore, a series dedicated to comparing the lore and flavor of cards with their in-game mechanics. As a launching point, the first set of cards we’re going to pick up where the original article left off and examine the nine legendary weapons from Kobolds and Catacombs and see just how well the cards match their counterparts in Warcraft lore.


Twig of the World Tree Card Image

Curiously, this weapon is not truly a legendary weapon in Warcraft. It has no special lore significance, nor is it even uniquely powerful in the game. It is just a rare mace that can be randomly obtained from enemies of the right level. However, it can be considered significant from a lore perspective due to its connection to a World Tree.

These giant trees have a unique connection to nigh elves, often serving as their cities, contain powerful magic and are tied to the druid realm of the Emerald Dream. The first one to ever be created was Nordrassil, a tree blessed by the Dragon Aspects to seal away the magic of the new Well of Eternity that had been created by Illidan Stormrage after the War of the Ancients. Later, other World Trees would be planted using branches from Nordrassil by druids like Fandral Staghelm, but they wouldn't be as strong and some of them would serve as gateways for corruption into Emerald Dream and the creation of the Emerald Nightmare by the old gods Yogg-Saron and N'zoth.

Given that the original World Tree had a strong connection to both the magic of the Dragon Aspects, as well as the powerful Well of Eternity, this card’s effect of granting Mana makes perfect sense. It is only a question as whether or not this non-exclusive weapon deserves to take the spot for a druid’s legendary weapon when there are other possibilities with far stronger lore implications.

Final Verdict: Not bad as a card to fit the druid playstyle, but why this weapon of all weapons?


Rhok'delar Card Image

Unlike the previous card, this weapon is actually unique and exclusive to the hunter class in Warcraft, although it still doesn’t have much lore in regards to the grand story of the Alliance and Horde. Rhok’delar is a bow made of living wood, created by the powerful Ancients of Felwood for a formidable hunter who could extract retribution on mighty demons who corrupted and petrified them, as well as the great black dragon Onyxia, without the aid of any companions, animal or person. It is said to be truly unique, with none like it existing for ten-thousand years.

While not currently available in Warcraft due to its related quest being removed in the Cataclysm expansion, and therefore not being very recognizable even to many dedicated Warcraft players, the unique qualities of this weapon and the strong relation of the card’s mechanics to the requirements met to receive the weapon make this card an overall worthy match.

Final Verdict: Obscure choice, but good match of lore with effects.


Aluneth Card Image

Now we get to the first proper legendary weapon on this list, meaning that this weapon not only has a unique identity, but was wielded by a notable lore character and played a role in world-shaping events. Aluneth is a powerful entity from another place of existence made of pure arcane energy. Knowledge of the entity was first obtained by the scholarly Blue Dragonflight and eventually passed down to the Guardian, Aegwynn, the mother of Medivh. After a great struggle with Aluneth, Aegwynn managed to subdue the creature and bind it to her staff, causing the staff to also be known as Aluneth. Drawing on the great power of the staff and the entity imprisoned in it, Aegwynn gained the ability to warp reality around her, creating the tower of Karazhan as her hideout and stronghold. Many years later, Aluneth was recovered and used by a group of mages known as the Tirisgarde during the Burning Legion’s third invasion of Azeroth.

This is a card that truly deserves its legendary status in terms of flavor, but is rather non-specific in its card effect. In Warcraft, the primary ability granted by the weapon was placing a rune on the ground that exploded for massive damage after a short delay. While the card’s lack of weapon attack reflects the fact that Aluneth is a magic staff meant to channel magic instead of physical force, the destructive power of the staff in lore is ignored. Instead, its card-draw ability is likely meant to reflect the mage having greater magical resources to draw on.

Final verdict: Good weapon, good lore, decent card. Too bad they don’t all match up better.


Val'anyr Card Image

While this weapon is certainly legendary in Warcraft, it’s likely that it was only chosen as the paladin weapon because the Ashbringer had already been used as part of Tirion Fordring. This weapon is not actually exclusive to paladins, but was available to all healing classes in Wrath of the Lich King.

The weapon itself has little know lore. We do know that it was forged by the titan keepers and given to Urel Stoneheart, the first king of the Earthen and ancestors of what we now know as dwarfs. With this hammer, Urel forged the rest of his Earthen race and brought them to life. The weapon was shattered during a war between the Earthen and Iron dwarves that we currently know almost nothing about. During the campaign against The Lich King by the Alliance and Horde, Val’anyr’s fragments could be collected and the legendary weapon reforged through a special quest that involved defeating Yogg-Saron in the titan facility of Ulduar.

The main ability of the weapon was its power to cast an effect called “Blessing of Ancient Kings” which would shield the target ally and make them more durable when you healed them. This increase of durability is reflected rather well in the card’s buffing of minions, especially when compared with the interpretation of Blessing of Kings. The weapon being destroyed and re-equipped is also a rather nice touch that reflects the shattering and reforging of the weapon in lore.

Final verdict: Good weapon, although it’s not at all unique to paladins, and very good reflection of lore effects in the card.


Dragon Soul Card Image

The Dragon Soul is one of the most powerful weapons in the history of Warcraft, but it has nothing to do with priests. The artifact was created by Deathwing shortly before the War of the Ancients after he had become corrupted by the Old Gods. He tricked the other Dragon Aspects into infusing part of their own power into the Dragon Soul in order to create a weapon capable of defeating the Burning Legion. However, Deathwing quickly revealed his corruption and madness, turning the power of the weapon against his fellow dragons. The powerful magics of the artifact greatly enhanced Deathwing’s own power, but also warped his body and started tearing him apart. Now known as the Demon Soul, the artifact was later stolen by Illidan Stormrage while he served as a secret double-agent for the resistance while pretending to work for the Legion.

As the Demon Soul, it was used in a ritual to bring the full might of the demon army into the world, Illidan and Malfurion disrupted the spellwork and destroyed the portal, causing the Well of Eternity to explode and shatter the world. Ten-thousand years later, the leader of the Dragonmaw orcs, Nekros Skullcrusher, found and used it to enslave the red dragon Alexstrasza, and her entire flight. They were later freed by the mage Rhonin when he was able to use one of Deathwing’s own scales to destroy the Demon Soul, returning the power back to the Dragon Aspects. During the Cataclysm unleashed by Deathwing years later, it was decided that the only way to destroy the mad dragon was to use his own power against him. To do this, heroes had to travel back in time to the War of the Ancients to steal the Dragon Soul from before it was destroyed. It succeeded in destroying Deathwing, but had to be returned to its proper place in history to prevent time unraveling.

As is evident, none of this is carried over into the effects of the Dragon Soul as a card. It has neither destructive capabilities, nor the power to control dragons. While there is a very small amount of lore about luminous dragons born directly from the energies of the Dragon Soul, that’s as far as the card’s effect goes in being connected to its lore at all.

Final verdict: Wonderful weapon with a rich lore that wasn’t taken advantage of anywhere near as much as it could have been.


Kingsbane Card Image

Kingsbane is a card with a bit of name-swapping and confusion going on. Although the art depicts a single dagger, it is one of a set of two daggers created on the orders of Gul'dan for his personal brainwashed assassin, Garona. With these daggers, said to drink blood and inflict traceless poison, Garona carried out countless assassinations on Gul’dan’s orders, including the murder of her friend, King Llane of Stormwind. She didn’t want to kill him, but Gul’dan’s control over her mind was so strong that her body was compelled to murder him when they were alone together. Thus, the daggers were known as the Kingslayers, one named “Anguish” and the other named “Sorrow”. Kingsbane is actually the name of the ability that the weapon grants in-game when it grants a potent poison attack. Like Aluneth, the Kingslayers were recovered to fight the Burning Legion by a group of rogues called the Uncrowned during their third invasion.

The effect of the card is a passable match, given the cursed nature of the blades and their ability to grow in power. It makes sense that it could translate into the weapon keeping enchantments as a card. A better lore match would perhaps focus more exclusively on poison abilities, but I find this largely acceptable.

Final verdict: A lot of confusion going on with the name, and perhaps the effect could be a better match, but overall very good.


The Runespear Card Image

Continuing the theme of weapons wielded by significant lore characters, the Runespear was a family heirloom of the Bloodhoof family of tauren for twenty generations. It belonged to Cairne Bloodhoof, chieftain of the tauren people. Tauren culture historically emphasizes many elements of shamanism, giving them the center stage. One manifestation of this is that all of Cairne’s weapons were blessed by a shaman of his tribe, including the Runespear. This enchantment allowed the weapon to strike incorporeal spirits as well as living foes. Each owner of the staff had their story carved in runes on its shaft, thus giving the weapon its name. The Runespear would have passed on to Cairne’s son, Bane, but it was shattered when he died fighting Garrosh Hellscream in a "duel of honor" called a mak'gora. All but a couple of the fragments were burned with Cairne’s body on his funeral pyre.

The mechanics of the card don’t match its powers in the lore, but they do a decent job of communicating the idea of a weapon imbued with shamanistic magic. The real Runespear couldn’t shoot spells or grant magic power to a non-shaman, but it’s an okay mechanic to demonstrate the “spirit” of such a weapon.

Final verdict: Great nostalgic weapon from a departed character, somewhat sub-par execution of the effects, but still pretty fair overall.


Skull of the Man'ari Card Image

Of all the many variety of demon races in the Burning Legion, few are as feared as the eredar. This magically-powerful race was recruited into the Burning Legion in ages past, with those who refused to become demons instead became hunted exiles known as the draenei. Before all of that, however, there was a sorcerer among the eredar named Thal’kiel who discovered the demonic power that could be his through summoning great armies of demon minions to do his bidding. Attempting to make himself the soul ruler of Argus, he was betrayed by his own power-hungry apprentice, Archimonde, and executed for his crimes. Secretly, Archimonde kept Thal’kiel’s skull and had it specially gilded to enhance it’s infused demonic magic. Those who wielded the skull gained a powerful focus with which to summon demons who would obey their command.

Another legendary weapon that was used to fight the Burning Legion’s third invasion of Azeroth, the Skull of the Man’ari was recovered by a group of warlocks known as the Council of the Black Harvest. Still sentient and retaining all the memories of his life, Thal’kiel chose to aid the warlocks in their fight against the Legion, desiring vengeance against the eredar who had executed him, and power over the Legion itself.

This card is excellent in its simple mechanic of summoning demons from your hand, as the weapon was specifically designed for warlocks in the demonology specialization to complement Thal’kiel’s own summoning skills.

Final verdict: Simple mechanics, but an effective and flavorful match. Also it was my primary weapon back in Legion when I first started playing the game, so I have a personal fondness for this card.


Woecleaver Card Image

This weapon has no Warcraft lore. It is the only Hearthstone-original legendary weapon in the Kobolds and Catacombs set. It was likely created to highlight the new Recruit mechanic, but it was given some part in the card set’s story as well. It was the primary objective of The Guild, a group of adventures in the expansion’s story created to represent a team of player dungeon-delvers in Warcraft. Led by Master Oakheart. They recruited Marin the Fox to help them find it in exchange for the promise of treasure that could be found with it.

Final verdict: A simple weapon with no elaboration in its expansion-story. Mainly serving as a mechanic, which is forgivable, but there could have been so many other options from great warriors in Warcraft lore.

And there you have it, folks. The lore behind each of the legendary weapons that can be found in the deep and mysterious Kobold Catacombs. Which weapon is your favorite now that you know their stories? Let us know in the comments, along with any other cards that you would like to know about in regard to the connection between their story and card effects.