- For strategy on the World of Warcraft encounter, see Kel'Thuzad (tactics). For realms of the same name, see Server:Kel'Thuzad US and Server:Kel'Thuzad Europe.
|Title||The Archlich, Lich Lord of the Plaguelands, Lord of Naxxramas|
|Race(s)||Lich, Human (formerly)|
|Character class||Mage, Archmage (previously); Necromancer (WC3)|
|Affiliation||Scourge, Cult of the Damned|
|Former affiliation(s)||Kirin Tor|
|Occupation||Master of Naxxramas, Leader of the Cult of the Damned, Majordomo of the Lich King|
|Location||Kel'Thuzad's Chamber, Naxxramas or Plains of Nasam, Borean Tundra|
|Relative(s)||Mr. Bigglesworth (pet)|
|Mentor(s)||The Lich King|
Kel'Thuzad (pronounced /'kɛlθʔzɑːd/) was once a human mage of the Kirin Tor. He went on to became the founder of the Cult of the Damned and one of the principal agents of the Lich King responsible for the spreading of the plague of undeath across Lordaeron. After bringing the plague to Lordaeron, he was slain by the paladin Arthas. When Arthas became a death knight, he resurrected Kel'Thuzad as a lich so he could summon Archimonde the Defiler into Azeroth. Following Arthas' departure for Northrend, Kel'Thuzad was left to command the Scourge of Lordaeron from his necropolis, Naxxramas. Following his first defeat, he and his necropolis moved to Northrend.
Kel'Thuzad appeared in Warcraft III as a hero in the undead campaign. He appears in World of Warcraft as the final encounter of Naxxramas, implemented in patch 1.11 and re-tuned for level 80 in patch 3.0. He may additionally be found in Old Hillsbrad Foothills as his former, human self.
The Kirin Tor
By the period shortly before the Second War, Kel'Thuzad was a member of the Council of Six, the high council of the Kirin Tor — the masters of Dalaran. Of the Kirin Tor's leaders, Kel'Thuzad was the most eager to gain access to the Guardian's Library — the depository of knowledge hoarded by Medivh in his tower of Karazhan — and thus was most upset when the library was lost. After Medivh's death, Kel'Thuzad and the other senior members of the Kirin Tor questioned Medivh's apprentice, Khadgar, about what happened; Kel'Thuzad seemed particularly interested in discovering more about the mysterious Order of Tirisfal, which — as he pointed out to Antonidas, the leader of the Kirin Tor — was relevant when discussing Medivh.
Call of the Lich King
A handful of powerful individuals, scattered across the world, heard the Lich King's mental summons from Northrend. Most notable of them was the archmage Kel'Thuzad from the magical nation of Dalaran. Kel'Thuzad had been considered a maverick for years due to his insistence on studying the forbidden arts of necromancy. Driven to learn all he could of the magical world and its shadowy wonders, he was frustrated by what he saw as his peers' outmoded and unimaginative precepts. Upon hearing the powerful summons from Northrend, the archmage bent all of his considerable will to communing with the mysterious voice. Convinced that the Kirin Tor was too squeamish to seize the power and knowledge inherent in the dark arts, he vowed to learn what he could from the immensely powerful being named the Lich King.
Eventually, Antonidas learned that Kel'Thuzad had been experimenting with necromancy by reanimating dead rats. Fearing for the safety and reputation of Dalaran, Antonidas had Kel'Thuzad's properties searched, and all items tainted by dark magic were confiscated and destroyed. Antonidas warned Kel'Thuzad that he would be stripped of his rank and holdings, and exiled from both Dalaran and Lordaeron, if he did not abandon his "madness". Leaving behind his fortune and prestigious political standing, Kel'Thuzad abandoned the ways of the Kirin Tor and left Dalaran forever. Prodded by the Lich King's persistent voice in his mind, he sold his vast holdings and stored away his fortunes. Traveling alone over many leagues of both land and sea, he finally reached the frozen shores of Northrend. Intent on reaching Icecrown and offering his services to the Lich King, the archmage passed through the ravaged, war-torn ruins of Azjol-Nerub. Kel'Thuzad saw firsthand the scope and ferocity of Ner'zhul's power. He began to believe that allying himself with the mysterious Lich King would not only be wise, but potentially fruitful.
He met with Anub'arak and told him of all the power he could wield. But frightened by the horrors that he saw in Naxxramas, he teleported out and tried to escape. Unfortunately, he was surrounded by wraiths and was brought back inside.
After long months of trekking through the harsh arctic wastelands, Kel'Thuzad finally reached the dark glacier of Icecrown. He boldly approached Ner'zhul's dark citadel and was shocked when the silent undead guardsmen let him pass as though he was expected. Kel'Thuzad descended deep into the cold earth and found his way down to the bottom of the glacier. Within the endless cavern of ice and shadows, he prostrated himself before the Frozen Throne and offered his soul to the dark lord of the dead. The Lich King was pleased with his latest conscript. He promised Kel'Thuzad immortality and great power in exchange for his loyalty and obedience. Kel'Thuzad, eager for dark knowledge and power, accepted his first great mission: to go into the world of men and found a new religion that would worship the Lich King as a god.
To help the archmage accomplish his mission, Ner'zhul left Kel'Thuzad's humanity intact. The aged, yet still charismatic wizard was charged with using his powers of illusion and persuasion to lull the downtrodden, disenfranchised masses of Lordaeron into his confidence. Once he had their attention, he would offer them a new vision of what society could be — and a new figurehead to call their king.
Cult of the Damned
Kel'Thuzad returned to Lordaeron in disguise, and over the span of three years, he used his fortune and intellect to gather a clandestine brotherhood of like-minded men and women. The brotherhood, which he called the Cult of the Damned, promised its acolytes social equality and eternal life on Azeroth in exchange for their service and obedience to Ner'zhul. As the months passed, Kel'Thuzad found many eager volunteers for his new cult amongst the tired, overburdened laborers of Lordaeron. Surprisingly, Kel'Thuzad's goal to pervert the citizens' faith in the Holy Light towards belief in Ner'zhul's dark shadow was easily attained. As the Cult of the Damned grew in size and influence, Kel'Thuzad made sure to keep its workings secret from the authorities of Lordaeron at every turn.
Compendium of the Fallen
With Kel'Thuzad's success in Lordaeron, the Lich King made the final preparations for his assault against human civilization. Placing his plague energies into a number of portable artifacts called Plague cauldrons, Ner'zhul ordered Kel'Thuzad to transport the cauldrons to Lordaeron where they would be hidden within various cult-controlled villages. The cauldrons, protected by the loyal cultists, would then act as plague generators by sending the plague seeping out across the unsuspecting farmlands and cities of northern Lordaeron.
The Lich King's plan worked perfectly. Many of Lordaeron's northern villages were contaminated almost immediately. Just as in Northrend, the citizens who contracted the plague died and arose as the Lich King's willing slaves. The cultists under Kel'Thuzad were eager to die and be raised again in their dark lord's service. They exulted in the prospect of immortality through undeath. As the plague spread, more and more feral zombies arose in the northlands. Kel'Thuzad looked upon the Lich King's growing army and named it the Scourge — for soon, it would march upon the gates of Lordaeron and scour humanity from the face of the world.
War of the Undead
This section concerns content exclusive to Warcraft III.
Kel'Thuzad, upon the Lich King's instruction, oversaw the infection of the small town of Brill where he was discovered by Jaina Proudmoore and Prince Arthas. From there he quickly fled and they followed him back to Andorhal, where he told Arthas of Mal'ganis in Stratholme. Arthas, in a rage, hunted Kel'Thuzad down and killed him, but not before Kel'Thuzad told him his death would mean little. But they were not finished yet.
After Arthas had traveled to Northrend, and slain Mal'ganis with Frostmourne, he returned to Lordaeron and betrayed his kingdom and became a servant of the Lich King. Kel'Thuzad began to appear to him as a ghostly apparition after his protector, Gavinrad the Dire, was slain by Arthas and Kel'Thuzad's remains were reclaimed. He appeared only to Arthas, and told him that he was not to trust the dreadlords, explaining to Arthas that they were the Lich King's jailors, and promised to explain all of the Lich King's plans to Arthas once he walked the earth again in Quel'Thalas.
Kel'Thuzad watched over Arthas as he made the slow procession to the Sunwell in Silvermoon against the stratagems of Sylvanas Windrunner. Eventually, Arthas ravaged his way through the two Elfgates and finally laid siege to Silvermoon itself, breaching through to the fabled Sunwell. Arthas placed Kel'Thuzad's remains within the well, and with the help of Tichondrius, Kel'Thuzad was reborn into the terrifying form of a lich.
As they traveled to Alterac, Kel'Thuzad explained that the Scourge was merely the harbinger of the Burning Legion, and that he would summon the first of the demons, the eredar warlock Archimonde to the mortal world. After slaying the orcs guarding the Demon Gate, Kel'Thuzad communed with the dark lord who told him that he must go to Dalaran and steal the Book of Medivh.
After Arthas led the attack on Dalaran and killed Antonidas, the book was retrieved and Kel'Thuzad began the lengthy summoning process, with Arthas defending him from the many attacks of Dalaran and the Kirin Tor. When all was complete, Archimonde stepped through the portal and was free to act according to his plans. His first act was to promote Tichondrius to leader of the Scourge, rendering Arthas and Kel'Thuzad of little use. However, Kel'Thuzad was confident in the Lich King's grand design and disappeared amidst the chaos of Dalaran's destruction. He had other plans. He told Arthas final part of Lich King´s part and then he teleported Arthas to Kalimdor.
After the War
This section concerns content exclusive to Warcraft III.
Kel'Thuzad resurfaced as the Legion raked across the Plaguelands, and in the aftermath of the invasion, he remained in the Capital City as one of the Lich King's lieutenants. Arthas had gone to Kalimdor on Ner'zhul's command to find the rogue demon hunter, Illidan, leaving only Kel'Thuzad and the banshee Sylvanas Windrunner remaining in his stead. However, both knew that the Legion was defeated long before the Dreadlords who remained in Lordaeron did.
Arthas returned in a fury and chased the dreadlords out of the Capital, and Kel'Thuzad was relieved to see him. With the Legion's generals gone, they turned to the human villages who were escaping to the mountain passes. Kel'Thuzad thought that perhaps they would be a fitting sacrifice to the Lich King. But as they cut a swath through the human forces, Arthas suffered some violent seizures, and Kel'Thuzad considered recalling their forces, but the King forbade it, and they continued on their macabre mission. In the aftermath, Arthas received a vision from Ner'zhul, who told him to return to Northrend. Kel'Thuzad immediately prepared for his departure, but they were abruptly ambushed by the dreadlords, and separated. The dreadlords unleashed their forces against Arthas, but Kel'Thuzad found his own way out of the city.
Kel'Thuzad later came upon Arthas in the clutches of Sylvanas and her wicked banshees. She was about to strike when Kel'Thuzad unleashed his forces against her and her sisters. With the banshees dead, Sylvanas was forced to retreat. Kel'Thuzad escorted Arthas to the shore, where he had prepared a fleet of ships for his departure. Arthas asked Kel'Thuzad, as his most loyal servant and twisted friend, to remain in Lordaeron and ensure that his legacy endured. Kel'Thuzad swore on what was left of his life to carry out that mission at any cost. While Sylvanas and her Forsaken claimed the Tirisfal Glades, Kel'Thuzad returned to the Eastern Plaguelands, which he ruled from the flying necropolis Naxxramas.
After being manipulated by Saidan Dathrohan (who was possessed by the dreadlord Balnazzar), Renault Mograine betrayed and murdered his father, Alexandros Mograine. Renault slew his father using the Ashbringer - an act of evil that corrupted the sword. Collecting the body and blade, Kel'Thuzad transformed Alexandros into a death knight - the leader of his Four Horsemen.
With assistance from members of the Argent Dawn, Renault's younger brother Darion managed to infiltrate Naxxramas and defeat his undead father. He then fled the necropolis with the Ashbringer. After conferring with Tirion Fordring, Darion learned that his father's soul was trapped in the sword, and that only a great act of love could set it free.
When Kel'Thuzad staged an attack on Light's Hope Chapel, Darion ran the Ashbringer through his own heart - sacrificing his life to release his father's soul. An explosion of light destroyed most of the lesser Scourge, but Kel'Thuzad was unaffected. He reanimated Darion as a death knight. While his primary goal had eluded him, he was content to take Darion as his prize, reasoning that the Scourge could always return to Light's Hope.
Shadow of the Necropolis
This section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.
In the Lich King's haste to spread the plague of undeath over Azeroth, he gifted Kel'Thuzad, with the flying citadel of Naxxramas, a horrific base of operations for the Scourge. Consistent attacks from the Scarlet Crusade and Argent Dawn factions weakened the defenses of the floating fortress, enabling an incursion that led to Kel'Thuzad's defeat.
Kel'Thuzad was the last encounter of the dungeon Naxxramas, implemented in the Patch 1.11, and was the end game boss of the original game of World of Warcraft. He was ultimately defeated by the players, but does not die. As a lich, he may reform using a magic item known as a phylactery. Had Kel'Thuzad's phylactery been destroyed along with him, Kel'Thuzad would have been defeated forever, but some things do not happen as they should.
The quest [60R] describes how the player, who likely wanted to destroy the phylactery, is manipulated by some mental force to give the phylactery to Father Inigo Montoy in Light's Hope Chapel. Something very unusual was going on there, and the Argent Dawn reported that the phylactery did not reach their hands. A traitor among the ranks of the knightly order of the Argent Dawn absconded with Kel'Thuzad's cursed remains and fled to Northrend, where the fallen lich could be reanimated.
Caverns of Time
This section concerns content exclusive to The Burning Crusade.
Wrath of the Lich King
This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.
Commander Eligor Dawnbringer: "The lich, Kel'Thuzad. He serves the Lich King without question, a necromancer of great prowess in life, turned into a master of necromancy after his death. It is said he is the most loyal of the Lich King's subjects. Kel'Thuzad has survived trials that would have long since shattered the souls of even the greatest of the Brotherhood. He readily gave his life at Arthas' hand, later to be brought back - reborn in the power of the Sunwell. In the Plaguelands, Kel'Thuzad was again defeated by the agents of the Argent Dawn. However, his phylactery was delivered to a false agent of the Brotherhood. We have yet to discover who stole his phylactery or why."
Kel'Thuzad once again returned as the final boss of the relocated Naxxramas — now floating above the Carrion Fields in the Dragonblight, besieging Wintergarde Keep. When the phylactery was given to Father Montoy, it was not delivered to the Argent Dawn; his hoarding of the artifact (instead of destroying it or giving it to the Argent Dawn) allowed Kel'Thuzad to regain corporeal form. (Montoy appears to have been rewarded for this effort as he is now a lich himself — known as Thel'zan the Duskbringer — and located within the Wintergarde Mausoleum below Wintergarde Keep, which is currently under siege by Naxxramas.)
In the quest  , Horde players are sent to the Plains of Nasam in a siege tank to destroy Scourge forces in the area and rescue injured Warsong Hold troops. They are also called on to identify the leader of the Scourge in the region — Kel'Thuzad himself, who stands upon a dais and is surrounded by Stitched Warsong Horrors, Plague Spreaders, and other Scourge constructs.
Kel'Thuzad did not have his phylactery on his person during his second defeat. His current status remains unknown.
Mists of Pandaria
This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.
- We have been discovered, my brothers! Flee and continue with the operation!
- I'm sorry I can't stay and chat, but...duty calls.
- Hello again children. I am Kel'thuzad and I've come to deliver a warning. Leave well enough alone. Your curiosity will be the death of you.
- "Naive... fool. My death will make little difference in the long run... for now... the scourging of this land... begins."
- Tell him nothing! Only you can hear me. The dreadlords cannot be trusted. They are the Lich King's jailors! I will tell you all...when I walk this earth again.
- I am reborn, as promised! The Lich King has granted me eternal life!
- Arthas: So. You're not upset about me killing you that one time?
- Kel'Thuzad: Don't be foolish. The Lich King told me how our encounter would end.
- Arthas: The Lich King knew that I would kill you?
- Kel'Thuzad: Of course. He chose you to be his champion long before the Scourge even began.
- Arthas: If he's so all-knowing, then how can the Dreadlords control him like they do?
- Kel'Thuzad: They are agents of the ones who created our master: The fiery lords of the Burning Legion.
- Arthas: What is this Legion?
- Kel'Thuzad: It is a vast, demonic army that has consumed countless worlds beyond our own. Now, it comes to set this world to the flame. Our master was created to pave the way for its arrival. The dreadlords were sent to make sure that he succeeded.
- Arthas: So the plague in Lordaeron, the citadels of Northrend, the slaughtering of the elves... It was all just to prepare for some huge demonic invasion?
- Kel'Thuzad: Yes. In time, you will find that our entire history has been shaped by the coming conflict. Now come; we have much work to do.
- Arthas: The circle of power has been prepared per your instructions, lich. Are you ready to begin the summoning?
- Kel'Thuzad: Nearly. I've been reading through Medivh's spellbook. His knowledge on demons alone is staggering. I suspect that he was far more powerful than anyone ever realized.
- Tichondrius: Not powerful enough to escape death, that is for certain. Suffice to say, the work he began, we will finish... today. Let the summoning commence!
- Kel'Thuzad: Come forth, Lord Archimonde! Enter this world and let us bask in your power!
- The center begins to burn, and several flames around it shoot up as Archimonde appears.
- Archimonde: Tremble, mortals, and despair! Doom has come to this world!
- Archimonde turns around, facing Kel'Thuzad.
- Archimonde: You have done well, little lich. My plan worked perfectly.
- Another green teleportation effect appears close to the center, and Tichondrius appears.
- Tichondrius: Lord Archimonde, all the preparations have been made.
- Archimonde: Very well, Tichondrius. Since the Lich King is of no further use to me, you dreadlords will now command the Scourge.
- Tichondrius: As you wish, Lord Archimonde.
- Archimonde: Soon, I will order the invasion to begin. But first, I will make an example of these paltry wizards... by crushing their city into the ashes of history.
- Archimonde makes a flash of magic with his hand, as if to emphasize his point, and runs away. Tichondrius follows him.
- Arthas: This has got to be a joke! What happens to us now?
- Kel'Thuzad: Be patient, young death knight. The Lich King foresaw this as well. You may yet have a part to play in his grand design.
- Kel'Thuzad: Back, you mindless ones! You shall not fall today, my king.
- Kel'Thuzad and his magi destroy Sylvanas' banshees.
- Sylvanas Windrunner: This isn't over, Arthas! I'll never stop hunting you!
- Kel'Thuzad leads Arthas to the shore.
- Kel'Thuzad: The effects of her arrow will wear off in time. All the preparations for your journey to Northrend have been made.
- King Arthas: You have been a loyal friend, Kel'Thuzad. I don't know what the future holds, or if I'll even return, but I want you to watch over this land. See to it that my legacy endures.
- Kel'Thuzad: I shall, King Arthas, I shall.
World of Warcraft
- Who dares violate the sanctity of my domain? Be warned: All who trespass here are doomed!
- "Enjoy! ... or I will FREEZE THE BLOOD IN YOUR VEINS."
- "Minions, servants, soldiers of the cold dark... Obey the call of Kel'Thuzad!" 
Naxxramas preview monologue
I was cast out by my comrades. Exiled. Forced to wander the frozen wastes...but I was not alone. Not entirely. The voice, now my only companion, guided me to my destination. Strange, nightmarish creatures awaited me at the entrance. I felt my blood run cold, as cold as Icecrown itself.
Inside, I bore witness to horrific acts, demonstrations of power, power that could be mine for the asking. Terrified, I ran...but did not get far. All too soon, my choice was made. Too late did I realize that such power does not come...without a price.
Now, the world shall pay a far greater toll, for I have returned.
I am Kel'Thuzad...
Your curiosity will be the death of you.
Conversation with Helcular
Kel'Thuzad appears in human form along with Helcular in the Old Hillsbrad Foothills wing of the Caverns of Time. He patrols between the main road through Hillsbrad and Southshore. At some point he stops and converses with Helcular:
- Kel'Thuzad says: Keep your voice down, Helcular. Strangers abound...
- Helcular nods.
- Helcular says: So you can teach me this...this...
- Kel'Thuzad says: Necromancy. It is called necromancy. And yes, I have it within my power to bless you with this gift.
- Helcular says: And the Kirin Tor? What have they to say of necromancy?
- Kel'Thuzad says: That is none of your concern, Helcular, as you are neither Kirin Tor nor a necromancer.
- Kel'Thuzad says: But to be perfectly frank, I do not give a damn what the Kirin Tor think! They are fools, set in their archaic ways.
- Helcular says: Then teach me, Kel'Thuzad. Teach me everything you know...
- Kel'Thuzad nods.
- Kel'Thuzad says: In due time, Helcular... All in due time...
- If the pair encounter the captured critter that has been killed by the children Sally Whitemane and Renault Mograine, then Kel'Thuzad continues:
- Kel'Thuzad says: Come, Helcular, let me give you a small taste...
- Kel'Thuzad utters some unintelligible words.
- The critter is brought back to life.
- Kel'Thuzad says: Now do you see, Helcular? Do you doubt the power? I control life!
- Kel'Thuzad says: And death...
- The critter dies again.
- Kel'Thuzad says: I'm still working out some minor details...
He is still seen wearing the robes of the Kirin Tor, but due to the nature of the conversation, it is presumed that he has already joined the Lich King, or was in the process of doing so.
Warcraft III quotes
- Main article: Quotes of Warcraft III/Undead Scourge#Kel'Thuzad
World of Warcraft quotes
- Main article: Kel'Thuzad_(tactics)#Quotes
- In the alternative timeline where Thrall died as an infant, Kel'Thuzad did not take up necromancy but instead became chief adviser to King Aedelas Blackmoore of Lordaeron. Without Kel'Thuzad leading the Cult of the Damned, the Scourge never grew in large enough numbers to be a threat and history turned out completely different.
- Kel'Thuzad was voiced by Michael McConnohie in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne and his original appearance in World of Warcraft.
- Kel'Thuzad is voiced by a different (unknown) actor in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, as Mr. McConnohie also portrays The Lich King and the producers thought this might "confuse the players".
- Despite having a new voice actor in Wrath of the Lich King, Kel'Thuzad still uses his original laugh. This can be sometimes heard when he kills a player during his encounter. Those wishing to avoid a repair bill can fly to his location at the Plains of Nasam in southwest Borean Tundra, where Kel'Thuzad will laugh every 30 seconds or so.
- is an in-game item. The description says, "Sometimes... I wish someone would come along and just give me a big, long hug."
- Kel'Thuzad was a wizard in the Warcraft RPG and a necromancer in the World of Warcraft RPG.
- The Alliance warlock Tier 9 set is named after Kel'Thuzad. Though is he not normally classified as a warlock, Kel'Thuzad did learn a great deal about demons by studying the Book of Medivh (which allowed him to summon Archimonde).
- He has a pet based on him, Lil' K.T.. Kel'Thuzad himself will mail the player the pet and congratulate them on joining his fanclub.
- The Lich King drops . The blade had no prior in-game appearances.
- Nyorloth (creator of the WoW Story Forum and the Ask CDev project) seemingly confirmed Kel'Thuzad's continued existence by mentioning that he has "survived two separate Lich Kings".
- Warcraft III: Path of the Damned
- Warcraft III: Undead Campaign Interlude
- Patch 1.11 trailer
- Lore of Warcraft: Kel'Thuzad
- ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. 91,109
- ^ Tides of Darkness, pg. 105-106
- ^ Road to Damnation
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual, pg. 97-98
- ^ Warcraft III Artwork: Kel'Thuzad
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual, pg. 98
- ^ a b Shadow of the Necropolis
- ^ Lil' K.T. mail sent to player
- ^ TCG Scourgewar, pg. 21
- ^ Michael McConnohie on IMDb
- ^ World of Warcraft RPG Conversion Document, pg. 3
- ^ Nyorloth Twitter Post
Headmaster of the Scholomance
Araj the Summoner
Ruler of Stratholme