- For strategy on the raid encounters, see Spine of Deathwing and Madness of Deathwing. For Warcraft II stats, see Warcraft II Units.
|Title||The Destroyer, Aspect of Death, The Worldbreaker, The Black Scourge, formerly Earth-Warder; see more below|
|Race||Black dragon (Dragonkin)|
|Affiliation||Black Dragonflight, Twilight Dragonflight, Old Gods' forces|
|Former affiliation(s)||Dragon Aspects, Horde of Draenor|
|Occupation||Aspect of the Black Dragonflight, Herald of the Old Gods, formerly Guardian of Azeroth|
|Location||The Dragon Soul, and various points throughout Azeroth (see "In World of Warcraft")|
|Status||Deceased (lore); Killable (WoW)|
|Relative(s)||Sintharia (former prime consort), Many black dragons notably Nefarian, Onyxia, Sabellian, Wrathion (children)|
- Pain... Agony... My hatred burns through the cavernous deeps. The world heaves with my torment. Its wretched kingdoms quake beneath my rage. But at last... The whole of Azeroth will break... And all will burn beneath the shadow of my wings.
Deathwing the Destroyer, formerly known as Neltharion the Earth-Warder, was one of the five Dragon Aspects and leader of the black dragonflight. Thousands of years ago, Neltharion was empowered by the Titans with dominion over the earth and the deep places of Azeroth. However, driven mad by the Old Gods, he turned against the other Aspects during the War of the Ancients. Among both mortals and dragons his name has become one whispered with a feeling of fear and contempt.
The black aspect involved himself in the Second War, adopting the form of Lord Daval Prestor in order to destroy the Alliance from within. He also managed to turn his greatest enemy, Alexstrasza, into a slave of the Horde, with which he later allied himself. After a series of setbacks, culminating in his defeat at the hands of the other Aspects, Deathwing retreated to the elemental plane of Deepholm to recuperate. From there, he observed his former mate Sintharia's experiments with the twilight dragonflight in Grim Batol, and later continued his late consort's work.
Though believed dead by many, Deathwing returned in spectacular fashion after the fall of the Lich King. His wrath resulted in the Shattering, which reshaped the map of Azeroth and unleashed widespread destruction; as the world reeled, he also appeared and brought flame to various regions of Azeroth. His ultimate goal was to bring about the Hour of Twilight - the final end of all life on Azeroth. To that end, he was aided by powerful allies, minions of his Old God masters. These included the warped ogre-mage Cho'gall and his Twilight's Hammer cult, the powerful Elemental Lords Al'Akir and Ragnaros, and the Neferset tol'vir of Uldum.
Uniting their powers, the remaining Dragon Aspects sent adventurers to brave the unstable paths of the Caverns of Time to retrieve the Dragon Soul, an ancient artifact crafted by Deathwing himself ten thousand years earlier and destroyed shortly after the Second War, and believed to be the only means of defeating him. With the weapon secure, the Aspects took the battle to their corrupted brother, with the orc shaman Thrall as the wielder of the Soul, now imbued with Deathwing's essence - the very essence of the earth itself. After laying siege to the Wyrmrest Temple and unleashing his most powerful minions, Deathwing took to the skies, until he was blasted into the Maelstrom by the powers of the Soul. His body at last giving way to the corruption within, Deathwing made his final stand in the raging torrent of the Maelstrom, until he was at last destroyed by the combined powers of the shaman, the Aspects, and the mortal champions sent to defeat him.
Deathwing was the primary antagonist of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.
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In Azeroth's ancient past, the Dragon Aspects were proto-dragons who stood united against a foe who threatened their entire species: the bloodthirsty Father of Dragons, Galakrond. Neltharion was one of the more intelligent of proto-dragons, capable of broken speech unlike most of the other, more animal-like of his kind. During this time Neltharion did not seem to be the good-natured wyrm he would become as an Aspect, taunting the other proto-dragons for fearing Galakrond.
When a blue-white proto-dragon named Malygos was attacked by Coros and two other proto-dragons, Neltharion helped to fight them off. He was impressed by Malygos's power, declaring them brothers in blood. Malygos noticed something in the hills nearby, but Neltharion couldn't see it. As he flew off, the land moved - a ripple no larger than a tall human.
Neltharion was originally the mighty black wyrm chosen by the titan Khaz'goroth to be one of the five Dragon Aspects, with domain over the earth and the deep places of the world. He was chosen as the caretaker of the continents of Azeroth, and he used his power to forge mountains and rivers for the benefit of mortal races. In peaceful times, Neltharion was renowned for his wisdom and power, and he became known as Neltharion the Earth-Warder, a great protector of the land. Malygos the Spell-Weaver, the Aspect of magic, was his closest friend. In spite of this, Neltharion silently chafed at what he felt was a burden that had been inflicted on him. Ultimately he found it too much to bare, and he began to resent the charge that had been placed on him by the titans. The realization that they viewed Azeroth as an experiment only fueled his bitterness. Indeed, during his conversation with Thrall he admitted that he served the Old Gods largely because he believed that they would free him from his burden.
Then came the madness that destroyed Neltharion's mind, changing him and his kind forever and leading to the creation of the powerful item known as the Dragon Soul, later the Demon Soul. The inner-voices of the Old Gods convinced him that he could have power beyond his imagination if he served them. The voices made him paranoid of even his own black dragonflight. Neltharion began to yearn for a world dominated by his black dragonflight — a world in which the other dragonflights ceased to exist and Ysera and Alexstrasza would be his petty slaves for mating.
The Old Gods convinced Neltharion to create the Dragon Soul. With the help of goblins, Neltharion created a simple golden disc made of his blood and forged in the goblins' cauldrons and anvils deep beneath the earth. Empowered by Neltharion's magic, the simple disc was magically shielded so that the other Dragon Aspects could not see within it. There was an evil within the disc, some taint of the Old Gods, though what exactly it is not known.
War of the Ancients
When the Burning Legion entered Azeroth during the War of the Ancients, Neltharion saw the opportunity to complete his Dragon Soul. Guided by the voices of the Old Gods, he first captured demons of the Burning Legion, and added their powers to the Dragon Soul. Neltharion then convinced Malygos to help him with the other Dragon Aspects. All of them agreed to give a portion of their powers to the Dragon Soul, including all dragons of their dragonflights. Neltharion proposed that the Dragon Soul disc could be a weapon of great power to destroy the demons of the Burning Legion. Unknown to the rest, Neltharion was the only one who did not give of his powers to the Dragon Soul.
Neltharion, the Dragon Aspects and their dragonflights flew toward Zin-Azshari where the night elves held the demons at bay. The dragons awaited Neltharion's first attack. He grabbed the Dragon Soul and by channeling his destructive power through it destroyed thousands of demons with one swing of radiant magic. The Dragon Aspects watched in horror as Neltharion also killed hundreds of night elves and other allies along with the demons.
Neltharion revealed the depths of his betrayal at last. Now with the disc at his command he wanted all races and the demons to see his power and to bow to him. The Dragon Aspects attacked Neltharion in an attempt to take the Dragon Soul from him and to reason with him in hopes of determining the cause of his perfidy. Malygos' blue dragonflight surrounded Neltharion, but with a swing of the Dragon Soul, most of the blue dragons perished. The next swing of the Dragon Soul paralyzed all dragonflights and the Dragon Aspects in mid-air, rendering them unable to move or speak. Neltharion then struck out at the Dragon Aspects and their dragonflights, destroying many and scattering them far across the land.
Neltharion's betrayal struck a great blow to the Aspects, and their fear of being destroyed like the blue dragonflight kept them in seclusion. In desperation, the Aspects shielded themselves and hid to become undetected even by each other.
Rise of the Destroyer
The growing corruption in Neltharion's heart warped his body, as the angelic dragon began taking a more demonic appearance, similar to how Sargeras changed to a more demonic form after his corruption. Neltharion's body cracked open, revealing his molten heart, and magma and fire flowed off his chest. His eyes became aflame in red, demonstrating the magnitude of his power and the depths of his evil. Thus was Deathwing the Destroyer born, and the Dragon Soul was renamed the Demon Soul.
Deathwing returned to his lair beneath a mountain. His proximity to the Demon Soul was ripping his body apart, so the goblin smiths forged an armor of adamantium to serve as a vessel to contain Deathwing's raging powers and keep them in check. Only the adamantium plates kept the power from destroying his body.
The Old Gods had manipulated Deathwing into creating the Demon Soul, but their true intention was that the demons would inform their lord Sargeras of the great power of the weapon used against them. Sargeras would no doubt want the Demon Soul to power the gateway that would let him enter Azeroth. By using the Demon Soul to amplify the gateway, the three Old Gods hoped to escape their prison beneath the planet.
However, Malfurion Stormrage used the Emerald Dream to find Deathwing's lair and stole the Demon Soul from the black dragon, who tried to pursue the thief in vain. Illidan and Varo'then captured Malfurion and took the Demon Soul back to Zin-Azshari, to Mannoroth the Destructor, the general of the Legion's armies. It was used to power up the portal that would allow Sargeras to enter Azeroth.
Deathwing tried one last time to recover the disk, when it was being used by both Sargeras and the Old Gods, and actually succeeded in reaching it. Deathwing was almost destroyed in the attempt, but after he got the Demon Soul, an enormous surge of power made him lose his grip on the disk, and sent him spiraling far away from the portal.
After the Burning Legion was defeated, the Dragon Aspects sealed the Demon Soul with their energies, so that Deathwing should never be able to manipulate the Demon Soul. The artifact was hidden in an undisclosed location by Malfurion at the request of the Dragon Aspects. No longer in possession of the artifact and now unable to use it, Deathwing vowed to destroy most life and to wreak havoc on the planet. With his powers over earth, Neltharion caused volcanoes to rise along with the destruction already caused by the Well of Eternity's implosion, sinking most of Kalimdor below the ocean.
When he succumbed, Neltharion ceased to exist, taking up a new name and a bitter purpose. He became Deathwing and his subjects were placed beneath the iron rule of a tyrant. Upon his irrevocable shift to evil, he turned against his destiny, and his mind unwound, causing suffering wherever he could. He himself chose Deathwing as his title, to better show his contempt and intentions for the lesser creatures around him.
Certain legends surrounding Deathwing claim that as the Earth-Warder, Deathwing shaped the land so the races would not go to war over land and resources. When he went mad, Deathwing lowered the mountains and allowed the races to intermingle. He ruined fertile land and destroyed other terrain so that the races would be forced to fight for food. Deathwing's efforts gave birth to an occupation that has remained with all races since then: war.
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Ten thousand years later, during the Second War, Deathwing discovered the Demon Soul's location. Although he couldn't wield its power because of the enchantment placed upon it by the Dragon Aspects, he realized that he could manipulate someone else to do so. Eventually, he found the perfect pawns: the orcs of the Dragonmaw clan. Through visions, Deathwing led the chieftain of the clan, Zuluhed the Whacked, to find the Demon Soul. Zuluhed in turn gave the Demon Soul to the warlock Nekros Skullcrusher. Nekros had no clue as to the power he was wielding, but was able to tap into enough of its power to capture and enslave Alexstrasza and her consorts in order to breed dragons for the Horde.
Kryll, a goblin servant of Deathwing, was sent to infiltrate the Dragonmaw clan and to serve Nekros Skullcrusher. Nekros ended up being manipulated by Kryll into doing Deathwing's bidding. The goblin served as an "advisor" to Nekros, whispering ideas to the orc in order to further Deathwing's aims.
After Ner'zhul reopened the portal to Azeroth, his forces were approached by Deathwing. He offered his own children for assistance in exchange for safe passage to Draenor. They agreed and Deathwing helped them prepare for several key battles to steal two artifacts from the Alliance in order for Ner'zhul's newly reformed Horde to create new portals to other worlds. They then fled back to the Dark Portal to Draenor. Deathwing believed the world would be a relatively safe haven for his offspring and secreted away a cache of black dragon eggs there. While at his great mountain lair, he was attacked by the forces of the Alliance Expedition, who destroyed several of his eggs. Deathwing was temporarily defeated but survived.
Having escaped back to Azeroth, Deathwing ended up in a fight with some of the archmagi of Dalaran and feigned defeat, falling into the sea, where most of the council assumed at the time that he died. He was not dead, however, and he took a human guise, pretending to be a heroic noble named Lord Prestor in an effort to be declared king of Alterac, where he could manipulate the Alliance from within.
Soon after Ner'zhul recklessly opened multiple portals on Draenor, the magical stress tore the planet apart. The energies released in this catastrophe altered Deathwing's eggs, resulting in the nether drakes: partially corporeal and partially ethereal dragons who possess the ability to shift between the astral and physical planes. Without Deathwing's guidance, these otherworldly nether drakes are just now finding their own way among the blasted ruins of Outland.
Lord Prestor and the battle of Grim Batol
- Main article: Lord Daval Prestor
Deathwing, posing as Lord Prestor, managed to make himself popular with King Terenas and the kings of the Alliance nations, and for a while had strong influence in the decisions of state. Using subtle magic, he was able to ensnare the minds of the human leaders and forced them to grant him the title of king of Alterac. He also managed to trick King Terenas into giving him the hand of his daughter, Calia Menethil. His ultimate goal was to obtain a high level of power and influence within the Alliance, so he could destroy it from within.
Deathwing began his campaign against the Alliance by pitting the kingdoms of Lordaeron, Stromgarde, Gilneas and Kul Tiras against the Kirin Tor of Dalaran - who Deathwing considered threats to his new identity. The only one to ever fully uncover the truth about his identity was the dragon mage Krasus, the mortal form of Korialstrasz. However, the Kirin Tor were able to discern that he was a powerful being hiding in a human form, and tried to devise a way to stop him.
The orcs of the Dragonmaw clan at Grim Batol kept their hold over Alexstrasza, even though the bulk of the Horde had already been defeated. Deathwing tried to frighten the Dragonmaw orcs into believing that the humans were attacking Grim Batol, so that they would move Alexstrasza and her eggs north to Dun Algaz; this left her eggs vulnerable. Deathwing hoped to steal Alextrasza's latest cache for himself to create a new dragonflight; though bearing the crimson scales of the Dragonqueen, they would be raised by Deathwing and carry his hatred for the mortal races.
Deathwing used his pawns to manipulate the mage Rhonin, who had been sent to Grim Batol by Krasus, as part of a plan to free Alexstrasza. He saved the young mage several times, and helped him reach Grim Batol, hoping that his appearance inside the mountain fortress would further convince Nekros to flee from it. Though the orcs were convinced and began leaving Grim Batol, Deathwing's attack on the caravan, however, failed. Nekros tried to use the Demon Soul on Deathwing, but was unsuccessful due to the disk having no power over the black dragon. He then sent Tyranastrasz, old and sick, to stop the Deathwing, but he failed and was killed.
At the behest of Krasus, the three remaining free aspects, Malygos, Ysera and Nozdormu, grudgingly decided to come out of their lairs and attack Deathwing. However, due to the power they had given to the Demon Soul, they were no match for the black leviathan. But Rhonin was able to steal the Demon Soul from Nekros, freeing Alexstrasza in the process. Furthermore, he discovered its weakness and destroyed it, releasing all the powers of the dragons who had given their power ten thousand years earlier. Deathwing was sent retreating with four very angry, fully-empowered Dragon Aspects on his heels, though he managed to elude them in the end. Lord Prestor vanished when Deathwing was forced to go into hiding, and Deathwing's influence over the nobles disappeared along with him.
In World of Warcraft
This section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.
Onyxia and Nefarian, offspring of Deathwing and masters of the black dragonflight in the absence of their father, have tried to control the world. Onyxia followed in her father's footsteps by taking the Prestor name to attempt to manipulate the Alliance. She posed as a human counselor named Katrana Prestor for the new child King of Stormwind. Nefarian, meanwhile, posed as a human named Lord Victor Nefarius, Lord of the Blackrock Mountain in the Burning Steppes. He was able to enslave the Blackrock Clan orcs who served him on the top of the mountain, the Blackrock Spire.
This section concerns content exclusive to The Burning Crusade.
In a brief dialogue with Overlord Mor'ghor, Lady Sinestra revealed that Deathwing survived the events that occurred in Day of the Dragon, and seeks the Netherwing eggs to continue Nefarian's experiments.
Wrath of the Lich King
This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.
Deathwing first made his debut in World of Warcraft as a cameo appearance during the battle against the Old God Yogg-Saron, inside Ulduar. He appears in human form and under his original name of Neltharion, and is featured along with all the other Aspects in a flashback that depicts the creation of the Dragon Soul, ten thousand years earlier.
This was Deathwing's first official appearance in a Warcraft game since Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal.
Deathwing acted as a Korialstrasz's nightmare in which the red dragon became the source for the new Demon Soul.
This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.
Cataclysm marked the return of Deathwing and his wrath constituted a world-changing event known as the Shattering. He plays a part in a number of quests as well as the achievement and is also the final boss encounter of the expansion. He is the last of the Dragon Aspects to appear in dragon form in the game, and is the third one that can be confronted by raids or dungeons (the first being Malygos and second Nozdormu in the corrupted form of Murozond).
Hidden away inside the Temple of Earth is the Stonecore, locked in the heart of Deepholm. It was here inside this mysterious domain that the corrupted Dragon Aspect Deathwing waited, recovering from the wounds of his last battle against the forces of Azeroth. As he bided his time until he could reforge the world in molten fire, the Twilight's Hammer toiled over him, forging a new armor of elementium plates that were then hammered to the Dragon Aspect's skin to hold his tormented body together. The raw elementium had been dug up by a massive gyreworm called Corborus, enslaved by Deathwing himself for this one task.
In recent years, the whisperings of the Old Gods have gotten worse; the Old Ones' dread power steadily increased as C'Thun and Yogg-Saron stirred from their ancient slumbers, and the growing influence of the Old Gods has magnified Deathwing's power ten-fold. From within his lair in the elemental plane of Deepholm, Deathwing has awoken from his slumber and literally erupted into the world. His explosion into Azeroth was so powerful that it tore a rift between the Elemental Plane and Azeroth and caused earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and floods, reshaping the very face of the world. Very few lands have remained untouched in the wake of the devastating Shattering. Stormwind City got its share of the destruction when Deathwing swooped into it and crashed down on the city gates. The entire park was blown away, and his searing heat caused the towers where he landed to glow red (something they still do). Afterwards he flew off, something which puzzles the city guards as they are certain he would be able to destroy the entire city if he had wanted to.
Following his explosive escape from Deepholm, Deathwing cast a deadly shadow over the people of Azeroth. Deathwing randomly chooses zones to attack; a reddened sky is the only warning before every living creature caught in his approach is consumed by his terrible fire and killed. Dying in this manner also rewards the achievement. Deathwing will continue strafing random zones "until his ruinous reign is brought to an end" (at least until the end of patch 4.3)
The main storyline quest of the Badlands in Cataclysm is centered around Rheastrasza and her research of the black dragonflight and of a way of purifying them. She has captured the black dragon, Nyxondra, and forces her to lay eggs for the experiments. She feels pity for the black dragon, but knows it is for the greater good. After succeeding in creating a purified black dragon egg, she constantly moves around to avoid being found by agents of the black dragonflight, who want to destroy the egg. In the quest  , she is killed by Deathwing, who was after the egg. The egg he destroyed, however, was not the purified one, but Rheastrasza's own egg.
At the beginning of the storyline, Deathwing summons the Firelord, Ragnaros along with his fire elemental servants into the world of Azeroth, aided by his mortal followers, the Twilight's Hammer clan with the ultimate goal of destroying Nordrassil.
During the Uldum storyline it is revealed that Deathwing enlisted the aid of Al'Akir and his air elemental minions to do his bidding. Most of the Tol'vir (particularly the Neferset), native residents of Uldum have also joined his ranks as they have been seduced by the promises of power and removal of the Curse of Flesh. He also sent his mortal minions, led by Commander Schnottz to gain control of the Maker's Terrace and reconfigure it into a weapon of mass destruction.
The Twilight Highlands
In Twilight Highlands the Horde fleet is ambushed, undefended, by Deathwing and his twilight drakes. Though Garrosh is personally able to fend one such drake off, his ship itself suffers massive damage and falls into the ocean below. The remainder of the fleet suffers a similar fate, crashing down into the sea.
Deathwing is later seen in the Twilight highlands quest chain. After beating back his Twilight dragon minions, the player along with Alexstrasza and her son Calen, use a sanctified circle of life to lure Deathwing to their location so Alexstrasza could destroy him once and for all. The plan quickly falls apart as Deathwing proves to be more powerful then they realize. After a quick dialogue, Deathwing and Alexstrasza face each other above Grim Batol, shadowing the events of Day of the Dragon. After a long battle, Alexstrasza and Deathwing spiral out of sight, with Deathwing spitting a stream of magma. Alexstrasza, severely wounded, lands near the entrance and tells the player, along with Calen, that Deathwing was dead. Soon after however, Deathwing rises above the hillside, wounded, but not nearly as bad as Alexstrasza. The player then flees with the near-dead Alexstrasza as Calen distracts Deathwing long enough for them to escape. Deathwing then leaves as, according to Calen, he was wounded more then he let on and needed time to heal.
Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects
It is revealed that once, long ago, Deathwing had been warned that an orc named Thrall would rise to challenge and possibly defeat him. So Deathwing sent out the Twilight Father to kill him. Deathwing sends Blackmoore from an alternate universe in an attempt to assassinate Thrall, but the plan fails when Thrall kills Blackmoore. After the Aspects defeated Twilight´s Hammer in Wyrmrest Temple, Deathwing allowed Twilight Father, who in fact was Archibishop Benedictus, return to Stormwind City.
Rage of The Firelands
Following the death of Malygos, the Blue Dragonflight are torn between two possible new leaders - Kalecgos, and Arygos. Ultimately, it is revealed that Arygos has entered into an alliance with the Blue Dragonflight's original despoiler, Deathwing, in order to become the new Aspect of Magic - and Deathwing, though eager to see him overthrow Kaelcgos, warns him not to repeat the mistakes of his father.
Charge of the Aspects
As Thrall and the other Aspects, including the newly-elevated Kalecgos, debated on how to defeat Deathwing, the shaman's spirit communed with the earth and took an earthen form. It was there that he encountered Deathwing, using the power of the Old Gods to imprison his spirit within. The corrupted Aspect mocked Thrall, believing that the Aspects sought to replace him as Earth-Warder with the mortal shaman, and claiming that the "gift" he had been granted by the Titans - his charge to defend Azeroth - was in fact a curse, imprisoning him to his duty. To demonstrate, he allowed Thrall to experience what it was like to have the weight of the earth on his shoulders, claiming that this was what the Aspects wanted - "to damn you to a life of eternal torment", as Deathwing stated it. He then unleashed a series of scathing attacks against Thrall's earthen form; because the shaman had embraced Azeroth, and Azeroth embraced him, his "wounds" materialized in the physical world in the form of earthquakes. Finally, the Aspects called on the Earthen Ring and the Cenarion Circle to break Deathwing's hold, bringing Thrall back to himself.
The Aspects decided that in order to defeat Deathwing, they would have to acquire the Dragon Soul in its "purest form" - a period not long after its creation, during the War of the Ancients ten millennia earlier. As the Soul was imbued with a powerful enchantment to prevent dragonkind from ever using it, the Aspects called on Thrall to be the wielder of the Dragon Soul in the battle against Deathwing.
The Hour of Twilight
Deathwing is the final boss of the Dragon Soul raid that opened with Patch 4.3.0. The final battle against Deathwing is actually two encounters within the same instance; one fought on his back as he flies toward the Maelstrom, and then the final battle at the Maelstrom itself.
Deathwing also features heavily in the three five-man dungeons that lead up to the raid. In the first, End Time, the future is shown if Deathwing is not defeated and the Hour of Twilight at last falls - a charred Dragonblight in Northrend, with all life extinguished forever. Deathwing is shown as a burnt-out shell of his former self, his powers having at last destroyed him from within. His lifeless corpse is impaled at the top of Wyrmrest Temple, his lava-like blood seeping from his mouth. To prevent the Hour of Twilight, the bronze aspect Nozdormu sends adventurers to go ten thousand years into the past, to the War of the Ancients, and retrieve the Dragon Soul - having been completely obliterated by Rhonin and Krasus shortly before the Shattering - so that Thrall could invoke its power to defeat Deathwing, though his past self tried to jealously defend the talisman from the adventurers - but it doesn't work. Once the artifact is retrieved, the adventurers must escort Thrall to Wyrmrest Temple and protect him from Deathwing's minions, so that the weapon could be secured for the final battle.
In the Dragon Soul raid, adventurers work together to defeat Deathwing's commanders in order to buy Thrall and the Aspects time to charge the Demon Soul. After a short trip to the Eye of Eternity to activate the Focusing Iris, Deathwing disowns Nefarian, Onyxia and Sinestra (officialy) and then unleashes his ultimate creation, Ultraxion, upon the temple. When the twilight dragon falls, Thrall unleashes the Demon Soul upon its creator. Wounded, Deathwing flees, attempting to return to the relative safety of Deepholm, through the Maelstrom. Thrall, the Aspects, and the Adventurers give chase, riding a gunship after the Aspect of Death, battling his personal escort along the way.
After catching up, the adventurers leap onto Deathwing's back and begin prying the elementium plates from his back, eventually making a big enough opening for Thrall to blast Deathwing with the Demon Soul. Deathwing is blasted out of the sky, and crashes into the Maelstrom. The defenders of Azeroth briefly rejoice at having rid themselves of the Destroyer, but Deathwing rises from the Maelstrom. Without his armor, his molten form begins to mutate, granting him a form far more terrifying than before. The final battle for Azeroth began in earnest, as Deathwing continuously attempted to finish the job he started by bringing forth a second Cataclysm that will basically end the world. Each time, the Aspects step in and use their power to stop him until one final blow from the Demon Soul completely obliterates the corrupted Aspect, leaving only the remnants of his shattered armor. Portions of his metal jaw are brought to the Western Earthshrine in Orgrimmar and the Eastern Earthshrine in Stormwind to commemorate his defeat.
Much like the statue in Dalaran commemorating the fall of the Lich King, the monument also allows the ability to see the ending cinematic after Deathwing's fall; speaking to Lord Itharius in Orgrimmar or Chromie in Stormwind will play the final cinematic.
Mists of Pandaria
This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.
Deathwing makes two appearances during Lorewalker Chos history lessons. In  , Zul had seen a vision a great armored dragon clenching the world with his ferocious jaws. King Rastakhan did nothing of the coming of this Cataclysm. Lorewalker Cho then established that his visions did come to past and Zuldazar was no more. In  , Deathwing can be seen alongside Wrathion.
While Deathwing was once a benevolent entity, he is now completely evil. He hates all mortal races, and wishes to kill them all. He's also utterly insane, most notably shown when he had the Demon Soul. Deathwing was attached to it, such that even when warned by the goblin alchemists who made his first armor that the Demon Soul's energies would kill him if he kept it with him too long, it wasn't enough for him to let go of it, and was only willing to part with, temporarily, when reminded that it would likely be stolen from him if he was dead.
In spite of his insanity, Deathwing does display a degree of cunning. Although he hates mortals, he is apparently willing to tolerate them if it can prove of any help in his plans, though inevitably he will do away with them when they have outlived their usefulness.
Despite Deathwing's overall loathing of mortals, he has respect for, and perhaps even a fear of, Medivh, stating in Day of the Dragon, that he would never willingly face Medivh in combat, though this might have technically been fear of the portion of Sargeras that was locked inside Medivh. He viewed Thrall in a similar way; when the Twilight father expressed disbelief that Thrall could triumph Deathwing made it clear that he planned to take no chances.
He also showed genuine loyalty to the Old Gods due to his belief that they could free him from his burden.
As a young proto-dragon, Neltharion was a lover of combat He taunted those afraid of Galakrond for being weak, and got himself involved in a fight between Malygos and Coros simply to show off his own strength. It was Malygos's power which led to Neltharion sparking their friendship.
- The massive monstrosity before you rises up like a black, crag-covered mountain of scales and hide. The head is a spade-like terror spiked with cruel red eyes that shine with a frightening malevolence. Rivulets of lava and magma are visible beneath the great wyrm’s scorched scales.
Deathwing is a terrifying opponent who is as cruel as he is vicious. He cares nothing for honor or nobility, striking with whatever weapons and cunning he has at his disposal, reveling in causing earthquakes and ripping open volcanic fissures. He often sends his minions into combat while he surveys the battlefield, striking at whatever weaknesses he discovers.
Names and titles
He is usually referred to as "Deathwing" by the majority of beings. Only a few mages, night elves and dragons still call him "Neltharion". However, over the years Deathwing has been given many names, including, but not limited to:
- Aspect of Death / Death Aspect
- the Betrayer
- the Black
- the Black Scourge (used by the other Dragon Aspects)
- Blackwing Greatfather (used by the gronn)
- Blood's Shadow (used by the orcs)
- the Cataclysm
- the Dark One
- Daval Prestor, claimant to the throne of Alterac (human disguise)
- Death Incarnate
- the Destroyer
- the Earth-Warder (granted by the Titans)
- the Great One
- Shuul'wah (used by the faceless; assumed to mean "Deathwing" in faceless), and Phquathi, assumed to mean Destroyer
- the Unmaker of Worlds
- the Worldbreaker
- Xaxas (used by the night elves; "chaos", "fury" or "elemental fury" in darnassian)
One of the big questions during the Cataclysm development was "what does Deathwing look like?". Deathwing had been established in lore for a long time, but he had never been depicted in that much detail other than some images from Chris Metzen and Warcraft II. But to have a really comprehensive design for Deathwing was an early top priority. The developers wanted Deathwing to have a unique, nasty and aggressive look, but also wanted to have the preexisting World of Warcraft dragons look as if they were part of the same family. They headed into the idea that Deathwing's rage manifests itself literally as the boiling lava inside him and he actually needs metal plates to contain them. On their search for a unique signature that would set Deathing apart from the other dragons the development team experimented with his jaw. So they replaced his jaw on an early sketch with a metallic one and made it bigger, giving him a very unique silhouette. When they showed it to the game team the immediate reaction was extremely positive.
War of Ancient Trilogy
- "You will learn to show respect. You are in the presence of my glorious self, I, Neltharion. I am the Earth-Warder. You will treat me with the reverence I deserve."
- "You know me... but I do not know you. You would speak against me... make the others see me as you do... you would have them distrust their comrade of old... their brother... You will not be allowed to spread any of your malicious falsehoods..."
- "For it to be as it must, yes." (responding to Ysera question about the Dragon Soul's glow)
- "It is done! All that which must be given has been given, I now seal the Dragon Soul forever!"
- "Yes, and you will press him time and time again with it, will you not?" (in a discussion about whether Nozdormu should be granted more time for his choirs or not)
- "No! I will say what will be done from here on! I, not you, Alexstrasza! Be silent!"
- "After I have slain all of you, I shall take your eggs, Alexstrasza, and create my perfect world!"
Beyond the Dark Portal
- "My children! My children, murdered! Come forward, disgusting, cowardly wretches, murderers of defenseless infants, and know torment and madness before I devour you whole! Who will be the first to be blasted to ashes?" (yelling at the gronn)
- "Puny mortals! I have had many names throughout history, all of them spoken with dread: Neltharion, Xaxas, and many more. Yet you shall know me best as Deathwing, for so I am! I am the bane of life, the darkness within history, the lord of death, the master of destruction. And I tell you now, and so it is true, that this world is mine!"
- "You may have won this battle, I give you that. But hear this, and hear it well. I have seen you, mage."
Day of the Dragon
- "I am power incarnate! You are nothing but shadows of the past!"
- "Have you not been through enough? Will you continue to fight what you cannot defeat?"
- "What are they to me - or, for that matter, even you? I will never understand that!"
- Deathwing: I have faced the ravages of time, the curse of nightmares, and the mists of sorcery, thanks to the others! What weapons do you bring?
Alexstrasza: Life... hope... and what they bring with them...
Deathwing: Then you're as good as dead already!
Night of the Dragon
- "The Day of The Dragon is over, its night is almost upon Azeroth...and after the night has swept away the old fights...there shall come new dawn... the dawn of my new world..."
Deathwing narrates the Cataclysm cinematic as his armor is reforged in Deepholm. As it nears completion, various areas of Azeroth began to tremble, until Deathwing explodes from Deepholm causing the Shattering. Deathwing flies around the world to Stormwind City where the cinematic ends.
World of Warcraft
- Lifebinder. Do you presume that I am your beckon call? I have a world to unmake.
- End? Me? Life-Binder, you think life is yours to take away? Life is weak! Mortal! Fleeting! Fragile! Death is final, death is eternal, death...is my realm. Look upon me, and you see death incarnate: The Unmaker of Worlds!
- Then witness my new gifts. Bestow by this worlds TRUE MASTERS!
- Just as all life ends in death...all order must end in chaos...Come! Embrace the inevitable, as I have!
- Argh! You think to entrap me!?
- The sun has set on this mortal world, fools. Make peace with your end, for the Hour of Twilight falls!
- Arygos says: I have agreed to this meeting, Worldbreaker, but at great risk - if this is discovered...
- Deathwing says: Calm yourself, Arygos. Your barrier will buy you all the time you need. With Kalecgos dead, your destiny as the blue aspect shall be realized.
- Arygos says: And once this new order is established, my place will be secure, yes?
- Deathwing says: Your reign over the realm of magic will be absolute, even after the Hour of Twilight. But be warned Arygos, son of Malygos- Don't make the mistakes of your father. Cross me, and your punishment will be greater than the madness he suffered.
- Bronze Drake yells: It is them!
- Bronze Drake yells: Heroes! We have been sent by Nozdormu! Quickly, on our backs, we must get you to the Dragon Soul!
- Bronze Drake yells: Sister, look! The artifact is surrounded by an aura of darkness!
- Bronze Drake yells: The Aspects!
- Alexstrasza yells: Come sister, it is time to end this, We will cleanse the Dragon Soul from the Old Gods dark influence!
- A dark force from within the Dragon Soul reacts violently to the cleansing!
- Ysera yells: It is too powerful!
- Neltharion yells: How DARE you touch my creation! It is mine...mine...MINE!
- Alexstrasza yells: Neltharion! What have you done? You have doomed us all to the madness of the Old Gods!
- Neltharion yells: IT IS MINE!!
- Ysera yells: He is lost to us sister. He is Neltharion...no longer.
- Alexstrasza yells: The power of the Soul is tearing him apart!
- An Unknown Evil yells: Nooooo...Away...
- Neltharion yells: I WILL NOT BE DENIED!
- Neltharion roars.
- An Unknown Evil yells: AWAY!
- Bronze Drake yells: The Old Gods protects the Soul!
- Bronze Drake yells: The link to the portal must be broken! Quickly, to Stormrage!
- It's good to see you again, Alexstrasza. I have been busy in my absence. Twisting your pitiful whelps into mindless abominations, bent only to my will. It was a very...painful process. (Twilight Assaulter intro)
- Mere whelps, experiments, a means to a greater end. You will see what the research of my clutch has yielded. Nefarian? Onyxia? Sinestra? They were nothing. Now you face my ultimate creation. The Hour of Twilight is nigh; the sun sets on your pitiful, mortal existence! (Ultraxion's intro)
- You have done NOTHING. I will tear your world APART. (Aggroed during Madness encounter)
- I AM DEATHWING! THE DESTROYER! THE END OF ALL THINGS! INEVITABLE! INDOMITABLE! I AM THE CATACLYSM! (Last spoken words)
Lord of the Clans
During the cancelled Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans game, Thrall would have met with Deathwing in order to match wits. Whether this is still part of the lore remains to be seen, but it seems unlikely given that no source mentions a meeting of the two and other lore sources since have contradicted the possibility. The fact that Deathwing was seen smoking a hookah was blamed on a "miscommunication".
- Deathwing is featured in the Cataclysm login screen, standing atop two Stormwind towers.
- At BlizzCon 2010, the cinematic artists said that they designed Deathwing with the idea that he had a 1,200 foot wingspan in mind.
- The companion pet is the special companion given to those that own the Collector's Edition of the Cataclysm expansion.
- Deathwing is pictured on the .
- Deathwing can be recognized by his mandible, which resembles that of Zilla of the 1998 movie Godzilla, and the colossal blade on the end of his gigantic tail.
- His voice resembles that of Black Doom from the 2005 SEGA game, Shadow the Hedgehog.
- Deathwing has the highest health in the game currently, with 858,000,000 HP.
- It was at first assumed that Deathwing was voiced by Chris Metzen. It was however confirmed to not be the case by a Blizzard Employee.
- The Tier 13 Warrior set is heavily inspired on Deathwing.
- Alduin, a dragon from the Elder Scrolls franchise bares some similarities to Deathwing in appearance, title (World-eater, Worldbreaker) among other things.
- At some point during the Cataclysm Beta, there was a scene where Deathwing's humanoid model grew a pair of tentacles. This scene was from a version of  that was scrapped.
- He's voiced by Michael McConnohie.
Deathwing awakens from his slumber
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm cinematic
Deathwing flies over the world
Deathwing vs Alexstrasza at Grim Batol
Deathwing vs Alexstrasza at Grim Batol Continued
Deathwing talks to Arygos
Thrall uses the Dragon Soul on Deathwing
Adventurers assault the Spine of Deathwing
Deathwing falls into the Maelstrom
Fall of Deathwing cinematic
Lord Daval Prestor II in the World of Warcraft Beta — likely depicting a son. He was replaced by Onyxia.
Deathwing in the cinematic, used as a background on Battle.net during the expansion's release to normal servers.
Deathwing as depicted on the Cataclysm Official Website.
Deathwing's humanoid form by Raneman.
Deathwing as depicted in the Twilight of the Dragons TCG set.
Deathwing as depicted in the Battle of the Aspects TCG raid deck.
- Patch 4.3.0 (2011-11-29): Appears in the the Well of Eternity dungeon and Dragon Soul raid.
- Patch 4.2.0 (2011-06-28): Seen during Dragonwrath questline.
- Patch 4.0.3a (2010-11-23): Added dragon form appearance after the Second Sundering to begin the expansion.
- Patch 3.1.0 (2009-04-14): Added as Neltharion himself in Yogg-Saron encounter in Ulduar.
- ^ Monster Guide, 39, 41
- ^ Dawn of the Aspects description
- ^ Dawn of the Aspects excerpt.
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Magazine Issue 1, 8
- ^ At BlizzCon 2009 it was said that Deathwing's plate armor was made of iron.
- ^ a b c d Shadows & Light, 93
- ^ a b Manual of Monsters, 29
- ^ a b Day of the Dragon, 135
- ^ Shadows & Light, 57
- ^ Day of the Dragon, 3
- ^ Shadows & Light, 94
- ^ Lands of Conflict, 34
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment. An ancient evil lies dormant within Deepholm, the domain of earth in the Elemental Plane. (English). ''World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Retrieved on 2009-08-25.
- ^ http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/cataclysm/features/stonecore.html
- ^ Dungeon Journal
- ^ Quest:Call_of_Duty#Notes
- ^ http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/2450-Rogue-Legendary-Dagger-and-Patch-4.3-Interviews-Comics
- ^ 
- ^ 
- ^ 
- ^ 
- ^ 
- ^ 
- ^ Dawn of the Aspects Part 1
- ^ The Well of Eternity, 101
- ^ Day of the Dragon, 87
- ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects
- ^ Warlord Zon'ozz
- ^ Yor'sahj the Unsleeping
- ^ Day of the Dragon, 136
- ^ BlizzCon 2010 WoW: Cataclysm Cinematic Panel
- ^ Bill Roper. Warcraft Adventures. PC Gaming Graveyard 3. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2007-08-15.
- ^ GameSpot: Warcraft Adventures
Go'el / Thrall
Patriarch of the black dragonflight
Patriarch of the black dragonflight
Prince Wrathion (presumed)
Ruler of the black dragonflight
Nefarian and Onyxia
Ruler of the black dragonflight
Prince Wrathion (presumed)
Ruler of Grim Batol
None; appointed by Khaz'goroth
Aspect of Earth
None, Aspects cease to exist