The Legion has returned! Demons and hellfire rain from the sky once again, determined to leave nothing but ashes in their wake. In preparation for a new adventure against an old foe, we’re going to take a look at every Legion invasion from the past to the present!
The Legion’s First Coming
The War of the Ancients
10000 years ago, the night elven empire stretched across the huge landmass known as Kalimdor, the Land of Eternal Starlight. At its center was the Well of Eternity, a boundless font of magical energies. The empire was ruled by a powerful and beloved queen, Azshara. Driven by the need for more and more power, the Highborne elf, Xavius, collaborated with Azshara to plumb the mysteries of the Well. Harnessing its energies, they made contact with Sargeras. Sargeras instructed them on how to prepare a gateway for his arrival, promising great power and reward.
Azshara and her Highborne opened a portal in the palace of Zin-Azshari, the night elf capital. In the beginning, only a few demons trickled out. That trickle turned into a steady stream, with Mannoroth at the head of the army, until Archimonde arrived and took command. When enough forces had amassed, the assault on Kalimdor began, starting in Zin-Azshari. Hundreds of night elves had gathered at the gates of the palace, only to be massacred in the streets by the Legion. Word spread to other night elf settlements about the invaders and the Highborne’s complicity. As Azshara was so highly regarded among her people, most assumed that she was held captive, refusing to believe she would have any part in the carnage.
The night elves, Malfurion Stormrage, Illidan Stormrage, and Tyrande Whisperwind were instrumental in the survival of their race. Malfurion, the first night elf druid, was a student of the demigod Cenarius, and used his teachings to great effect in battle. Illidan, Malfurion’s twin brother, showed much prowess in sorcery, earning a place of prominence and high regard. Tyrande was a priestess of Elune, skilled in the arts of healing and battle. She too, rose to greatness, becoming High Priestess of her order.
Malfurion urged Cenarius to commune with the other Wild Gods to lend their strength to the battle. While the Wild Gods gathered, it seemed the Legion would overwhelm the night elves. Before all was lost, the five great dragonflights appeared, with their Aspects leading the charge (save Nozdormu, who was lost in time). During this battle, they revealed a secret weapon: the Dragon Soul! The Dragon Soul possessed the essence of every dragon in each flight, including the Aspects themselves (with the exception of the duplicitous Neltharion). Neltharion the Earth-Warder used the Dragon Soul to obliterate a swathe of demons in a single blast. He then turned on the night elves, cutting down hundreds. Horrified, the Aspects urged him to cease. The blue dragonflight leapt to action, surrounding Neltharion and using their magic to subdue him. Unfortunately, their magic did not hold and Neltharion turned the Dragon Soul on the blues, killing all of them. With the Dragon Soul, he scattered the remaining flights to the winds, and departed the battle.
Despite Illidan’s growing power, he saw his twin was more respected and, more importantly, had won Tyrande’s heart. Driven by jealousy and ambition, Illidan formed a plan in secret. Sneaking away from the resistance army, Illidan approached Zin-Azshari, swearing allegiance to Sargeras and promising to steal the Dragon Soul for him. To reward him, Sargeras burned out Illidan’s eyes and granted him tattoos that magnified his already impressive power and heightened his senses. Illidan successfully recovered the Dragon Soul, now referred to as the Demon Soul, for Sargeras. Instead of wielding it as planned, Illidan was forced to bide his time. For his actions, he was branded a betrayer to his people.
Running out of time, the night elves reluctantly allied with tauren, furbolgs, and Earthen. The reinforced host held out for a time, before it became clear that the demonic tide would not be stemmed. Sargeras knew the only way to build a portal strong enough for his passage into Azeroth was to use the Well of Eternity itself, and with the Demon Soul, that portal could finally be built. The Wild Gods finally joined the battle, destroying countless demons, though many fell themselves, including the boar Aggamaggan, brother bears Ursoc and Ursol, feathered Aviana, and even the white stag Malorne, father of Cenarius. As the tide turned in favor of the boundless Legion, the green, red, and bronze dragonflights returned.
Illidan stole away from the palace, preparing to enact his plan. Astride the green Aspect, Ysera, Malfurion flew to the Well to retrieve the Demon Soul. Neltharion, now known as Deathwing, also made his return, nearly destroying himself to get the Demon Soul. When he finally had the Soul in his grasps, a bolt of energy from the well struck him, casting him away and causing him to lose his hold on the device. Malfurion recovered it, and with Illidan, cast a spell that sucked every demon in Azeroth back into the Well. As the portal collapsed, so did the Well. The catastrophe destroyed much of Kalimdor’s landmass and broke apart the continent. This event would forever be known as the Sundering. At the last moment, Azshara and her loyal followers in the palace of Zin-Azshari were transformed into naga by the Old Gods, saving their lives.
In the aftermath, Illidan made a new font of energy on Mount Hyjal using vials of water from the Well of Eternity. To his surprise, the night elves were horrified with him. Lashing out, Illidan slew some of the sorcerers that spoke against him. He insisted the Legion would return and the night elves needed a magic source to draw from. Malfurion agreed the Legion would someday return, and requested Illidan be imprisoned instead of executed. To prevent the new Well’s energies from drawing the Legion, dragon Aspects Alexstrasza, Ysera, and the recently-returned Nozdormu planted a great tree and blessed it. As long as Nordrassil stood, the night elves would have immortality.
Intermission - The Guardian and the Dark Portal
The Legion remained relatively quiet for millennia, but they were far from inactive. 3000 years ago a group of human and elven wizards formed the Council of Tirisfal in secret. Their mission was to hunt down any stray demons that made it into Azeroth. Eventually, they realized the best way to defeat the demons was to infuse a single being with all of their power. That being became known as the Guardian of Tirisfal, the first of whom was named Alodi. Some time later, a female mage named Aegwynn became the Guardian. Aegwynn became extremely powerful, even using the magic to extend her life by centuries.
Roughly 850 years before World of Warcraft, Aegwynn detected demonic activity in the icy reaches of Northrend. When she arrived, Aegwynn found out the demons were hunting down the green dragonflight and draining their magic. In the ensuing battle, Sargeras managed to create a physical manifestation of himself on Azeroth. Aegwynn triumphed over the avatar, sealing away the husk in the Tomb of Sargeras. Though she thought Sargeras vanquished, he had managed to bind some of his essence to her soul where it lay dormant for ages.
As the centuries passed, Aegwynn decided she would not relinquish her powers to a Guardian of the Council’s choosing. Instead, she would pass them on to her child. She searched for a mage to father this child, choosing Nielas Aran. When Aegwynn bore Medivh, Sargeras’s essence passed from her to her son. As Medivh came to power, Sargeras twisted his thoughts, using him to contact the orc warlock Gul’dan on Draenor. Together, Medivh and Gul’dan collaborated to bring the demon-corrupted orcish Horde to Azeroth by creating the Dark Portal. After Medivh’s treachery was discovered, he was slain by childhood friend Anduin Lothar, but by then the Dark Portal was long opened.
The Second Invasion
Reign of Chaos
Twenty years after the First War between orcs and humans, a new threat rose. A nightmarish plague ripped through the human kingdom of Lordaeron, turning the once-living into the walking dead. Prince Arthas tracked the source of the plague to a dreadlord named Mal’ganis, chasing the demon to Northrend. While in Northrend, Arthas found the powerful runeblade, Frostmourne. Wielding the sword enthralled him to the Lich King, who in turn was a servant of the Burning Legion. After slaying Mal’ganis, Arthas turned his undead army on Lordaeron, and then the mage-city Dalaran. He was joined by Tichondrius to keep watch and ensure Arthas was working towards the Legion’s ends.
Once in Dalaran, the lich Kel’Thuzad used powerful magic to once again summon the Eredar Lord Archimonde into Azeroth, heralding the start of the Legion’s second war on the planet. The demons make their way over to Kalimdor, intent on destroying Nordrassil. Simultaneously, the Pit Lord Mannoroth sought to destroy the orcs for their failure to take over Azeroth in the First War. He also had another enemy that needed dispatching: the demigod Cenarius. As luck would have it, the orcs were also at odds with Cenarius. Mannoroth once again used the lure of power to seduce the orcs to drink his blood, giving them the strength to kill the demigod. To Mannoroth’s surprise, the orcs turned on him and killed him as well, freeing themselves from his demonic curse.
Knowing the horrors of the Legion firsthand, Tyrande Whisperwind released Illidan Stormrage from his 10000 year imprisonment.
Despite losing Mannoroth, Tichondrius continued his plans, using the skull of Gul’dan to corrupt Felwood. Tipped off by Arthas, Illidan hunted down the skull, consuming its magics before killing Tichondrius. With the skull of Gul’dan, Illidan became even more monstrous and demonic, growing horns, wings, and hooves.
As Archimonde lead his army in a march on Hyjal, orcs, humans, and night elves banded together to fight. Once again, Malfurion Stormrage devised a desperate plan to stop the Legion. When Archimonde finally reached Nordrassil, Malfurion blew the Horn of the Ancients, summoning thousands of wisps who detonate themselves on the demon, destroying him and laying waste to parts of Hyjal. Nordrassil was severely damaged, causing the night elves to lose their immortality. In the aftermath, the Lich King breaks the Legion’s hold over himself, eventually merging with Arthas while Illidan fled to Outland to fight the Legion on his own terms. Thus, ends the second invasion.
The Third Invasion
The Burning Crusade
The Legion has taken up residence in the ruined remnants of Draenor, now known as Outland. In Outland, Illidan has overthrown Magtheridon to take over the Black Temple as his main base of operations. He formed alliances with the blood elf prince Kael’thas Sunstrider and with Azshara’s handmaiden, the naga Lady Vashj.
Legion forces on Outland learned how to open the Dark Portal once again. Led by Highlord Kruul, demons poured into Azeroth. This time, the Argent Dawn kept the invasion contained until Alliance and Horde reinforcements arrived. They pushed the Legion back through the portal, eventually defeating the forces on Hellfire Peninsula. While in Outland, Alliance and Horde forces worked to rout the demons from the ravaged land and to defeat Illidan Stormrage, whom they saw as no better than the Legion.
Even with Illidan defeated and Outland secured, the Legion wasn’t done. Prince Kael’thas survived his defeat in Tempest Keep and returned to Azeroth, allying with the Legion. He promised to deliver the Sunwell to them in return for great power. Demons swarmed over the Isle of Quel’Danas and the Sunwell Plateau itself. Using the Sunwell as his portal, Kil’Jaeden, one of Sargeras’s lieutenants, was halfway into Azeroth before he was defeated and forced back by Alliance and Horde forces. For now, the Legion was defeated once again.
The Fourth Invasion
The seeds of the Fourth Invasion were planted when Garrosh Hellscream jumped to a past version of Draenor to subvert history. He convinced the orcs to reject Gul’dan’s offer of Mannoroth’s blood. Gul’dan, servant of the Legion, would eventually wrest control of the Iron Horde from Grom Hellscream and corrupt most of the clans anyway. He allowed the Legion to pour into Draenor, taking Hellfire Citadel as his base of operations. There, he worked to once again summon Archimonde. The Legion intended to use Draenor as a rallying point for their forces before going after Azeroth once again. However, Archimonde was defeated by Azerothian and Draenor forces. In his death throes, he sent Gul’dan to Azeroth to finish his work.
The Fourth Invasion of Azeroth is the subject of World of Warcraft: Legion. In the pre-launch event, Legion transporters have started appearing all over the world, bringing countless demons raining from the sky. After Alliance and Horde heroes fend off the attacks, they will take the fight to the Broken Isles to hunt down the Pillars of Creation, powerful artifacts that will enable the heroes to stand against the Legion once again.