Lei Shen

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For strategy on the Throne of Thunder encounter, see Lei Shen (tactics).
Not to be confused with Lei Shi.
NeutralEmperor Lei Shen
Image of Emperor Lei Shen
Title Emperor of the Mogu, Thunder King
Gender Male
Race Mogu (Humanoid)
Affiliation(s) The First Dynasty
Occupation First Emperor of the Mogu
Location Throne of Thunder, Isle of Thunder

Killable MoP

Deceased (lore)
Relative(s) Unnamed warlord (father)
Companion(s) Sparkmancer Vu (advisor)
Throne of Thunder

Jin'rokh the Breaker
Council of Elders
Durumu the Forgotten
Dark Animus
Iron Qon
Twin Consorts
Lei Shen
Ra-den (Heroic only)


"I am Lei Shen, slayer of kings and gods. You have made a grave mistake."

Emperor Lei Shen, (pronounced LAY-shen) also known as the Thunder King, was the first emperor of the mogu. After stealing the power of storms from the titanic watcher Ra-den, Lei Shen united the mogu clans into the first great Mogu Empire. Able to defeat even an August Celestial in combat, none were able to stop his goals of unifying Pandaria. During his rule, Lei Shen made several significant changes and contributions to Pandaria. The construction of the Serpent's Spine, the barrier separating the dreaded Mantid from the rest of Pandaria's races, is often cited as his greatest achievement.

Recently, the Thunder King was resurrected by the mogu's Zandalari allies and attempted to unify the mogu once again, serving as the main antagonist in Patch 5.2. However, the combined Shado-Pan, Alliance, and Horde assault on the Isle of Thunder put an end to Lei Shen's rule once and for all.


Young Lei Shen was born the son of a warlord during the terrible Age of a Hundred Kings.[1] Born into the same tribe, Lei Shen and Sparkmancer Vu grew as close as brothers. As children, they played, quarreled, and challenged one another. It is said that this early rivalry was instrumental in developing Lei Shen's thirst for power.[2] Like his brothers, Lei Shen was strong of arm and fluent in the ways of war. But unlike others of his generation, he spoke of more than conquest. The legends of his forefathers were etched into his heart. Once Lei Shen had come of age and commanded his own legions, he announced his intent to awaken the gods. Only his most loyal of followers accompanied him where no mogu had dared tread: into the very heart of the Thundering Mountain, the sacred home of the one the mogu had called their master.[1] What he found was illuminating: the titanic watcher Ra-den, who stood guard over a powerful titan device, the Engine of Nalak'sha. Lei Shen claimed dominion over both.[3] It is said that he tore out the very heart of the mogu god. And from that hateful act, he gained power over wind and storm.

His followers fell to their knees before him. "We will call you 'The Lightning King'", they said. But Lei Shen did not agree. "Lightning strikes in an instant and is over in a flash," he said. "But thunder. Thunder! Thunder proclaims the coming of the storm. Thunder quakes the skies long before the lightning strikes, and thunder echoes in the hills long after lightning's power is spent. It is thunder that sends animals cowering and fills the hearts of peasants with dread. Let thunder be my herald, so that my power is felt throughout the land. I will be... The Thunder King."[4] He declared the Thundering Mountain to be his seat of power and atop its summit he built a majestic and forbidden city.[5]

Rise to Power

Armed with the power of storms, Lei Shen, now known as the Thunder King, gathered together his followers and rose to power "the mogu way", eliminating his rivals one by one.[6] Most did not submit to his authority: the lucky ones were vaporized by lightning or trampled by his growing legions. The others were dragged off in chains until he deemed them "broken". But many mogu saw in Lei Shen the unity of purpose that had been lacking in the generations since their masters had fallen silent. They flocked around the Thunder King's banner and eagerly did his bidding as he enslaved the other races, believing - as Lei Shen did - that the "lesser" races should serve the mogu, just as the mogu had once served their masters.[7]

Sparkmancer Vu served as the Thunder King's most trusted advisor. Despite their early rivalry, Vu fought fiercely to help Lei Shen win the throne of Pandaria. Not long after Lei Shen gained reknown, the Stormlord was captured by enemy assassins and his tongue was cut out. Popular opinion suspected the Thunder King himself was ultimately behind this plot, a political move to silence the one mogu who knew his deepest secrets. Their brotherhood was also the source of much conjecture and fiction. The peasant masses enjoyed writing stories, including a famous saga about their feud over a woman.

Despite these rumors, history shows that Stormlord Vu never wavered from his commitment to his Emperor; he served his friend and brother loyally to the end of his days.[2]

Reign of the Thunder King

After his rise to power, he built the Mogu'shan Vaults to contain and protect his secrets, and converted the surrounding structure into a sort of shrine dedicated to the mogu empire. The complex houses many of the empire's lost artifacts and is the resting place of the spirits of old mogu kings.[6]

Emperor Lei Shen unified the language, established a single currency and standardized weight and measures.[7] He also created the first code of laws, written in the unified language. The first rule was that sedition, insurrection and rebellion be punished by public evisceration.[8] The Thunder King saw great potential in the pandaren, and for this reason he did not trust them. After he conquered the land, the pandaren were forbidden to learn to read or write. Their leaders and philosophers were executed and all pandaren art and literature was burned.[9]

Lei Shen and Xuen, as seen in the trailer for World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1.

When the Thunder King needed slaves to build the cities and fortresses of his empire, he marched on Kun-Lai Summit. Faced with a defiant populace, Lei Shen made a declaration: if a warrior could best him in one on one combat, he would depart and leave those lands in peace. If he won, however, the people of those lands would submit to his rule. The Thunder King's challenge was accepted by Xuen, the White Tiger, who had seen the plight of the free peoples and could bear it no more. The legendary figures fought for thirty days and thirty nights as lightning fell from the skies and the ground rumbled with their fury. In the end, Xuen fell to Lei Shen's unearthly power. "Your peasant magic is no match for my sorcery, fool of a tiger," Lei Shen bellowed. "I commend your tenacity, but your defiance must be punished." To the people of Kun-Lai, the Thunder King proclaimed: "Know this, those who would defy me shall witness the full power of my wrath! This creature shall not know the mercy of death. In these mountains we shall build a prison for him to stand upon for all of time. From this pinnacle, he shall watch and bask in his failure, as you and your children shall serve my empire as slaves."[10]

As he began to unify his people under a single banner and subjugate the other races of Pandaria, Lei Shen knew that the mantid, with all their strength, would never bow to his authority. He commanded his slaves to construct the Serpent's Spine, a magnificent wall that spanned the length of the empire. It took many generations to build, but Lei Shen knew that fear would motivate his subjects. The fear of the mantid moved mountains, raised armies, secured his empire, and built his wall.[1]

Every soldier of his army wore a jade badge with the symbol of a crown and crossed lightning bolts.[11] The elite warriors formed a group called the Emperor's Shield.[12]

In the one-hundred-and-seventieth year of the Thunder King's reign, the Korune spellweavers came to Lei Shen with their greatest creation. A bell cast from the makers' flesh, shaped by stars' fire, and bound by the breath of darkest shadow. This bell, when rung, could shake the world and call to the heavens. Taken to war, the bell's cacophonous tones stirred the hearts of Lei Shen's warriors. It fueled their hatred and anger, lending them strength on the field of battle. The bell's screaming voice struck fear and doubt into the hearts of the Emperor's enemies, sending them fleeing in his path.

Awed by its power, the Thunder King described the instrument as "the voice of the gods," and named it Shenqing, the Divine Bell.[13]

During his reign, Lei Shen labored to build a mechanical servant that would defend his citadel without fear. When his first attempt failed, rage took hold of the Thunder King. He poured this negative emotion into his next, and most successful, creation: the Dark Animus.[14]

Lei Shen forged an alliance between the mogu and Zandalar tribe of trolls, and this alliance would last millennia, long after Lei Shen had passed on.


The Tomb of Emperor Lei Shen.

Lei Shen eventually died of old age.[15]

According to a Pandaren legend, told by Loh-Ki, Lei Shen died after a great battle in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, in which the mogu armies were overcome by brave monks. In his final moments, Lei Shen summoned an otherwordly storm that blanketed the vale for several days. The storm washed the blood of the fallen into Whitepetal Lake, which burned crimson and gave rise to Alani the Stormborn.[16] Loh-Ki's story cannot be entirely accurate, as other mogu emperors were known to have ruled after Lei Shen but before the Pandaren revolution.


MoP This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.

Recently, the Zandalari along with the allied troll tribes rekindled with the mogu and found Emperor Lei Shen's body buried inside the Tomb of Conquerors in Valley of Emperors along with his army. The trolls have taken the body to the Isle of Reckoning and the Thunder King was resurrected by Prophet Khar'zul.

Throne of Thunder

MoP This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.

The Thunder King and his mogu warriors.

In patch 5.2.0, the Thunder King returned to his island stronghold. He gathered most of the mogu clans and the Zandalari to his throne, forming a ruthless army capable of crushing Pandaria. He quickly encountered opposition, however, from the Shado-Pan Assault, the Kirin Tor Offensive, and the Sunreaver Onslaught.

The Thunder King's legions were eventually defeated, and Lei Shen himself was slain at the Pinnacle of Storms. Jaina Proudmoore had what remained of his power drained into the  [Staff of Antonidas], transforming it into the  [Storm-Stave of Antonidas].[17] The  [Heart of the Thunder King] was brought to Wrathion, who wanted to know how and why the mogu came to be. Wrathion ultimately ate the heart to prevent Lei Shen from ever being resurrected again.[18] Without a central leader, the surviving mogu dispersed.


Emperor Lei Shen wielded a spear, an axe and wore a helm into every battle. They were the finest works of Forgemaster Deng, who worked and personally oversaw the great Thunder Forge. The Forgemaster crafted and especially gifted the set to Lei Shen just before the master blacksmith's death.[19] His helm became so well-known that his enemies would flee at the mere sight of it, and his spear murdered thousands of innocents. It is said that he could throw his axe with brutal accuracy, and when it hit its target it made a sound like crashing thunder. When the emperor died, the mogu placed his helm in the very bottom of the Guo-Lai Halls, surrounded by thousands of terracotta soldiers. Thus, they could look upon their leader and follow him into death.[20][21][22]


A statue of Lei Shen in the Hall of Kings.
  • "Lightning strikes in an instant and is over in a flash. But thunder. Thunder! Thunder proclaims the coming of the storm. Thunder quakes the skies long before the lightning strikes, and thunder echoes in the hills long after lightning's power is spent. It is thunder that sends animals cowering and fills the hearts of peasants with dread. Let thunder be my herald, so that my power is felt throughout the land. I will be... The Thunder King."[4] (Said in response to his followers calling him the "Lightning King")
  • "Know this, those who would defy me shall witness the full power of my wrath! This creature shall not know the mercy of death. In these mountains we shall build a prison for him to stand upon for all of time. From this pinnacle, he shall watch and bask in his failure, as you and your children shall serve my empire as slaves."[10] (Said to the people of Kun-Lai Summit after besting the White Tiger in combat)
  • "Today, a star leaves earth and ascends to the heavens."[19] (Said at the burial ceremony of Forgemaster Deng)
  • "What has become of my mogu? Look at yourselves. You are little better than the savages we once used to build our cities. To be mogu is to rule. It is why we were created. Our words are laced with power! Those who do not bend to our will must be broken by our strength. There is no strength without unity. There is no unity without obedience. To obey your Emperor and demand obedience of your subjects is the natural order. When you fight amongst yourselves you fight against your very nature. There is an order to this world, a strength that flows from your emperor down to the very stones of the earth. Do not forget this. Together our voices shall echo across the land like the clap of a thunder before a storm. You are that storm! Rise mogu! And reclaim your birthright as rightful rulers of this land!"[23]
  • "Hear now the edict of the Thunder King! With my resurrection, the Zandalari have repaid an ancient debt. Our fates are ever intertwined. As their empire falls, so ours shall rise again. They have pledged ships, soldiers, and beasts to our cause. Once we have reclaimed our lands, they will be granted generous holdings along the northern coast. Our allies may be small, but do not dismiss their strength or skills with the arcane arts. They have experience fighting these "Horde" and "Alliance" invaders that will be of use to us. United, trolls and mogu will achieve untold power over the lesser creatures. We will build as it once was, and was always destined to be!"[24]

Throne of Thunder

Main article: Lei Shen (tactics)#Quotes
  • I sought only to finish... the work of the Gods... (Last words)

About him

  • "Pandaria, her hills of gold, in dark and mournful times of old, did once a hopeless horror hold. When from her sacred vale did spring, with storm and flash, a monstrous thing, his name, Lei Shen, the Thunder King." —Lorewalker Cho


  • At some point, Lei Shen killed Monara, the Last Queen of the mogu.[25]
  • Lei Shen (雷神, Léishén) is a Chinese Taoist deity whose name means "Thunder God."
  • Lei Shen is most likely inspired by Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. Like Lei Shen, he united the empire, unified the language, defined the laws, established a single currency and standardized weight and measurements. He outlawed books and killed scholars to ensure the stability of his reign. He also commissioned the Great Wall of China to protect his empire against intrusions.
  • Lei Shen is voiced by Paul Nakauchi.[26]
  • When referring to himself as "slayer of kings and gods", Lei Shen meant Ra-den and was only bragging.[27]
  • In Heroes of the Storm, Chen has a skin called "Warmaster Chen", which depicts an alternate reality in which Lei Shen sought to conquer the Well of Eternity. The description reads "The Warmasters serve as the unbreakable front line of Lei Shen's Grand Army. Once the Kaldorei are broken before him, the Well of Eternity will belong to the Thunder King forever."


Patch changes


Preceded by:
Emperor of the Mogu
Succeeded by:
Dojan Firecrown
Preceded by:
Xin the Weaponmaster(as king)
Emperor Lao-Fe (as previous emperor)
Emperor of the Mogu
Succeeded by: