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This page is about elves in general. For the playable races, see Night elf (playable), Nightborne (playable), Blood elf (playable), and Void elf (playable). For the lore of main elf subspecies, see night elf, nightborne, high elf, blood elf, void elf, felblood elf, and San'layn.
Tyrande, High Priestess of Elune.jpg
Faction/Affiliation Various
Character classes

WoW Icon update.png Death knight, Demon hunter, Druid, Hunter, Mage, Monk, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Warlock, Warrior
Arcanist, Assassin, Archdruid, Archer, Botanist, Dragonhawk rider, Ranger, Falconer, Felsworn, Huntress, Hippogryph rider, Necromancer, Priestess of the Moon, Ranger, Scout, Sentinel, Sorcerer, Warden,

Icon-RPG.png Beastmaster, Dead shot, Ley walker, Savagekin
Racial capital Alliance Darnassus (†)
Alliance Telogrus Rift
Horde Silvermoon City
Horde Suramar City
Racial leader(s) Alliance  Tyrande Whisperwind
Alliance  Malfurion Stormrage
Alliance  Mordent Evenshade
Alliance   Alleria Windrunner
Alliance  Magister Umbric
Alliance  Vereesa Windrunner
Horde  Lor'themar Theron
Horde  Thalyssra
Neutral  Sylvanas Windrunner
Racial mount IconSmall Saber.gif Saber cat
IconSmall Hippogryph.gif Hippogryph
IconSmall Unicorn.gif Unicorn
IconSmall Voidstrider.gif Voidstrider
IconSmall Dragonhawk.gif Dragonhawk
IconSmall Hawkstrider.gif Hawkstrider
IconSmall ManaSaber.gif Manasaber
Homeworld Azeroth
Area(s) Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor, Northrend, Broken Isles, Telogrus Rift
Language(s) Darnassian, Thalassian, Shalassian
Magic has long been a vice of the elves. It shaped us, and lifted us out of the darkness - but without balance, it also threatens to unmake us.
Valewalker Farodin

An elf is a long-lived humanoid species native to Azeroth known for keen perception, grace, and great spellwork. They are one of the longest-lived species on Azeroth. The specific origins of elves remained lost to history for millennia,[1] until Brann Bronzebeard confirmed that the first elves were originally dark trolls that were transformed by the Well of Eternity.[2]

Elves come in many flavors in Azeroth, the four most dominant of which are playable races in World of Warcraft: night elves and void elves for the Alliance, and blood elves and nightborne for the Horde.

Racial history

There are several groups of elves in the Warcraft universe, but all have descended in one way or another from the kaldorei, also known as night elves.

Kaldorei, the night elves

...a primitive tribe of nocturnal humanoids cautiously made their way to the edges of the mesmerizing, enchanted lake. The feral, nomadic humanoids, drawn by the Well's strange energies, built crude homes upon its tranquil shores.
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual on the War of the Ancients
Main article: Night elf

The night elves are a powerful and mystical race whose origin extends back to ancient times. The founders of Azeroth's most magical and advanced civilization which at its peak spanned the breadth of ancient Kalimdor, the night elves came into a horrific conflict with the Burning Legion and achieved a pyrrhic victory that sundered Kalimdor's landmass into the continents of the present age. The devastation wrought by their conceit fractured the kaldorei into several isolated groups that would characterize themselves based on magical usage. The main group that came to join the Alliance eventually, would abandon the ways of arcane magic usage entirely, and craft a radically different society centered around the worship of Elune, harmony with the natural world and its denizens and Druidism. The other 2 main groups of Kaldorei, the Quel'dorei of Eldre'thalas and the Shal'dorei of Suramar would be cut off from nature by a demon in the first group and by an impenetrable magical barrier in the second group for 10,000 years.

Quel'dorei, the Highborne

Main article: Highborne

The magocratic society that the night elves developed split into two castes: a body of the majority of the Kaldorei and the elite caste, the Highborne, known as the quel'dorei ("noble children", "highborne", or "high elves"). These were the favorites of and most loyal to the beautiful Queen Azshara, queen of the elves. They sought to understand the energies of the Well of Eternity, gaining exhilarating power from the arcane energy siphoned from the Well's depths.

The night elves (and in particular the quel'dorei) would go on to expand across ancient Kalimdor, shattering the empires of the Gurubashi and Amani trolls in the process and inspiring awe in those who witnessed their might. However, the arrogance and carelessness of the quel'dorei would spell doom for their civilization, attracting the attention of the Burning Legion. Azshara and some Highborne closest to her, opened a portal from the Well of Eternity into the Twisting Nether, enabling the demons to enter into Azeroth and wreak havoc upon Kalimdor. Some of these Highborne of Zin'Azshari grew terrified of Queen Azshara's undying loyalty to Sargeras and the demons of the Burning Legion. Quickly, they escaped to aid the rest of the night elven civilization in banishing the demons back into the Twisting Nether in a catastrophic war now called the War of the Ancients, ending in the implosion of the Well of Eternity and the Great Sundering of Kalimdor. These Highborne would later depart to form their own separate society, however other groups of Highborne from other regions survived the sundering in isolation have only recently emerged. The Kaldorei have 2 main groups of Quel'dorei from different parts of their former empire around today. The larger group of these Highborne night elves are the Shen'dralar ancients that have survived since the Sundering from the city-state region of Eldre'Thalas (now known as Dire Maul). Another group are unliving ghosts in the Broken Isles ruined city of Nar'thalas in Azsuna and are known as the Court of Farondis who have endured in a cursed state since Azshara, in a terrible display of power punished them for disobeying her before the Sundering took place.

Shal'dorei, the nightborne

Main article: Nightborne

The nightborne were once night elves of Suramar. The Great Sundering blasted most of Suramar to the bottom of the Great Sea, although some of it remained above shore in the Broken Isles due to the efforts of the resident Highborne, who crafted a magical shield that kept the center of their city together. This shield would stay up for 10,000 years, as the night elves believed the world outside of Suramar had been destroyed. Under their shield they would evolve into the Nightborne, reliant on their source of power, the Nightwell for nourishment. The shal'dorei are a newly discovered group of Kaldorei. Though they vary slightly in appearance with the rest of the night elves, they retain the customs and characteristics of the night elves of the pre-sundering era and dwell in the ancient city of Suramar they have stewarded diligently with their magical resource for the last 10,000 years.

Quel'dorei, the high elves

Main article: High elf

Amongst the main group of night elves that triumphed over Queen Azshara and her Legion allies, the Highborne of Zin'Azshari that rebelled against Queen Azshara led by Dath'remar Sunstrider had been instrumental in frustrating the machinations of the Queen and giving the time needed for the night elves to ultimately triumph in their fight. However due to the role of the Zin'Azshari Highborne indirectly bringing the demons to Azeroth, despite their brave heroics they were never fully trusted by the rest of the night elves who had abandoned magic to pursue druidism. The surviving night elves would end up banishing the Quel'dorei for the acts leading to the Sundering as well as more wanton waving of arcana. These Zin'Azshari quel'dorei were forced into exile and eventually settled in Quel'Thalas. Becoming known as "high elves," they rejected the culture and lifestyle of their kin, taking the night out of night elf and took up a diurnal cycle instead of nocturnal. Over time, their skin became a pale color instead of their former purple-dark/grey hues. They rebuilt a new Elven society, one not based on the worship of the moon goddess or moon and star themes, but on the Sun and the Light, where they would freely practice and excel in magic. They succeed in building their dream blending both nature and arcane magic with a found faith in the Holy Light and would endure as a shining bastion of civilization powered by their arcane font The Sunwell for 7,000 years. So they would live free from the distrust of their former kin to practice magic they would shield from demonic eyes until betrayal from within would lead to devastating invasion from the undead Scourge would fracture their society and change them forever.

Sin'dorei, the blood elves

Main article: Blood elf

Blood elves are high elves who changed their name after the Scourge invasion of Quel'Thalas[3] in memory of those who had fallen in the siege, and later allied themselves with the Horde.

Under the leadership of their regent, Lor'themar Theron (in turn working under the directive of Prince Kael'thas, last of the royal bloodline), the blood elves retook much of Quel'Thalas from the Scourge and looked to reuniting with their prince on Outland. Fate had other ideas, however, and the prince -- twisted by demonic energies -- was killed after betraying his people to the Burning Legion.

Though biologically and physiologically high elves, blood elves have glowing emerald-green eyes, courtesy of their exposure to the fel magic in place around Outland and Quel'Thalas. Like the orcs, high elven physiology undergoes a visible reaction when exposed to fel magic, though evidently one not quite as all-encompassing.

San'layn, the darkfallen
Main article: San'layn

The San'layn are vampiric undead blood elves, under the command of the Blood-Queen Lana'thel. They are a recent addition to the Scourge army, introduced after Arthas' second visit to Northrend. They possess their own racial faction which plays an important role in the Scourge army. The greatest concentrations of San'layn are located in the Temple City of En'kilah in northeastern Borean Tundra, and in the Crimson Hall inside Icecrown Citadel; these are also the only places where unnamed San'layn appear.

Ren'dorei, the void elves

Main article: Void elf

Void elves are a race of Void-infused elves. A group of blood elf scholars led by Magister Umbric was exiled from Silvermoon for their experimentation with the Void. After an altercation with void ethereals, Umbric and his brethren were transformed into void elves. Alleria Windrunner, the first mortal to succeed at mastering the Void, came to the aid of her kin and taught the void elves how to control the shadows.

The void elves seek to utilize their great but dangerous powers for the sake of defending Azeroth, and to prove those who doubt or judge their abilities wrong, all the while resisting the Void's call to madness.[4] They have the ability to metamorphose into a Void form.[5]

Anatomy and physiology

Night elves and high elves tolerate each other, but just barely.

The Well of Eternity's arcane energies are the primary reason for the existence of the elves, and the night elves are described as having an arcane essence, so it makes sense that they and all elves derived from them would be magical in nature. All elves are exceptionally long-lived and, at one point, were immortal, though the main races of elves have lost their immortality. Further, all elves possess glowing eyes, a sign of the use of great spells — a being of any race can exhibit glowing eyes while focusing or casting a particularly powerful spell, but the trait is innate in only a few races, most of which are demons or undead.

Elves have several characteristics in common. All have unusually acute senses and are able to see clearly even in low-light conditions. As a general rule, elves are also slim, athletic, and graceful. Furthermore, they all have large pointed ears that tend to be greeted with admiration or mockery by other races. From the Official Encyclopedia Typically, night elves have longer ears than high/blood elves, whereas the latter's point upward rather than backward.

A characteristic of elves on Azeroth are their unusual eyebrows, which extend beyond their faces, resembling either whiskers or antennae. There has been no official coverage of this anatomical oddity, despite it being present in all official artwork. Though it may be speculated that this is due to the elves' extreme longevity; the brow's continuing growth over the life of the individual to its extreme length.


Icon-search-48x48.png This section contains information that needs to be cleaned up. Reason: Second half of the Races section (the half-elf part) contains RPG info.
Night and Blood.

There are six races of elves: night elves, nightborne, high elves, blood elves, void elves and an undead variant, the San'layn elves.

They can essentially be divided into two main groups. The night group of elves who are nocturnally centered around moon/stars and night theme and the day group of elves - light, day and sun themed. Hybrids between elves and humans, such as half-elves, are also mentioned in lore. Of these, only Arator and Alodi have appeared.

The blood elves are the survivors of Quel'Thalas who, in mourning for their slain brethren and without the energies of their Sunwell, went to desperate lengths to satisfy their hunger for vengeance and magic. Through the demon Illidan Stormrage, Kael'thas Sunstrider gained the ability to siphon arcane magic from external sources, providing an aggressive (but nonetheless effective) counter to the pangs of arcane withdrawal. Through Grand Magister Rommath (who smoothly attributed these new "teachings" to the prince's doing), the blood elves of Azeroth were able to sate their magical addiction somewhat, though reckless overuse of this technique could result in dire consequences: the birth of the Wretched, and felblood elves -- Burning Legion-aligned elves with the ability to gorge themselves on unlimited fel power.

Similarly, prior to the War of the Ancients, some elves aligned themselves with the Burning Legion. They became the demonic, caprine satyrs, mockeries of the elven form who feast upon magical energies to sustain their otherwise immortal lives.

Another perversion of the elven species are the naga. The naga are the remnants of those Highborne night elves who were trapped in the implosion of the Well of Eternity, but who survived by mutating into horrific beasts. They retained their immortality and dwelt beneath the great Maelstrom, though they were reawakened by Illidan Stormrage in the wake of the Third War and are now bent upon reclaiming the land, attacking any night elves they find.

Another race of elves has arisen on the face of Azeroth: the half-elves, the hybrid descendants of humans and high elves. It is not certain if there are any half-blood elves, as the high elves (and their blood elven survivors) were prejudiced against half-elves, so there wouldn't be any initiated into blood-elvendom and the chances of a blood elf mating with a human, especially after their removal from the Alliance and joining the Horde, are slim to none. Considering that high elves and humans can have viable children, there is always the possibility of half-night elves being born in the future.

While they cannot be said to be separate races, the undead and spectral remnants of the elves — members of the Forsaken undead as well as numerous ghosts, wraiths, and banshees — haunt those lands that they once occupied in life.

Races evolution

Night elves, high elves, blood elves, felblood elves, undead elves, the wretched (old models.)


A number of elves have played a significant role in the lore of Warcraft.

Night elves

Name Description Status
IconSmall Azshara.gifIconSmall AzsharaQ.gif Queen Azshara Infamous Queen of the night elves ten thousand years ago, currently the Empress of the naga; one of the most powerful sorceresses ever to exist. Alive
IconSmall Stormrage.gifIconSmall Illidan.gif Illidan Stormrage Powerful night elf sorcerer; often called "the Betrayer" due to his role in the War of the Ancients; a previous ruler of Outland Alive
IconSmall Malfurion.gif Malfurion Stormrage The first and most powerful druid ever to walk Azeroth, current Archdruid of the night elves. Alive
IconSmall Tyrande.gifIconSmall TyrandeDark.gif Tyrande Whisperwind High priestess of Elune and current leader of the night elven people. Alive
IconSmall Shandris.gif Shandris Feathermoon Tyrande's protege, current general of the Sentinel army. Alive
IconSmall Maiev.gif Maiev Shadowsong Warden of Illidan's prison for ten millennia, later imprisoned in Outland. Returned to Azeroth after being freed. Alive
IconSmall Jarod.gif Jarod Shadowsong Leader of the night elves after the Sundering. Alive
IconSmall Broll.gif Broll Bearmantle Druid of the Cenarion Circle. Alive
IconSmall Kur'talos.gif Kur'talos Ravencrest Heroic noble and general during the War of the Ancients. Deceased
IconSmall Fandral.gifIconSmall FandralFire.gif Fandral Staghelm Former Archdruid of the night elves, then Druid of the Flame and Majordomo of Ragnaros. Deceased
IconSmall Highborne Female.gifIconSmall Vashj.gif Lady Vashj Once a Highborne servitor of Azshara, then a powerful naga in service to Illidan, now a Baroness in Maldraxxus. Active
IconSmall Xavius.gif Xavius A powerful Highborne that was turned into the first satyr by the dark titan Sargeras. Deceased
IconSmall NightElf Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Male.gif Ralaar Fangfire / Alpha Prime First night elf to become a worgen. Deceased
IconSmall Altruis.gif Altruis the Sufferer Demon hunter of the Illidari. Alive
IconSmall NightElf Female.gif Naisha A member of the Watchers and Maiev's lieutenant. Deceased
IconSmall Cordana.gif Cordana Felsong Former Warden and companion of Khadgar, later corrupted by the Burning Legion. Deceased
IconSmall DruidoftheFlame Female.gif Leyara Fandral Staghelm's lieutenant and member of Druids of the Flame. Deceased
IconSmall NightElfDemonHunter Female.gif Kor'vas Bloodthorn Demon hunter of the Illidari. Alive
IconSmall DarkWarden.gif Sira Moonwarden Dark Warden of the Banshee loyalists. Active
IconSmall UndeadNightElf Female.gif Delaryn Summermoon Dark Ranger Captain of the Horde. Active


Name Description Status
IconSmall Elisande.gif Grand Magistrix Elisande Leader of the nightborne of Suramar, casted her lot with the Legion during their third invasion. Deceased
IconSmall Nightborne Male.gif Star Augur Etraeus A powerful nightborne astromancer who uses the Nightwell to draw on the essence of other worlds, he aids Elisande. Deceased
IconSmall Thalyssra.gif First Arcanist Thalyssra Led the Nightborne Resistance into a rebellion that led to the removal of Elisande and the Legion out of Suramar City. Became leader of the kingdom and joined the Horde. Alive
IconSmall Nightborne Female.gif Ly'leth Lunastre Leader of the largest Nightborne resistance cell within the City that is stirring up Nightborne to overcome their fear and rise up against the Legion. Alive
IconSmall Oculeth.gif Chief Telemancer Oculeth The inventor and creator of the teleportation network of Suramar City which he now uses to aid the resistance to overcome the Legion. Alive
IconSmall Valtrois.gif Arcanist Valtrois An intelligent arcanist master of Leyline energies that aids the resistance's efforts against the Legion occupation of the City. Alive
IconSmall Silgryn.gif Silgryn Initially a guard in Suramar City, patrolling the outer city with his pet owl Kal, before joining First Arcanist Thalyssra's rebellion against Grand Magistrix Elisande. Alive

High elves

Name Description Status
IconSmall SylvanasHE.gifIconSmall Sylvanas.gifIconSmall Sylvanas2.gif Sylvanas Windrunner Former Warchief of the Horde, Banshee Queen of the Forsaken, and Ranger-General of Quel'Thalas. Active
IconSmall Vereesa.gif Vereesa Windrunner Liberator of Grim Batol and Ranger-General of the Silver Covenant. Alive
IconSmall Dath'Remar.gif Dath'remar Sunstrider The first leader of the high elves. Deceased
IconSmall Anasterian.gif Anasterian Sunstrider Last king of Quel'Thalas. Deceased
IconSmall Dar'khan.gifIconSmall UndeadElf Male.gif Dar'Khan Drathir Betrayer of Quel'Thalas. Deceased
IconSmall HighElf Male.gif Talthressar Co-founder of Allerian Stronghold, lieutenant of Alleria and the Sons of Lothar. Unknown
IconSmall HighElf Male.gif Captain Auric Sunchaser Originally part of the Alliance Expedition, he leads the high elves in the Allerian Stronghold while Alleria is away. Alive
IconSmall HighElf Male.gif Thalorien Dawnseeker Wielder of Quel'Delar. Deceased

Blood elves

Name Description Status
IconSmall Kael'thas.gifIconSmall KaelWretched.gif Kael'thas Sunstrider The late prince of the blood elves, last scion of the Sunstrider dynasty. Sent to Revendreth in the Shadowlands Active
IconSmall Lor'themar.gif Lor'themar Theron Regent Lord of Quel'Thalas Alive
IconSmall Halduron.gif Halduron Brightwing Ranger General of Silvermoon Alive
IconSmall Liadrin.gif Lady Liadrin Blood Knight Matriarch Alive
IconSmall Rommath.gif Grand Magister Rommath Grand Magister of Quel'Thalas Alive
IconSmall Aethas.gif Archmage Aethas Sunreaver Leader of the Sunreavers Alive
IconSmall BloodElf Male.png Tae'thelan Bloodwatcher High Examiner of the Reliquary Alive
IconSmall BloodElf Male.png Voren'thal the Seer The leader of the Scryers in Outland Alive
IconSmall BloodElf Male.png Magister Astalor Bloodsworn Creator of the Blood Knights Alive
IconSmall Koltira.gif Koltira Deathweaver Death knight of the Ebon Blade and the Horde. Active
IconSmall Kayn.gif Kayn Sunfury Demon hunter of the Illidari. Alive
IconSmall Valeera.gif Valeera Sanguinar Spy of House Wrynn, member of the Uncrowned. Alive
IconSmall BloodElfDeathKnight Female.gif Lyandra Sunstrider The latest wielder of  [Felo'melorn]. Deceased


Name Description Status
IconSmall San'layn Queen.gif Blood-Queen Lana'thel Leader of the San'layn, former wielder of Quel'Delar. Deceased
IconSmall San'layn Prince.gif Prince Keleseth Overlord of Howling Fjord, ruler of the South-Eastern reaches of Northrend and ambassador to the vrykul; also took part in the assault upon the Scarlet Enclave and the ritual to raise Arugal. Raised in undeath to serve in Icecrown Citadel as a member of the Blood Prince Council. Prince Valanar's brother. Deceased
IconSmall San'layn Prince.gif Prince Valanar Overlord of Borean Tundra and master of Naxxanar; also took part in the assault upon the Scarlet Enclave and the ritual to raise Arugal. Raised in undeath to serve in Icecrown Citadel as a member of the Blood Prince Council. Prince Keleseth's brother. Deceased
IconSmall San'layn Prince.gif Prince Taldaram Agent of the Scourge forces attempting to conquer Azjol-Nerub. Raised in undeath to serve in Icecrown Citadel as a member of the Blood Prince Council. Deceased
IconSmall San'layn Prince.gif Blood Prince Dreven Sought with a group of San'layn to join the Horde during the Fourth War. Deceased

Void elves

Name Description Status
IconSmall Alleria.gifIconSmall Alleria2.gif Alleria Windrunner Co-leader of the void elves and Alliance heroine of the Second War. Alive
IconSmall Umbric.gif Umbric Co-leader of the void elves, once a magister of Quel'Thalas until he and his followers were exiled for tampering with the Void. Alive


Main article: Half-elf
Name Description Status
IconSmall Arator.gif Arator the Redeemer The half-elven son of Turalyon and Alleria Windrunner and a paladin of the Knights of the Silver Hand. Alive
IconSmall WindrunnerTwin.gifIconSmall WindrunnerTwin.gif Galadin and Giramar Twin sons of Rhonin and Vereesa Windrunner. Alive
IconSmall Alodi.gif Alodi The first Guardian of Tirisfal and wielder of Ebonchill. Alive

In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

Notes and trivia

  • The elves of Warcraft, like almost all elves in modern fantasy, are inspired in some regard by the elves of Tolkien's books, who were known as the Eldar or the Quendi. In Warcraft, like in JRRT's works, the elves are one of the oldest races, and became divided into subraces over time. As a quieter connection, "eldar" means starpeople, and kaldorei means "children of the stars".
  • Though the vast majority of night elf lore is original on the part of Blizzard, they draw parallels to the Sidhe ("SHEE") of Irish mythology and other beings of Celtic myth (except for the chimaera and the hippogryph, who are Greek). Night elven architecture has also been said to draw upon Nordic and Japanese designs, while the ancient night elves' architecture is more Graeco-Roman. Blizzard has also said that night elves were based on traditional fantasy dark elves but with a twist.[7]
  • Originally, the race now known as high elves were simply called "elves", and conformed to the stereotypical fantasy elves. Though there were several hints of the night elves in various Warcraft media, the original elves were not referred to as "high elves" until The Last Guardian.[8]
  • Half-elves originate from Norse mythology and were borrowed by Tolkien, which he called the Peredhil. The most famous half-elf in Tolkien's legendarium, is perhaps Elrond Halfelven. (Unlike in some other fantasy genres, the Half-elven are not a distinct race from Elves and Men, and before they die must ultimately choose which race to belong to.)


See also