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The first necrolyte to walk the world of Azeroth, , was given the scythe known as Ulthalesh, the Deadwind Harvester, by the titan himself. Sataiel is also sometimes just described as the first necrolyte in other sources.
First WarThis section concerns content exclusive to Warcraft: Orcs & Humans.
- Main article: Necrolyte (Warcraft I)
Necrolytes are practitioners of the Orcish religions. These binders of souls command the black powers that hold control over the earth. Linked into the dominions of the lower plains, Necrolytes have power over all things dark and evil, including the raising of fallen warriors to create armies of the undead. Through ceremonies performed at their Temples, they learn to warp the essence of shadow to use for their advantage.
Their background was later changed to the following: during the initial corruption of the orcs by the Burning Legion, opened a new school of magical discipline that became known as necromancy, through which he and his mentor instructed the first necrolytes.
During the First War, the main purpose of the necrolytes was to bolster the orcish forces with undead troops, similar to the necromancers of the Scourge decades later. While necrolytes did possess other magical abilities, they were quite paltry when compared to those of the other orcish warlocks. Their spells included Shadow Spear, Raise Dead, Dark Vision, and Unholy Armor.
Second WarThis section concerns content exclusive to Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness or its expansion Beyond the Dark Portal.
Unfortunately for the necrolytes, the rise of was a precursor to their downfall. Doomhammer slaughtered the majority of the necrolytes while Gul'dan was in a psychic coma. Once Gul'dan awoke, he begged Doomhammer to spare his life, promising him to create a host of spellcasting undead riders capable of combating the human mages. The remaining necrolytes, who were incapable of imbuing corpses with consciousness, weren't up to the task, which frustrated Gul'dan. He did nevertheless see potential in them, but not while they were among the living. Gul'dan and ritually sacrificed almost all of them.
Gul'dan and Cho'gall went on to create the death knights. Each newly-risen death knight was given a jeweled truncheon through which it could better focus its powers. Into these jewels were infused the raw, necromantic powers of the freshly slain necrolytes.
Third WarThis section concerns content exclusive to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos or its expansion The Frozen Throne.
Orcish necrolytes were not gone for good, as some remained within the Stormreaver clan, surviving their ordeals on the Broken Isles. An unknown warlock coven in Durotar, who Stormreaver necrolytes were a part of, stole an ancient artifact from and his fellow shamans but was eventually destroyed by .
World of WarcraftThis section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.
The Scourge employ many necrolytes but also necrolords, who could be advanced forms of necrolytes. In the alternate Draenor the Shadowmoon clan is also depicted as having several masters of the necromantic arts, including necrolytes, a reference to their original description as "practitioners of the Orcish religions".
Affliction warlocks are also shown as having abilities like while also being able to use .
TypesThis section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.
- - Scholomance
- - Hellfire Peninsula
- - Karazhan
- - Borean Tundra
- - Dragonblight
- - Pit of Saron
- - Icecrown Citadel
- - Razorfen Downs
- - Shadowmoon Valley
- There are sometimes references to a necrolyte clan, though it may be a euphemism for a more formally named clan, such as the Shadowmoon clan, or perhaps merely referring to the necrolyte class as a group, not unique to any clan.
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Magazine Issue 4
- ^ Tome of Blighted Implements
- ^ a b Warcraft: Orcs & Humans manual, Orcish Horde of the First War, Necrolyte
- ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, The History of Orcish Ascension, The Rise of the Shadow Council
- ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, The History of Orcish Ascension, The First War of Orcish Ascension
- ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, Ground Units of the Orcish Horde, Death Knight