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The runeblade is an extension of your being. A death knight cannot battle without a runeblade.
Instructor Razuvious[1]

Runeblades are blades inscribed with runes, symbols that hold magical power. They are particularly wielded by death knights, but they are not unique to the Scourge. Notably, demons and high elves are known to forge rune-etched blades as well, such as Felo'melorn, the sword of the Sunstrider dynasty.

By the time of the Third War, runeblades were not unheard of, but they were extremely rare and terribly powerful weapons.[2]

Death knight runeblades

Death knight runeblades.

Distant past

 [Apocalypse] and the  [Maw of the Damned] were dangerous weapons forged by the Burning Legion in order to spread chaos and death.

Third War

Frostmourne was another runeblade crafted by the nathrezims of the Burning Legion for the purpose of containing and controlling the Lich King prior to the Third War. It was capable of consuming souls, of shattering any blade it met with in combat, and even displayed some form of intelligence.[3] As the sword of Arthas Menethil it became the most famous of the runeblades, and probably the most unique.

The other death knights of the Scourge were then bestowed with black, vampiric runeblades by the Lich King himself to serve as his mightiest generals during the Third War.[4]

Marduk Blackpool, a death knight of the Scourge who fought during the war, had his runeblade shattered and yet continued to operate, although he may have kept its hilt.

Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath of the Lich King This section concerns content related to Wrath of the Lich King.

The Knights of the Ebon Blade forged their own runeblades shortly after their creation, under the instructions of Lady Blaumeux.[5] For them, the runeblade is their single most important piece of equipment. It is through their blades that they command the powers of frost, blood and the unholy. The process of engraving a runeblade with runes is called runeforging. The runeblade also acts as a vessel to store the death knight's runic power.[1]


Mourneblades are special runeblades that are made reference to in The Maw by The Jailer. They were crafted by the Runecarver; infused with the power of the Maw. The 'finest' of these blades was the dreadsword, Frostmourne. They appear to be set apart from other runeblades by the runes upon them, which are infused with the Maw's energy and given tremendous power beyond other weapons. The creation of one of these weapons is enough to send shocks throughout the Shadowlands, as Bolvar Fordragon was able to feel the creation of the new mourneblade, Kingsmourne, which was made either from or in the likeness of Shalamayne within Torghast, Tower of the Damned.

Known runeblades

Felo'melorn as an Artifact.

In the RPG

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

The vampiric runeblades are empathic weapons given to new death knights by the Lich King Ner'zhul or one of his designates to turn them into death knights. Once the runeblade is used to turn a hero into a death knight, it becomes that knight's personal weapon and is slowly charged with the life energies of those injured and slain thereafter.[6]

Death knights are now few and far between, but their legacy lives on. The runeblade is one example of their terrible power. It channels life force, which bestows a kind of life upon the blade itself. Though not very intelligent, the runeblade has a strong survival instinct.

When a death knight who owns a runeblade is destroyed, the sword dampens its powers, taking on the appearance of a nondescript magical weapon. It uses its empathic powers to manipulate its next owner — encouraging feelings of possession and anger, discouraging kindness and altruism. Once it gains enough control over its owner, it encourages him to seek out the secret places where death knights still dwell. Only then can the runeblade accomplish its goal of gaining a new master.[7]


See also