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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 most notably 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.

The first death knights were bestowed with black, vampiric runeblades by the Lich King himself to serve as the Scourge's mightiest generals.[3] It is the single most important piece of equipment for a death knight. It is through it 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] Marduk Blackpool, a death knight of the Scourge who fought during the Third War, had his runeblade shattered and yet continued to operate, although he may have kept its hilt.

The Knights of the Ebon Blade forged their own runeblades shortly after their creation, under the instructions of Lady Blaumeux.[4]

Frostmourne, the sword of Arthas Menethil, was the most famous of the runeblades, and probably the most unique. It was capable of consuming souls, of shattering any blade it met with in combat, and even displayed some form of intelligence.[5] Like  [Apocalypse] and the  [Maw of the Damned], it was forged by the Burning Legion.


Other runeblades

Felo'melorn as an Artifact.

In the RPG

The RPG Icon 16x36.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