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For other uses, see Death knight (disambiguation).
This article or section contains lore taken from Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, the manuals, and official bonus maps.

Death Knights were once proud Paladins and virtuous defenders of Humanity. However, once the Paladin ranks were disbanded by the failing Alliance, many of these holy warriors traveled to the quarantined lands to ease the suffering of those left within the plague-ridden colonies. Though the Paladins were immune to disease of any kind, they were persecuted by the general populace who believed that they had been infected by the foul plague. A small band of Paladins, embittered by society's cruelty, traveled north to find the plague's source. These renegade Paladins succumbed to bitter hatred over the course of their grueling quest. When they finally reached Ner'zhul's icy fortress in Northrend they had become dark and brooding. The Lich King offered them untold power in exchange for their services and loyalty. The weary, vengeful warriors accepted his dark pact, and although they retained their humanity, their twisted souls were bound to his evil will for all time. Bestowed with black, vampiric Runeblades and shadowy steeds, Death Knights serve as the Scourge's mightiest generals.


The Death Knight is a melee Hero but attacks very slowly making him one of the lesser melee Heroes. The Death Knight is typically the second Hero built by Undead players with the Dread Lord being the first Hero. The Death Knight works very well with Ghouls because of his Unholy Aura, which also combines well with the Dread Lord's Vampiric Aura. Death Coil is useful for healing the Death Knight's army or allied Undead Heroes. Death Coil is also useful for attacking enemy Heroes or units. Death Pact is rarely used but can help keep the Death Knight alive by eating Skeleton Warriors. Animate Dead can be very powerful depending on the units raised and the timing.

Some jokingly refer to him as the healing Knight because 3 of his abilities (Death Coil, Death Pact, Unholy Aura) can be used to heal damage. The Death Knight's Death Coil ability makes him useful for healing units and for attacking other Heroes. His Unholy Aura ability makes him helpful in large allied games where his aura can help a lot of units.

Although the Death Knight is a melee guy it's best to watch him very closely and remove him from battle if attacked. He can be easily killed.

For skill point spending strategies most players research either Unholy Aura or Death Coil first and maximize those stopping only to get Animate Dead at Level 6.

Proper names

Lord Nightsorrow, Lord Soulrender, Lord Dethstorm, Lord Maldazzar, Lord Darkhallow, Lord Lightstalker, Baron Bloodbane, Baron Felblade, Duke Dreadmoore, Duke Ragereaver, Baron Frostfel, Lord Darkscythe, Duke Wintermaul, Baron Perenolde, Baron Morte

Spells and abilities

Death Coil

A coil of death that can damage an enemy living unit or heal a friendly undead unit.
Cooldown Mana Cost Range Allowed Targets
6 sec. 75 80 Air, Ground, Organic, Not Self
Level Effect Hero Level Req
1 Damages 100 or Heals 200 HP 1
2 Damages 200 or Heals 400 HP 3
3 Damages 300 or Heals 600 HP 5

The Death Knight's Death Coil ability is a great healer for Undead units and even for the Neutral Heroes Dark Ranger and Pit lord. Death Coil can also be used to heal allied Heroes and your own second Hero. Advanced players often use a Death Knight for this purpose. Death Coil is also good against early rushes where the enemy targets your workers. You can use a Death Coil to heal your Acolytes that are under attack or combat units.

Death Coil is especially useful to finish off running enemy Heroes that are near death.

Death Pact

Kills a target friendly unit, giving a percentage of its hit points to the Death Knight.
Cooldown Mana Cost Range Allowed Targets
15 sec. 50 80 Air, Ground, Player, Non Hero
Level Effect Hero Level Req
1 100% conversion 1
2 200% conversion 3
3 300% conversion 5

Unholy Aura (Passive)

Increases the movement speed and life regeneration rate of nearby friendly units.
Area of Effect Targets
90 Friend
Level Effect Hero Level Req
1 +10% movement, +0.5 HP/sec. 1
2 +20% movement, +1 HP/sec. 3
3 +30% movement, +1.5 HP/sec. 5

Animate Dead (Ultimate)

Raises 6 dead units in an area to fight for the Death Knight. Animated units are invulnerable.
Duration Cooldown Mana Cost Area of Effect Allowed Targets Effect Hero Level Req
40 sec. 180 sec. 175 90 Ground, Dead Raises Dead Units 6

Patch changes

Icon-search-22x22.png This section needs to be cleaned up to a higher standard of quality. Reason: Needs to be converted to use templates.
Patch 1.03 (10/09/2002)
  • Death Pact now costs 50 mana (down from 75), and can be cast twice as frequently as before
(15 seconds cooldown from 30).
Patch 1.04 (11/05/2002)
  • Animate Dead mana cost reduced to 250 from 300.
Patch 1.10 (7/1/2003)
  • Animate Dead's duration reduced to 40 from 120, cooldown reduced from 180 to 240. :Additionally, animated units are invulnerable, but can still be dispelled.
  • Death Pact can now be used on invulnerable units.
Patch 1.15 (5/11/2004)
  • Animate Dead mana cost reduced to 175 from 250.
  • Death Coil cooldown increased to 6 seconds from 5 seconds.
Patch 1.17 (9/20/2004)
  • Base armor reduced to 3 from 4.
  • Units raised by Animate Dead are now invulnerable to dispels as well as damage.


  • Death Pact can be cast on invulnerable undead units, like those raised by Animate Dead.
  • Unholy Aura also causes hitpoint regeneration of those pain-in-the-butt-to-repair mechanical units.
  • In World of Warcraft, Death Knight Champions were clearly designed with physical similarity to Warcraft III death knights in mind.

External links