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Previous: Gilneas civil war, Operation: Gnomeregan, Zalazane's Fall
Concurrent: Alliance–Horde War (Cataclysm), Invasion of Gilneas
Elemental War
Elemental War
Place: Azeroth (world)
Outcome: Defeat of Ragnaros and Al'Akir,The Twilight's Hammer have been retreated, Deathwing defeated at the Maelstorm, Azeroth begun to heal itself
Major Battles: Elemental Invasion

The Elemental War was the destructive conflict between the forces of the Old Gods, led by Deathwing the Destroyer, and the peoples of Azeroth (i.e., the Horde, the Alliance, and neutral forces such as the dragonflights). After Deathwing's emergence from Deepholm caused the second sundering of the planet, there was renewed war between the Horde and the Alliance.


With the destruction of the Demon Soul at the Battle of Grim Batol, Deathwing fled to the Elemental Plane of Deepholm to recover and prepare for his return to Azeroth. During his absence, his son Nefarian attempted to create a powerful dragonflight, with only partial sucess before his defeat in Blackrock Spire. Sometime later, Sintharia created the powerful Twilight dragonflight. By the time the Alliance and Horde set sail for Northrend, the black dragonflight ended its battle against Ragnaros, ultimately allying with the Firelord and Ala'kir the Windlord.

By the end of the war against the Lich King, Deathwing had completely recovered from his defeat. Shortly after the heroes of Northrend returned home, Deathwing prepared for his return, sending earthquakes and shockwaves cross the planet. Allying with Deathwing, the cultists of the Twilight Hammer began spreading word of doom and destruction among the races of Azeroth, leading up to an attack of major cities by various elementals. Though these attacks were stopped, Deathwing himself finally emerged from the Maelstrom, destroying the World Pillar in Deepholm and causing the Second Sundering.

The Cataclysm

The Cataclysm caused by Deathwing's return reshaped the face of much of Azeroth. Entire areas were devastated, resources were lost, and raging elementals attacked en masse. The upheaval caused the Horde and Alliance to fight each other for resources, while also battling the members of the Twilight Hammer wherever they could.

Hyjal and Vashj'ir

While massive resources were spent on war against their rival, both the Horde and the Alliance eventually turned their focus to the Twilight Hammer and Deathwing, directing forces to battle them on Mount Hyjal.

At some point prior to the Cataclysm, Malfurion Stormrage finally awoke from the Emerald Dream. He led the Cenarion Circle against the Twilight Hammer at Mount Hyjal. Ragnaros, after being banished within the Molten Core, was summoned to Azeroth by Deathwing to destroy the World Tree of Nordrassil. Ysera, who herself was awake and active in the campaign against the Twilight Hammer, sent adventurers to awaken other Ancients to aid in the battle.

At the same time, an island appeared off the coast of Stormwind, which was vital to both the Alliance and the Horde in their ongoing conflict. En route to the island, however, both factions' ships were attacked by naga. Eventually, it's learned that the naga, allied with Deathwing, were waging a war against Neptulon the Tidehunter in an effort to take control of the seas themselves. Rather than allowing the naga to take control of a powerful domain, the mortal races aided the Tidehunter and thwarted the naga's ambitions.

Repairing the World Pillar

The Cataclysm brought Azeroth closer to the Elemental Planes than it had ever been. The shaman of the Earthen Ring, feeling the distress of the planet, worked to repair the damage Deathwing caused. Thrall gave the title of Warchief of the Horde to Garrosh Hellscream while he tried to stabilize the rift within the Maelstrom, saving Azeroth from collapsing into Deepholm. Forces of the Horde and Alliance joined forces with the Earthen Ring to repair the World Pillar, but had to battle the Twilight Hammer in Deepholm to recover its missing pieces. Rather than join Ragnaros and Al'akir, Therazane the Stonemother chose to side with the mortals, to prevent her enemies from taking her realm.