Fans mainly wondering about the absence of divine beings in the Warcraft mythos could look towards the Dragonflights as a close equivalent, which the World of Warcraft MMO broadly explores throughout the years. As revealed in the Cataclysm expansion, it’s the Black Dragonflight who are tasked with protecting the earth that makes Azeroth whole. Unfortunately for the Black Dragonflight, the corruption of the Old Gods would transform their former leader Neltharion into the dark side, creating Cataclysm’s central villain Deathwing.


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However, World of Warcraftis about to bring the Dragonflights back into the spotlight with the upcoming Dragonflight expansion, and with that answers to the future of Azeroth’s protectors. Before Warcraft players venture deep into the present state of the Dragonflights, they may want to learn everything about the history of the Black Dragonflights. Just what happened to them before, during, and after Deathwing’s corruption?

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10/10 Charged Protectors Of Azeroth, Inevitable Corruption

Neltharion the Earth-Warder

After the proto-dragon Neltharion aided his peers in the defeat of the cannibalistic proto-dragon Galakrond, the ancient Titans have blessed them into becoming Dragon Aspects, protectors of Azeroth. Khaz’goroth, World-Forgeer, bestowed Neltharion with dominion of the earth and the deep, tasking him with becoming the strongest protector of the land.

While proud of his role, the burden of the whole earth where Azeroth stood will take its toll on Neltharion as his body also feels every quake and movement on the land. What’s worse is how the lands beneath Azeroth were used to hold the Old Gods, meaning their corruption was soon felt not just by the Black Dragonflight, but also Neltharion, eventually transforming him into one of their agents

9/10 The War Of The Ancients, Neltharion’s Fall

Deathwing in World of Warcraft-1

Neltharion’s corruption would culminate in his assistance during the War of the Ancients, when the Night Elves would accidentally bring the Burning Legion to Azeroth. Presenting his fellow Aspects with the Dragon Soul, Neltharion told them that combining their energies into the artifact would allow them to control the hordes of demons and stop their assault. With the Aspects agreeing to his plan, Neltharion would demonstrate that his claims were true. Unfortunately, he would also exert control over everything around him, including his fellow Aspects.

It was only through a surprise attack from the Red Dragonflight that Neltharion would lose his focus. Sadly, his retaliation would involve annihilating most of the Blue Dragonflight. While Neltharion, now Deathwing, retreats for the time being, the other Aspects would enchant the Dragon Soul to never be used by a dragon again.

8/10 After The Sundering, Attempts To Hold Power

Sundering of World of Warcraft

After the War of the Ancients ended with the Sundering or tearing of Azeroth into various continents as per Warcraft history, the Black Dragonflight went largely into hiding. Due to Deathwing’s rampage, much of his Dragonflight was decimated in the process as well. However, Deathwing would soon reclaim his bearings and would even be instrumental in tragedies that would befall other Dragonflights through the years.

For instance, the Night Elves of Azuremyst Isles once beseeched the Green Aspect Ysera to allow them to become dragonriders of some Green Dragons. Ysera, in her benevolence, agrees, much to Deathwing’s irritation. As retaliation, he sends his lieutenant Razormaw to Wyrmscar Island to decimate the Dragon Riders of Lorth’Aran, even at the cost of Razormaw’s life. Likewise, Deathwing’s consort Sintharia attempted to destroy the mage-guardians the Kirin-Tor with a curse that rendered them unable to cast magic, but the attempt unfortunately backfired on her.

7/10 The Second War, The Corrupted Reds, The Battle Of Brim Batol

Battle of Grim Batol Warcraft

While the Dragon Aspects ensured Deathwing can’t use the Dragon Soul given his nature, Deathwing would take this curse to its literal limits. He goads the Orc Warlock Nekros into acquiring the Dragon Soul, which he would then use to hold Alexstrasza, the Red Dragon Aspect, captive. This would force the rest of the Red Dragonflight to become enslaved to the Horde, which the Orcs would then use as their mounts, gaining the advantage in the Second War in Warcraft 2.

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However, this forced servitud would not last for very long. Thanks to the efforts of Red Dragon Korialstrasz, Dragon Aspects would once again fight together to repel Deathwing’s forces. This time, a ruse would have the Dragon Soul shattered and restore the Aspects to their full powr. Deathwing retreats into the elemental plane, with a short civil war resulting in Nefarian and Onyxia gaining much control over the Dragonflight

6/10 Hidden Schemes, Building Influence

Onyxia in World of Warcraft

Throughout Deathwing’s absence after the Second War, events in the Third War and beyond would see hidden forces as work. As seen in the first stages of World of Warcraft, Lord Victor Nefarius would gain much control over the Blackrock Spire and Burning Steppes, whereas Lady Katrana Prestor would hold significant power in the Alliance’s Stormwind Council.

In truth, Victor Nefarius and Katrana Prestor are the human visages of Nefarian and Onyxia, reespectively, with the siblings slowly building a powerbase in Azeroth instrumental to Deathwing’s return. Whereas Nefarian would begin experimenting with various Dragonflights to create his own Chromatic Dragonflight, Onyxia would attempt to become ethe Empress of Stormwind. Both dragons’ plans were thwarted by the players led by King Varian Wrynn, where each dragon would be slain in their respective raids.

5/10 The Twilight Dragonflight

A member of the Twilight Dragonflight

Of all the Dragonflights to exist in Warcraft lore, it’s the Black Dragonflight that has been involved in multiple experiments, courtesy of the mind of Sintharia, the prime consort of Deathwing. It’s through her experiments that Grim Batol, the former prison of Alexstrasza, would become the site of her grisly affairs. She would combine the essence of the captured Nether Dragon Zzeraku with the eggs of various Dragonflights to transform them into powerful and corrupted Twilight Dragons, of which the most powerful is Dargonax.

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When Korialstrasz discovers this, he leads a team of allies to Grim Batol to engage Sintharia and her new childre. Unfortunately for Sintharia, both Zzeraku and Dargonax would betray her, ultimately resulting in her death. While Korialstrasz would be content with this victory and leaves, they didn’t realize that Deathwing was just resting deep below the area.

4/10 Conflict Beyond Azeroth

Gruul in Draenor

During the corruption of the Red Dragonflight, Deathwing and the Black Dragonflight would find themselves allied with the rest of the Horde. With this alliance, the Warlock Ner’zhul rewards Deathwing’s allegiance with territory in Draenor, with Deathwing assigning his children Nefarian and Onyxia to lead his armies back in Azeroth.

Unfortunately, Deathwing and the Black Dragonflight’s stay in Draenor would be an unwelcome one, particularly duee to the giant-like gronn and their leader Gruul, lord of the ogres. Gruul, with Alliance help, not only repelled Deathwing but even forced him away due eto a spell. With Draenor showing signs of implosion, Deathwing took his Black Dragonflight back home to Azeroth through the Dark Portal.

3/10 The Uncorrupted Black Dragons

Wrathion in World of Warcraft

While there’s a popular misconception in Warcraft lore that all Black Dragonflight members are evil, this isn’t always the case. Some Black Dragon eggs hatched into whelps that bore no corruption from Neltharion and the Old Gods. First of these would be the egg that hatches as the Black Dragon Ebyssian, whose purification was courtesy of the Hammer of Khaz’goroth. Ebyssian would hide as a Tauren Shaman until his true calling came to him.

Meanwhile, a more “formal” uncorrupted Black Dragon whelp would come in the form of Wrathion, whose egg originally came from Nyxondra, a captured Black Dragon that was also Deathwing’s grandchild. Through experiments with the Red Dragon Rhaestrasza and a Titan device, Wrathion’s egg was purified and even strengthened him to supernaturally-powerful levels. It was in fact through Wrathion’s machinations that a lot of the Black Dragonflight’s elites would be eliminated, including the plans to defeat Deathwing himself.

2/10 Rediscovery Of Their Calling

A flying Black Dragon

After the Dark Titan Sargeras stabbed Azeroth with his sword, the world started to “bleed” with the powerful resource called Azerite, something both the Alliance and the Horde begun fighting over in the events of Battle for Azeroth. Players in their travels may encounter young Black Dragons and dragonmen allies in islands, claiming that Azerite is theirs by birthright, and they are the neew “earth-warders.”

When both sides unite once more to defeat the Old God N’Zoth, players who speak to Wrathion would have him also decree his intention of uniting the Black Dragonflight to return to their duties of protecting Azeroth once more.

1/10 The Threat Of The Primal Incarnates

Proto-Dragons fighting Galakrond before they became Aspets, Primal Incarnates

It was during the events of the upcoming Dragonflight expansion that the threat of the Primal Incarnates would surface. They are the equivalents of the Dragon Aspects in terms of power, only theirs have come from their natural inclination towards the elements thanks in part to thor nature as proto-dragons. Unfortunately for the Dragon Aspects, their usage of their powers against Deathwing means Azeroth won’t have them as their last line of defense.

Convening once more, the Dragonflights would have to find a way to regain their abilities. Having no leader, Wrathion would claim leadership of the Black Dragonflight. That is, until Sabellian, son of Deathwing, returns from Outland with surviving Black Dragon whelps to claim the Black Dragonflight as his birthright.

World Of Warcraft: Dragonflight is set for a November 28, 2022 release.

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