Nothing is what it appears to be in WoW Shadowlands. At the beginning of the expansion we speculated that Count Denathrius was fooling us all the time. With patch 9.1 an exciting story part comes into play, which at least partially confirms our theory. Finally, the villain in chains of domination is making his comeback!
The Venthyr’s crisis of meaning
Blizzard ties the story of Patch 9.1 to the end of the Revendreth campaign. In the fight against Prince Renathal, Denathrius regretted that the Venthyr had not evolved over the past millennia. Instead of redeeming the souls of sinners and learning from their suffering, most of his children have succumbed to sin itself. Revendreth has become a prison for the count over the last millennia, from which he can only break out with the help of the jailer. In the end the Venthyr set the count down in sin. The villain isn’t ready to give up just like that. The Venthyr disappointed him, no question about it, but Denathrius knows that he can rely on his other children – the Nathrezim.
Who were the Nathrezim again?
The Dread Lords have made a name for themselves in Warcraft history as the high-ranking demons of the Burning Legion. However, in Shadowlands we learn that the Nathrezim have been playing their own game since they were born in Revendreth. They have poisoned the prophecies of the void with their own lies, allied with the forces of chaos, and divided the pantheon of titans. In fact, they have spared no expense or effort to subvert the Army of Light. And even the Ardenwald and the Winter Queen are not safe from the Nathrezim spies. If you want to learn more about the machinations of the Dread Lords, then turn to the pages of the item Enemy Infiltration – Foreword. You can find the diary in Revendreth in Sin fall.
Il’gynoth and the Old God N’Zoth warned us about the Dread Lords in WoW Legion and Battle for Azeroth. “The cunning kneel before six masters, but they only serve one.” is a prophecy that only makes sense together with the information from the diary. The “cunning” are the Nathrezim who have infiltrated all cosmic domains, but they only serve one master.
Right now the WoW community is preoccupied with the big question who is the real master of the Nathrezim. World of Warcraft developers have confirmed that the Dread Lords are working with the dungeon master. They discovered Korthia and maneuvered the floating island to the edge of the Maw. But do they serve the jailer? Or is he just another character from a villain we’ve already written off?
Mal’Ganis and the Count’s great plan
Patch 9.1 brings together many unfinished stories from previous WoW expansions. In the Ardenwald we fight back Sylvanas, who is after the winter queen and her “key”. In the maw await us the eye of the jailer, which once belonged to the Titan Guardian Odyn. And in the Sanctum of Dominion we finally learn what fate befell the souls of Ner’zhul and Garrosh Hellscream in the Maw.
We have known since BlizzCon 2021 that the Dread Lords will be the focus of the Patch 9.1 story. The big surprise is that we will not only meet the previously unknown Nathrezim, but also the mighty Dread Lord Mal’Ganis. As a reminder: Mal’Ganis was the leader of the Nathrezim in Warcraft 3. He was responsible for the plague in Stratholme and he lured Prince Arthas to Northrend (you can replay the story in the WotLK dungeon Eliminate Stratholme). The cursed runeblade, Frostmourne, caught Arthas in the clutches of the Lich King. After the prince brought Mal’Ganis a terrible end, there was no trace of the Dread Lord. Mal’Ganis is making a brief comeback in Shadowlands. The dataminers (source: Wowhead) have texts with the title in game data 9.1 Campaign – Ch 5 – Denathrius Escapes – PLACEHOLDER SCENE (ZTO) that describe a scene from the game in which Mal’Ganis appears in Revendreth to free Count Denathrius from his prison. The plot can be summarized as follows:
Thank you for playing, valiant champion.
As Mal’Ganis is defeated, he reveals his plan.
This was all a distraction!
While you have been fighting him,
the other nathrezim went after the true target:
the only master they have ever truly served,
…Oh, and Mal’Ganis gets away… maybe…
At the end of the fight against Mal’Ganis and his henchmen, we also learn that the rebellion and the battle in Castle Nathria only served to distract from the machinations of the Dread Lords. It was clear to Denathrius all along that he would not have to stay long in his dungeon. Even the jailer is only a means to an end for the count. He will only support Zovaal as long as he serves Denathrius’ visions. Even if the jailer succeeds, the count will ultimately have more power and influence thanks to Nathrezim. With this, Denathrius could rise to the ruler of all destinies in all worlds, even without the power of the first. At least as long as he controls the Dread Lords.
Admittedly, loyalty and loyalty don’t really fit the character of the Nathrezim, who in WoW are more known for betrayal and nasty intrigue games. Denathrius may have created the Dreadlords, but the Venthyr rebellion made it clear that his claim to power in Revendreth and beyond the borders of the Shadowlands is far from secure.
The Queen of the Nathrezim
In game dates there are references to a mysterious Nathrezim queen. Take a closer look at the pictures of the female Nathrezim. Some of the magnificent outfits of the horned ladies are strongly reminiscent of the blood-red armor that Count Denathrius wears (the large Overview with all new models of the Dread Lords can be found here). What role the Queen will play in the story of Shadowlands is still unknown. Blizzard’s developers have produced many strong female characters like Lilith in Diablo or Jaina, Sylvanas and Talanji in WoW in recent years. The Queen of the Nathrezim could join the women’s team and use the disappearance of Mal’Ganis to overthrow Denathrius.
Where exactly the Graf disappears in Patch 9.1 remains a mystery. The developers have grown so fond of the shady character that they want to “save” Denathrius for future stories. He will probably get a role similar to Queen Azshara, whom we initially fought in Battle for Azeroth and later freed from the clutches of N’Zoth. The Count’s fans can definitely look forward to new stories with the devious villain.
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