With return of Illidan Stormrage in World of Warcraft's upcoming expansion, Legion, a quick recap of one of the franchise's most iconic characters and his impact on the lore seemed appropriate. Fans have been asking for Illidan to come back for the last 5 years, so now that it's finally happening, here's a reminder of why we wanted to see our favorite night elf/demon hybrid again in the first place.
Those glowing green eyes underneath his blindfold? They're not eyes - they're green orbs of fel magic that replaced his eyes after Sargeras burned them out. They essentially give Illidan magical x-ray vision. This was a "gift" in return for his allegiance to the Burning Legion. This was actually a ruse, as Illidan intended to betray the Legion later - though having your eyes burned out to stick to your bluff is pretty hardcore.
You're probably wondering, "who is this ugly fellow with Illidan's weapons?" He's actually their original owner, and you've heard his name many times before. Meet Azzinoth, the doomguard that Illidan defeated during the War of the Ancients - the first war between the Night Elves and the Burning Legion. And (obviously) the former owner of the famous Blades of Azzinoth.
Once the Legion was defeated, the Night Elves turned away from magic. Illidan and others didn't agree with this, so our favorite demon hunter took several vials from the Well of Eternity. Some of these were used to create a new well, but at least one went with the elves who left Kalimdor rather than giving up their magic. They used their vial to create what became known as the Sunwell in their new homeland of Quel'thalas.
When fighting the Legion in Warcraft III, Illidan steals the artifact of dark magic, the skull of Gul'dan (remember him?), and uses its power to transform into the Dante-esque demon elf we all know and love. This was a turning point in the story that would affect the game for years to come with the birth of a villain/anti-hero - and that makes recent events quite ironic, considering who brings him back....
While this may not be one of Illidan's finest moments, you can't make a list of his most important points and not mention this. Also, it was a pretty cool fight. Just not for him, what with his defeat and subsequent worsening insanity. You'll always be a winner in our hearts, Illidan!
Alright, that's not really a cool thing, it's just one of my favorite pieces of Warcraft art. The real point is the other thing the picture shows - Hellfire Citadel, from which he ruled Outland. He essentially marched into the ruins of Draenor, kicked out the incumbent Pit Lord, and declared himself the new Lord of Outland. Taking over a planet, even a broken one, that quickly is impressive any way you look at it.
Technically a devil - Kil'jaeden, to be precise. The Eredar lord of the Burning Legion twice commanded Illidan to kill the Lich King and both times our demon hunter came up short. After his loss to Arthas, Illidan retreated to Outland and began fortifying against the Legion, who would be coming to punish him for his failure. We don't know what would have eventually happened since he was killed by adventurers (read: us), but he apparently got off ok as far as the Legion was concerned. I'd call it a win. The poor guy could certainly use one.
Maiev Shadowsong, the Night Elf warden responsible for keeping Ilidan locked up, had made it her life's mission to track him down and kill him. With the help of adventurers, she finally manages this in his Sanctum on Outland. However, the Betrayer's last words effectively kill any sense of accomplishment, however short-lived, that she may have had.
"You have won... Maiev... But the huntress... is nothing... without the hunt... You... are nothing... without... me..."
It's true, really. Now that he's dead, what will Maiev do? She has no purpose other than hunting him - in a way, her life is over as well, which she herself acknowledges.
Which begs the question, now that he's back, is Maiev secretly thrilled?
There you have it. What are you favorite Illidan moments? Share with us in the comments!